Data Centre Intelligent Automation and Management Innovation of the Year
Regardless of size, location or industry vertical, every data centre must overcome three major challenges: human safety, data security and cost control. Igor’s Nexos Intelligent Lighting Solution for Data Centres addresses each of these challenges head-on.
The Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) smart lighting solution is a first-of-its-kind Internet of Things (IoT) platform that goes far beyond lighting. The platform combines hardware, software and analytics to optimize data centre operations around the globe. Most importantly, Nexos is built to combine easily with a plethora of IoT devices, such as sensors for temperature, humidity, occupancy, security indicators and more. This empowers data centre operators to simplify daily routines while making smarter decisions around where to place their biggest facility investment bets.
Supported by an open API, the solution allows developers to continuously create and integrate new solutions to achieve a range of building safety, data security and cost containment control goals. To learn more directly from the team that innovated the solution, check out a webinar, excerpted exclusively for the DCS Awards judges’ panel: https://youtu.be/Ord4CskNxqA
As of September 2020, Igor technology controlled more than 2 million square feet of space around the world, approximately 375,000 square feet of which are within data center facilities.
What’s especially novel about the Nexos platform is that it leverages much of a data centre’s existing infrastructure to solve for long-time pain points in each of three challenge areas:
The Challenge: Human Safety
There is no room for error when it comes to safety in a data centre. One wrong move can easily result in a deadly electrocution, accident or serious harm to a contractor or employee. Evacuation due to fire or storms is also a challenge, as maze-like rows of servers and electrical rooms, not to mention high noise levels from racks and racks of equipment, can make getting people out of a data centre space quickly very difficult.
The Solution: Nexos Locates Staff, Visitors and Contractors in Real Time
Aside from providing myriad emergency lighting automation and controls, the IoT lighting solution includes real time location services (RTLS) with accuracy to 2 meters. What’s more, the tracking is happening on a continuous and real-time basis, which enables the kind of digital contact tracing that’s becoming all the more important in a post-pandemic environment. In addition to letting operators know where people are during an emergency, the Nexos solution can inform supervisors immediately if two or more people are within the 2-meter span at any given time.
The Challenge: Data Security – Any time a data centre bring people in, it opens doors to a potential security breach. It’s vital for data centre operators to know who is in the facility, where they are and what they are doing at all times of the day and night.
The Solution: Nexos Mobile Asset Tracking Enhances Security
Through the integration of multiple IoT devices, Nexos Intelligent Lighting enables data centre operators and security team members to track more than people. Tags can be added to keys, access cards, laptops and other equipment that needs to be accounted for with just as much rigorousness as the humans who keep a data centre running.
The Challenge: Cost Control
High upfront construction costs, continual maintenance expenses, constant security upgrades and significant energy consumption makes operating a data centre an expensive undertaking.
The Solution: Nexos Digital Ceiling Dramatically Reduces Installation and Maintenance Costs
A recent installation with CODISA, a Costa Rican data center colocation and software development company, significantly decreased the project's installation time and helped CODISA save a ton of upfront money. Additionally, Nexos’ sensors, tunable controls and timing rules have jumpstarted energy savings for CODISA. Notably. real-time data feeds with easy-to-consume data visualization tools allows data centre operators like CODISA to spot costly trouble immediately, as well as to activate controls to stem the tide of unexpected expenses.
Some additional benefits enabled by this innovation include ease of installation, interoperability and scalability.
Ease of Installation – While standard Nexos Intelligent Lighting packages come with lighting fixtures, the solution also integrates smoothly with custom and high-end lighting. So, data centre designers, builders, architects and contractors can work with the fixtures and devices they prefer. And, because the system works on PoE, data centres can chose to employ lower cost laborers for installation. Some data centres may even be able to rely on existing IT staff to handle the cabling and connections.
Interoperability – Because Nexos is built on a PoE backbone, which is governed by global standards, data centre operators around the world are able to easily integrate the intelligent lighting solution.
Scalability – Nexos offers the flexibility today’s fast-evolving and agile businesses need. The platform easily integrates with new technology, essentially futureproofing a data centre against unexpected safety, security and cost issues.
To make it easier and faster for data centre operators to get started with Nexos, Igor has designed two simple packages, which it calls “Better” and “Best.”
The Better package offers the lowest total installed cost. It provides basic requirements for an intelligent data centre, including:
• A pre-built rack solution that is easy to deploy and scalable across one or multiple sites.
• Granular, system-wide visibility and control to manage sites remotely.
• PoE-ready fixtures that utilize an 18/2 low-voltage home run cable from the rack to the fixtures.
The Best package offers all of the above plus real-time location services (RTLS) and upgraded product options, including:
• PoE nodes and advanced sensors embedded in suspended 4' LED light fixtures.
• Every two fixtures uses just one home run of Ethernet cable to a data rack.
• Real-time panic button communication with room-level accuracy.
• RTLS with a floor plan map application showing locations of mobile assets tracked through fixtures.
The minimal hardware required by the Nexos Intelligent Lighting Solution was designed to be simple and fast to install so that more data centres could realize safety, security and cost benefits quickly. Pre-fabricated, pre-wired and pre-programmed rack units are simply rolled into place and powered-up. While customization is possible depending on the data centre, kitted solutions have given Igor’s first-adopter clients the quick wins and proof points they need to pursue more involved installations down the road.