Apple and Google lead data center push for renewable energy
Apple has announced that it will be building a second data center in Denmark, just a few days after Google revealed its plan to power its Dutch data center with solar power.
A spokesman for Apple said that the data center will become operational in 2019, with the processes powering online services such as the App Store, iTunes and iMessage for users across Europe.
Danish media is reporting that the technology giants will be investing $919 million into the project, which is just $180m less than what the first data center in Denmark sold for.
Meanwhile, Google unveiled that it will be purchasing all of the energy generated by the largest solar park in the Netherlands to power its data center in Eemshaven.
The deal with Eneco to power the $684m data center is likely to run for "years" according to Google's European manager Marc Oman.
In a drive to meet the targets set by the European Union, the Dutch government has already pledged to invest €12 billion in offshore windfarms in 2017 in a bid to increase its sustainable energy program.
Facebook is also joining the data center revolution, after announcing in January that it will be opening its third outside the US in Odense, Denmark, later in 2020.
That center will also be run on renewable and sustainable energy, whilst the director for data centers Niall McEntegart praised Denmark's "excellent fiber infrastructure, clean renewable energy" and the "good labor pool."
SAS: Improving the British Army’s decision making with data
SAS’ long-standing relationship with the British Army is built on mutual respect and grounded by a reciprocal understanding of each others’ capabilities, strengths, and weaknesses. Roderick Crawford, VP and Country GM for SAS UKI, states that the company’s thorough grasp of the defence sector makes it an ideal partner for the Army as it undergoes its own digital transformation.
“Major General Jon Cole told us that he wanted to enable better, faster decision-making in order to improve operational efficiency,” he explains. Therefore, SAS’ task was to help the British Army realise the “significant potential” of data through the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to automate tasks and conduct complex analysis.
In 2020, the Army invested in the SAS ‘Viya platform’ as an overture to embarking on its new digital roadmap. The goal was to deliver a new way of working that enabled agility, flexibility, faster deployment, and reduced risk and cost: “SAS put a commercial framework in place to free the Army of limits in terms of their access to our tech capabilities.”
Doing so was important not just in terms of facilitating faster innovation but also, in Crawford’s words, to “connect the unconnected.” This means structuring data in a simultaneously secure and accessible manner for all skill levels, from analysts to data engineers and military commanders. The result is that analytics and decision-making that drives innovation and increases collaboration.
Crawford also highlights the importance of the SAS platform’s open nature, “General Cole was very clear that the Army wanted a way to work with other data and analytics tools such as Python. We allow them to do that, but with improved governance and faster delivery capabilities.”
SAS realises that collaboration is at the heart of a strong partnership and has been closely developing a long-term roadmap with the Army. “Although we're separate organisations, we come together to work effectively as one,” says Crawford. “Companies usually find it very easy to partner with SAS because we're a very open, honest, and people-based business by nature.”
With digital technology itself changing with great regularity, it’s safe to imagine that SAS’ own relationship with the Army will become even closer and more diverse. As SAS assists it in enhancing its operational readiness and providing its commanders with a secure view of key data points, Crawford is certain that the company will have a continually valuable role to play.
“As warfare moves into what we might call ‘the grey-zone’, the need to understand, decide, and act on complex information streams and diverse sources has never been more important. AI, computer vision and natural language processing are technologies that we hope to exploit over the next three to five years in conjunction with the Army.”
Fundamentally, data analytics is a tool for gaining valuable insights and expediting the delivery of outcomes. The goal of the two parties’ partnership, concludes Crawford, will be to reach the point where both access to data and decision-making can be performed qualitatively and in real-time.
“SAS is absolutely delighted to have this relationship with the British Army, and across the MOD. It’s a great privilege to be part of the armed forces covenant.”