Compass Datacenters has launched a beta software project that is linking mobile and wearable technology with data center management processes in ways that will change the way companies operate and maintain their data center facilities. The pilot project is taking place in Compass' suburban Columbus data center in collaboration with American Electric Power (AEP), which the facility was built for, and software-systems developer ICARUS Ops, Inc. The project, which is designed in three phases, will bring together Compass' detailed operational documentation for its data centers with a software app designed for wearable visor technology (e.g. Google Glass), Android mobile devices and a comprehensive web application that provides management dashboards that tie all the elements together.

"Wearable technology is very cool. But do you know what else is cool? Getting all of your employees to operate and maintain your data center facility by the book so you get the most availability out of your data center. That is very cool, and it turns out that wearable technology is the perfect way to achieve that goal," said Chris Crosby, CEO of Compass Datacenters. "By converting our extensive facility documentation and best practices from the traditional paper documents into actionable, interactive checklists that a data center worker interacts with via wearable technology, that employee immediately becomes a walking, talking encyclopedia of knowledge about your facility. Plus, the wearables allow for complete interaction without having to take off personal protection equipment (PPE), making sure that OSHA compliance does not mean shirking the maintenance procedures due to inconvenience. The interactive checklists track and time stamp activities, enabling audit-friendly records while ensuring that human error is reduced dramatically."

The pilot project that Compass and AEP are collaborating on is currently in the app development phase, which involves conversion of Compass' documentation into interactive checklists that can be used on tablets. The content is easily customizable by customers to reflect their own policies and procedures as well as preferences for how data center workers utilize the information and checklists. The second phase of the pilot project builds on that app by developing a web-based management console that allows the customer to view the status of work being conducted, manage the assignments of workers, and incorporate that information into other systems as needed. The final phase, which will be completed before the end of 2015, will involve delivery of wearable visor technology that utilizes the tablet app and is ready for live use on the data center floor.

"The use of interactive electronic checklists is the same technology used in commercial aviation and other high reliability industries with tremendous success," Crosby continued. "By applying this technology to the data center space, we are eliminating the well-known secret that the three ring binders of operating procedures are rarely followed, as they are cumbersome and often full of holes. As a result, the risk of human error during maintenance procedures increases dramatically. High-quality electronic checklists eliminate this risk and increase compliance. A great example of this is in commercial aviation, where the risks of pilot error have been dramatically reduced since Boeing first pioneered this approach decades ago. That has helped flying become the safest form of transportation today, and we expect this technology to have a similar impact on data centers."

Compass will be demonstrating this functionality at the Uptime Institute Symposium in Santa Clara on May 19-21, 2015 in Booth # 402.