A Killer App You Can Wear?: Wearable Tech May Transform Operations in Data Centers and Other Mission Critical Environments

Written BY

Emily Friedman

July 29, 2015

Written by Special Guest Blogger Chris Crosby, CEO, Compass Datacenters

When we were kids our visions of the future included an array of technological wonders like flying cars, people living on the moon and my personal favorite, being able to use my watch as a communications device ala Dick Tracey. Naturally, some of the things we imagined are still imaginary—the world still awaits its first flying car dealership—but some of our more esoteric visions of the future have become reality, wearable technology being a prime example. Today it is possible to make a call from your wristwatch, but I think one of the lessons that we’ve learned over the years is that the real benefits of new technologies sometimes take a while to come to fruition. This is certainly the case with wearable technology.

Let me begin by saying that I don’t think being able to count your daily steps or monitor some of your body’s vital functions are trivial applications, but in terms of business applications we are only beginning to scratch the surface of the uses of wearable technology.

As the repositories and processing centers for the vast amount of data that is generated on a daily basis by both businesses and individuals, the essential requirement for data centers is that they remain operational 7×24, 365 days a year. As a result, the components that perform functions like providing their power and cooling must be regularly maintained and serviced. Historically, this meant arming support personnel with shelves of telephone-book sized manuals to use when performing routine maintenance or attempting to fix a problem. Not a terribly efficient solution for obvious reasons. To eliminate this less than optimal mode of technical support, Compass is working with American Electric Power (AEP) and Icarus Technology to make all of this information available with the tapping of a screen or blink of an eye.

By digitizing all of our support documentation, and enabling AEP to develop web-based operational checklists, all of their support personnel now are able to access everything they need to perform maintenance and problem solving activities by consulting an Android unit attached to their wrist. This “free hands” mode of operation has already made a dramatic increase in reducing the time required to perform their maintenance tasks. In 4Q of this year, we will introduce Google Glass units as an alternative to the Android units.

Although our project with AEP is still in the early stages, it is obvious that applications such as this are readily transferrable to a broad array of industrial and business applications. As with many technological innovations, the future of wearable technology is limited only by our imaginations and gives us all something to think about while we await the delivery of our flying cars.

Please note:

Chris Crosby will give a presentation entitled, “Wearables and Maintenance: The Killer App for High-Dollar Capex Environments” at the Enterprise Wearable Technology Summit in Houston on October 21.

About the Speaker:

Chris Crosby is a recognized visionary and leader in the datacenter space and the founder and CEO of Compass Datacenters. Chris has over 20 years of technology experience and over 15 years of real estate and investment experience. Previously, Chris served as a Senior Vice President and founding member of Digital Realty Trust. During his tenure at Digital Realty, he held senior roles with global responsibilities for sales, marketing, design, construction, technical operations and customer service, as well as establishing the company’s operating presence in Asia and Europe. Prior to the initial public offering of Digital Realty, Chris was founder and managing director of Proferian, an operating partner for the GI Partners portfolio, which was rolled into the IPO for Digital Realty Trust. Prior to Proferian, Chris served as a consultant for CRG West, now Coresite. For the first ten years of his career, Chris was active in international and domestic sales, sales management and product development at Nortel Networks, a major supplier of products and services that support the Internet and other public and private data, voice and multimedia communications networks. Mr. Crosby received a B.S. degree in Computer Sciences from the University of Texas at Austin. Chris is also an active member of the Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO).

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