New Technology Like Google Glass is Suddenly Making Data Centres Rather Interesting

Canadian Web Hosting, a leading provider of web hosting, cloud hosting and infrastructure as a service (IaaS) in Canada, announced today that they have begun testing several new technologies including Google Glass in two of their Canadian data centers.

Canadian Web Hosting began an initiative more than 18-months ago to transform how they interact with their infrastructure, customers and internal systems.

“Like everyone, we’ve seen so many great things happening in technology that are literally transforming our lives that we wanted to adopt some these same concepts and technologies but do it in a space that many of us don’t commonly think about when using our devices, visiting a website, or running an app but is integral to each—the data centre,” said Matt McKinney, Director at Canadian Web Hosting.

Already there have been a lot of discussions about all of the “future” potential of Glass and the things it could do to transform the data centre. For example, think about the possibility of technicians easily creating work orders through voice command, scanning parts using a QR codes, real-time alerting, infrared cameras to detect temperatures, but realistically those possibilities are a bit further out as Google defines its technology and prepares for public consumption. However, even in its infancy there are some very real benefits that can be had right now.

In order to understand the benefits, you have to take a step back and look at what Google Glass can do today and any potential limitations or security risks that it may pose. For anybody who has tried it knows that when you use Glass the first time it can be a bit disorienting but once you learn some basic commands and movements it is very easy to use. Voice commands can be a bit challenging because of the noise in the data center.

Second, today’s apps are very limited and if you want functionality you have to build it. The Glass Development Kit was only just released in November and is still being changed.

Third, similar to other technologies like Xbox Kinect that are constantly watching when they are on—anything you see, Glass sees and anything you say, Glass hears. During a recent team lunch, some team members were speaking in a non-English language and Glass started translating the words back to English. When you look at all of these things, the one you think you do see is that Google Glass is an amazing communications “layer,” that allows for real-time collaboration between teams, geographies and customers.    

Initially, Canadian Web Hosting has limited testing to focus improving internal processes and visual compliance testing for a few select beta customers.   

1. Remote Support: We’ve all done Hangouts, GotoMeetings or Skype calls where someone is sharing their screen for the rest of the participants to see. Take this a step further with Glass where we are now testing video streaming and live conferencing in real time where end users can see what is being worked on and collaborate in real time.

Support teams in Toronto and Vancouver can go hands free and visually share what they are seeing. This allows them to work with teams directly to request port changes, validate the changes and provide real-time assessments.  In the very short time they’ve been testing they have seen a 60% reduction of total time used during conference calls or support sessions.

2. Visual Compliance: Canadian Web Hosting’s management system has been rebuilt from the ground up and provides a customer dashboard where customer requests, tickets, issue and other activities are listed as a single pane of glass. Some customers have looking for additional methods to validate compliance and ensure that support teams are following required guidelines.

With these customers, we have begun testing a visual compliance tool where we are able to provide video snapshots of work that has been completed on their servers.

3. Tutorials and Training: Working in a data center often requires a high level technical understanding and includes activities like installation of complex environments using Visio diagrams, or troubleshooting hardware with remote teams. Instead of having our senior team member’s onsite, we are now able to provide installation directions or diagrams right through Glass.

Canadian Web Hosting says it is currently testing several how-to-guides for common installations that can be visually compared to the equipment in front of you and provide step by step directions. This allows for real time training using Hangouts where team members can remotely train staff.