data centers

Infographic | Data Centers: The Unsung Heroes Behind the Smart City Revolution

Cities today consume a huge portion1 of the world’s energy and emit more than half of the world’s greenhouse gases.

And as today’s cities implement smart technology to do everything from decreasing traffic to keeping pedestrians safe, that portion could continue to grow considerably2 due to the increased pressure on the data centers powering these technological advances.

“With the proliferation of the IoT and autonomous driving, the importance of the data center is only increasing,” says Matt Provo, CEO and co-founder of data center optimization company Carbon Relay3. “And the amount of energy required to power a data center is significant.”

Provo and his team of data scientists, engineers and environmentalists at the Boston-based company have been working since 2015 to tackle the challenges of efficiency and sustainability already plaguing data centers today. Data centers accounted for an estimated three percent4 of the world’s energy use in 2017, and another two percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions — equal to the airline industry4.

data centers

Carbon Relay’s approach is focused on applying artificial intelligence to optimize the data center loads for energy efficiency. Provo says the dynamic nature and sheer number of different variables impacting data center loads makes the challenge of managing efficiency too complex for humans to keep up. And that will be even more true with the growth of smart city technologies, powered in part by the rise of 5G. According to one estimate5, cities worldwide are projected to spend $41 trillion over the next 20 years to upgrade their infrastructure to benefit from the IoT.

“To power these data centers and power those operations, depending on where that city or municipality has invested already and their own goals, will require a lot of interesting work and initiatives,” Provo says. Upgrading data centers to be more energy-efficient will be one key component of the smart city transformation.

data centers infographic

This content is produced by WIRED Brand Lab in collaboration with Western Digital Corporation.


FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS: This article may contain forward-looking statements, including statements relating to expectations for storage products, the market for storage products, product development efforts, and the capacities, capabilities and applications of Western Digital products. These forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed in the forward-looking statements, including development challenges or delays, supply chain and logistics issues, changes in markets, demand, global economic conditions and other risks and uncertainties listed in Western Digital Corporation’s most recent quarterly and annual reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, to which your attention is directed. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements and we undertake no obligation to update these forward-looking statements to reflect subsequent events or circumstances.


Article Sources:

  1. Energy and Urban Development
  2. Data Centres Of The World Will Consume 1/5 Of Earth’s Power By 2025
  3. Carbon Relay
  4. Data Centers ‘Going Green’ To Reduce A Carbon Footprint Larger Than The Airline Industry
  5. Smart Cities USA

Infographic Sources:

  1. How 5G Adoption Will Impact Data Centers
  2. Human Demand for a Digital Future Anywhere Can Only Partially Be Met by Networks in 2020
  3. Why Energy Is A Big And Rapidly Growing Problem For Data Centers
  4. 10 Million Self-Driving Cars Will Hit The Road By 2020 — Here’s How To Profit
  5. Self Driving Cars Will Create 2 Petabytes of Data
  6. The Digital Cloud is Using More Energy Than You Think
  7. San Diego to Cover Half the City with Intelligent Streetlights
  8. City to Pay $9 Million to Buy Smart Trash Cans
  9. Array of Things
  10. PUE
  11. Carbon Relay Exits Stealth to Help Data Centers Sip, Not Gulp, Power
  12. Energy Hogs: Can World’s Huge Data Centers Be Made More Efficient?
  13. Carbon Relay promises AI-driven energy savings for data centers
  14. Data Centers Are Set To Grow and Become More Complex, Survey Finds
  15. How to Reuse Waste Heat from Data Centers Intelligently
  16. Will Data Centers Evaporate Into The Cloud?
  17. Innovative Design for Storage Enclosures
  18. How Building a Greener Data Center in Cold Climates Can Reduce Costs


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