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What lessons can we learn from the IT Crowd this year?

We spent a couple of days last week at London’s ExCel exhibition centre for the annual show that is Data Centre World and I must say that it was bigger and better than ever before.

Even the last-minute arrival of snow couldn’t deter the crowds for this major event in the IT and Data Centre calendar.

For the second year running, we partnered with our colleagues from the Automation Systems Division who displayed their innovative range of data visualisation, energy management and a host of other operational software for data centres.

We took along our advanced range of IT Cooling solutions designed exclusively for the unique working environments of data centre rooms, where constant temperature and humidity levels with wide variations are business-critical all year round.

We had a lot of interest in how real-time data visualisation and smart insights can be used to help proactively optimise power and cooling. By giving organisations a real-time, detailed look into the operations of their data centres, our range can also assist in reducing both the carbon footprint and the cost of running data centres.

Overall, I would say it was definitely worth attending

Simon Prichard Simon Prichard Product Strategy Manager for the Central Plant Group

This year’s themes

Top of the agenda this year was sustainability and the road to Net Zero, with many of the speakers in the conference programme focusing on the topic.

Data Centres are huge consumers of energy and they also generate a lot of heat, so finding ways to reduce their carbon footprint can also mean efficiency through better energy use or heat recovery.

This is where IT Cooling technology and heat pumps offer so much potential. Taking heat generated from cooling down these super computers could be upgraded with a heat pump and sold on to a heat network to offer a future revenue stream for the data centre.

There were also discussions on how data centres connect to the national grid and how they can be used to help develop a more balanced electricity grid in what would be a truly electric economy.

Data is king

The other main theme to emerge was data. In today’s modern society, data is key and this is only going to increase in importance.

In the world of building services, the debate seems to be about whether equipment should be data-informed or data-driven, and I can see merit in both approaches.

The reality will probably be a mixture of both, where automation reacts to data inputs to control equipment more efficiently. At the same time, predictive maintenance regimes will be able to analyse trends in energy use and plan accordingly.

Where are all the women?

The first day of the show coincided with International Women’s Day but unfortunately this only helped to highlight how much the worlds of data centres, IT and building services remain dominated by males.

It’s not for want of trying though and I know Mitsubishi Electric, like many other companies is supporting things like STEMAZING, which is a Call to Action to collectively amplify the voice of women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) so we can create a more diverse and inclusive future.

Overall, I would say it was definitely worth attending and I hope that by the time we meet again next year, we can have made progress on getting a better balance.

For a two-day show, it takes a lot of co-ordination and praise must go to my colleagues who produced such a great stand for us to hosts customers on.

Simon Prichard is Product Strategy Manager for the Central Plant Group