Managing a single data center is complex enough, but, if you have to manage multiple facilities in different locations, then it’s too easy for things to fall through the cracks. Managers can’t be on the ground at each and every site, but modern solutions, like digital twins, can help address the challenges of remote management.
Digital twins are 3D, digital replicas of a facility that give managers easy, virtual access to the sites they oversee from anywhere in the world. Every digital twin platform is different, but they typically use 360-degree cameras to capture every detail of an area, which the platform then uses to build a 3D model. The platform organizes all of the images into a single, immersive view and allows you to tag helpful commentary and relevant documents, improving team communication across vast distances. By creating a 3D twin, management duties are streamlined into a single, shared digital reference, helping companies improve facility upkeep and save costs on travel.
Utility and Supplemental Tools
Data centers require a wide array of care, such as inspections, repairs, and performance tests. Having a readily available digital copy of the facilities can assist in a variety of these daily processes. By enabling remote managers and team members to access multiple sites without ever leaving their desks, companies can simplify inspections by communicating virtually. Such platforms also reduce costs and carbon footprints by requiring less travel. With digital twins, managers and other officials can easily and safely reference their sites and be “present” at any space in the facility.
In addition to creating a 3D replica of each facility, the top enterprise digital twin solutions provide tools that allow teams to collaborate within the virtual spaces as well. Platforms can allow managers and other employees to draft comments on the digital twin, give feedback to a colleague, or tag contextual documentation for future use. These can be used to help document and preserve institutional knowledge. While most facilities are constructed with interchangeable parts, there are times when it’s important to note special quirks like “turn handle right, not left” or “measure every 2 inches, not 1.” Digital tools can streamline these communications between remote managers and their teams who are responsible for multiple sites.
Another helpful capability some platforms have is reverse image searching. 3D maps are obviously helpful, but users can still get lost in a digitized space, just like a real one. By uploading an image of a room or part of the facility that one wishes to find, the platform can immediately bring the user to the proper location in the 3D map.
Without appropriate security in place, however, sharing all of this important information poses its own risk. If such critical information is left unprotected, hackers and other nefarious actors can infiltrate a system to retrieve sensitive industrial data. That’s why, in today’s world of increasing cyberthreats, it's crucial that facility managers ensure the digital twin platform they use is secure, allowing password-protected information sharing.
Digital twins are important tools that innovative data center managers can use to streamline operations and communications between multiple facilities. Different solutions vary in ability and implementation, and any enterprise tech is only as valuable as how it’s used by the consumer, but digital twins have the potential to replace many, if not all, site visits. Just as remote work is here to stay, so, too, are digital twins.