KUALA LUMPUR (March 18): Malaysia is expected to gain increased traction for data centre investments in facilitating greenfield developments, while Southeast Asia is estimated to be the fastest growing region for data centres, specifically its data usage growth.
In a statement today, Schneider Electric secure power business vice president for Singapore, Malaysia & Brunei Michael Kurniawan said there is no doubt the data centre industry is undergoing changes to ensure its infrastructure is functioning at an optimal as part of ensuring business continuity and growth.
Kurniawan listed several emerging trends seen playing out in 2021, including heavy adoption of edge computing, Wi-Fi 6, and 5G in Industry 4.0 manufacturing; contactless, touch-free world; IT workload automation scaling up; and predicting an influential new year by advancements in automation.
He said the pandemic highlighted the need to have local manufacturing in emergency situations for core staples, personal protection gear, life-saving equipment, and vaccines.
“The largest barrier to local manufacturing has been the desire to minimise costs and the availability of skilled people.
“The key enabler to local manufacturing is automation — and the Malaysian government has called this out as an imperative in the new normal.
“They recently rolled out the Smart Automation Grant to encourage the adoption of automation for industry players, particularly local manufacturers and service providers,” he said.
On the other hand, Kurniawan said Wi-Fi 6 and 5G bring massive capacity, solid reliability, and “un-tethered” flexibility in order for machines to be totally connected and all sensors to share data constantly in near real-time to optimize and improve production.
“Edge computing will be used to harness and process all information for machine and process optimization.
“Information Technology (IT) and Operational Technology convergence is one of the most overused terms these days, but it will actually come to life in Industry 4.0,” he said.
Commenting on the contactless, touch-free aspect, Kurniawan said Artificial Intelligence algorithms are being used in these applications to determine the mood people are in and their mannerisms, and to predict what their next actions will be — also known as indicators of behaviour (IOBs).
“Processing power and data storage is needed to support these applications and a local edge micro data centre is a logical choice,” he said.
Touching on data centres, Kurniawan said many companies relied on on-site data centre support staff and soon realised they had limited or no visibility into their data centre operations when stay-at-home orders were implemented.
He said at a minimum, companies will upgrade their data centre infrastructure management and IT infrastructure management systems to give adequate levels of visibility.
“The events of 2020 certainly catapulted IT and network capacity upgrades in order to adapt.
“As we progress into 2021, the focus will be on innovating computing architectures and networks to drive higher performance and efficiency through automation.
“This digital transformation and automation are exciting, and new innovations could provide additional advancements, setting the stage for even more possibilities in 2022,” he said.