Something interesting is happening today in the tech world: smartphones are now starting to take a backseat in terms of "new technologies." What's replacing it? Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), drones and even robots. If last year's Consumer Electronics Show (CES) here in Asia was any indication, it's that many organizations are now racing to develop the latest in "intelligent" technology.
Among these technologies, VR dominates trend predictions for 2017 with a promise of a Virtual Experience Economy in the future. While VR is largely associated with games and entertainment (VR horror games, anyone?), it has the potential to be used in more meaningful ways such as in education (development of STEM education), research, and possibly in healthcare. On the other hand, we are all familiar with AR thanks to Pokemon Go.
In the near future, AR and VR are set to become more prolific and more accessible to tech savvy consumers. For organizations looking to mine this potential, technology and infrastructure must be robust enough to handle the surge in demand and avoid disappointing consumers. At the core of it all, IT leaders must invest in bolstering and modernizing the data centre to enable widespread adoption of these technologies.
Vertiv has just released an e-book to guide IT decision makers and leaders for their VR and/or AR deployments. I have listed down a few key areas that you can explore to help you prepare for your own VR/AR journey:
Managing massive data volumes
VR and AR applications require a huge amount of data and delivering these experiences across the network will present a major challenge. It is estimated that a video at the 6K resolution used by the GearVR headset could be 20 times the size of today's full HD video.
To facilitate this, VR will require significant investment in upgraded broadband networks. This is something that policy makers and businesses alike are working on. These advances in connectivity and video compression are something that technologists need to be watching closely. Understanding where to source effective solutions should be top of mind. As VR scales up, IT leaders will also need to start selecting data centre locations based on broadband and network capabilities.
While IT professionals have little control over broadband infrastructure, they can explore edge computing. Edge computing places data centres closer to end users so that compute power, storage and analytics reside locally. This strategy provides an alternative to the traditional approach where data centers are remote and data has to travel vast distances before it can be processed. Edge computing will be critical to ensuring that immersive experiences are delivered seamlessly.
In addition to addressing connectivity and latency issues, IT professionals also need to start improving data centre resilience. The compute power and data loads required to enable AR and VR will put existing infrastructure under huge strain.
To tackle this, there is a need to invest in enhanced storage and power capabilities. Data processing, analytics and workload management solutions also need to be optimized. However, enhancing your own data centre is not enough. To deliver on AR and VR goals, you will need use all relevant technologies, recruiting external suppliers to bolster capabilities. This approach to infrastructure management is called the Enterprise Defined Data Centre (EDDC).
The EDDC and edge solutions required to enable VR and AR at scale will make for an inherently more complex IT infrastructure. However, this need not alarm I&O leaders. This is where Data Centre Infrastructure Management (DCIM) solutions are critical to ensure that infrastructure is energy and capacity optimized, and available. Digital leaders, including Airbnb and Uber, already rely on comprehensive monitoring tools to manage a mix of on-premise and hosted services, enabling them to quickly identify and resolve problems.
While the right solution will vary from business to business, DCIM is a non-negotiable for any organization looking to enable VR and AR experiences.
You can find out more about how to best prepare your organization for AR/VR deployment by downloading our e-Book here.