Shift towards better technologies for lights

Jun 17, 2020
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STT GDC India commands over 33% revenue market share among all data centre colocation service providers in India. With wide range of data centre colocation solutions in India, it hosts mission-critical infrastructure for some of the top Fortune 500 companies in 16 state-of-the-art data centre facilities across 8 cities.


Here are the excerpts from an interview:


How are you dealing with the Covid-19 situation? What plans have you put in place?


The Covid-19 outbreak and the necessary lockdown across the world has had a significant impact on the way businesses operate. Like any other sector, stringent restrictions like the curfews, containment zones and travel restrictions made things a little difficult for us initially, mostly due to the limited awareness amongst the local authorities about data centres being part of essential services.


However, as a part of our commitment to ensure uninterrupted services to our customers, we induced a comprehensive Business Continuity plan and undertook several measures like stocking additional spares and HSD fuel at site, provision of on-site food and stay arrangements as well as transportation facilities for our critical facilities staff, maintenance of health and hygiene including sanitization of our facilities by specialized agencies, etc. We also provided additional allowances to our staff to ensure high motivation levels and meeting their cash flow requirements in this difficult period.


We have also enhanced our network security, by strengthening our independent network for Building Management System (BMS) and IT infrastructure with centralized Network Operating Centre (NOC) facility that has enabled us to minimize network vulnerability. With a DC footprint as widespread as ours, we have implemented a process to interconnect all our BMS equipment, ensuring that there is redundancy in place, safeguarding and enabling smooth continuity of the operations.


Our CFM staff have risen up to the challenges and demonstrated great resolve in keeping the lights on and running 24×7 and maintaining the required service levels till date.


How are you now facilitating digital work? What are the solutions that you are now offering for Future of Work / WFH?


As an organisation providing 24×7 mission-critical services, our technical and critical facilities management staff are required to be on site and continue to operate from our facilities in efficiently defined shifts that meet all government prescribed norms. The support and back-end functions like Help desks, Finance, HR, Legal and Sales, etc., have been advised to work from home since mid-March, before the lockdown was announced.


We have worked out a formal work from home policy that takes care of employee health, welfare and at the same time ensures that our teams continue to operate with highest possible levels of productivity.


All employees have been facilitated with BYOD laptops, and company-paid mobile and broadband services, which are used to access all corporate applications hosted on a hybrid cloud architecture via VPN and other secure means. Collaboration tools like Skype for business, and Teams are used extensively for meetings and video calls. Video conferences are encouraged to ensure that the interpersonal connect is maintained.


How are the latest technologies going to redefine workplace?


To break the information silos among employees, a network of connected technologies that facilitate and enable a digital workplace are important. 'Digital first' organisations all over the globe are rapidly adopting such technologies in order to increase efficiency and be ready for unprecedented situations.


In the past few years, we have witnessed an increase in the adoption of cloud services for professional use. During the crisis a number of enterprises with captive data centres have moved to either quota or hybrid cloud architecture, in order to cut down on operational or maintenance costs. SMEs, start-ups and other organisations have also moved to a cloud setup due to reduced availability of capital.


Adding on, a number of organisations have recently started involving multi-level secure access systems to ensure the safety of their data and assets. To warrant an easier access, enable work over mobile devices and ensure uninterrupted connectivity organisations are increasingly adopting the MDM (mobile device management) and EDM (enterprise mobile management) software.


Most of these software and technologies have been in use for more of a personal domain like the cloud structures for storing pictures on our phones. Moreover, adoption of video-conferencing apps by organisations has also been on the rise to enable and ensure interconnectedness among employees.


Smart workspaces or digital workspaces have one common characteristic across the globe. That is, interconnectedness! With the lockdown due to the pandemic and a serious need to remain at a distance even when at the workplace, interconnectedness has become a crucial aspect of streamlining activities and enabling effective working.


AI, ML, big data, automated warehouses (enabling continuity of work even with a small or no staff at all), intelligent spaces (IoT-enabled workspaces) are where the world is headed. Every other piece of technology that has capacitated the continual functioning of offices/businesses during the pandemic, are all enabled by AI and ML in some or the other form.


Even within the data centre industry, we have seen a shift towards better technologies for “lights out data centres”, that will limit environmental fluctuations and human access. A data driven disruption is here! The abrupt shift caused due to the Covid-19 situation, has given us a small glimpse of our digital future.

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