NTT: Data centers: AI, automation and robotics

Feb 24, 2022 | Posted by MadalineDunn

Automation is slowly but surely gaining more of a presence in the data center industry. According to reports, 86% of companies in the industry are expecting to dedicate more of their budgets for data-center network automation over the next two years. As data demand skyrockets, AI and automation are increasingly used for monitoring and remediation processes.

Likewise, alongside this digital transformation is the usage of robotics, too. NTT Communications recently announced that it is developing a robot that will manage facilities. This comes, it says, in response to high labor costs, which it will seek to eliminate through the introduction of its robot system. 
Not only will robots be responsible for reviewing product quality, and providing cleaning services, but they will also be used (with the assistance of facial recognition technology) to welcome guests into the facility and guide them through the building.

NTT's Yusuke Imaeda explained: "One out of six or ten operators manage and support a data center by operating a robot in a data center in London from Tokyo office." Further to this, Imaeda outlined the company's plans for the robot: "After that, as it gradually penetrates, we would like to proceed with the project in order to approach the ideal of complete unmanned movement in which robot can make an autonomous judgment." Of course, Utah-based Novva has also introduced a robotic presence into its business, as has DE-CIX, Google, Facebook and Alibaba. The technology, however, is still not perfect and adoption is decidedly slow. 

An example of automation technology not living up to expectations was seen in the accident that happened at Google's Berkeley County, South Carolina facility, when the machine malfunctioned and pinned a worker to a wall.  There are also issues with the implementation of automation, too. A study found that 39% of technology organizations struggle most to understand how automation will "interact" with other tools and management systems (39%).

So, it appears that while this area is gaining momentum, there is still a way to go and more kinks to work out.