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LG CNS Smart Robot Increasing Data Center Energy Efficiency

Recently, there are over a hundred data centers in Korea, which power consumption is up to 2 billion KWh. This is about 2% of the total power consumption of Korea and 7-8% of the industrial energy use, which is equal to the amount spent by 1.8 million people.

As more people are using smart devices and more video data is being shared, the energy consumption at data centers is expected to increase even more. Some statistics even show that their power uses has grown by 45% each year. In an effort to tackle this issue, people are starting to show more interest in smart robots.

Today, let’s take a look at how the smart robot developed by LG CNS can help data centers resolve their energy problems.

Increase in Data and Operational Efficiency

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Increase in energy use (Source: Korea Information Technology Service Industry Association)

In the chart below, you can see that a quarter of the energy is actually being spent on cooling. Lowering the temperature by 1 degree in the server room may reduce the cooling expenses by 7%. For this reason, many data centers are looking for ways to make their cooling facilities more efficient.

The recent trend is to adopt CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) to enhance efficiency at data centers. This system, however, costs a lot and requires staff to measure the temperature and humidity of each section. This can result in lower accuracy, and it also doesn’t utilize accumulated data as it’s designed to be used just once.

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Proportion of energy expenditure at data centers (Source: ‘09 Data Center Users Group)

Why Are Smart Robots Necessary?

In order for a data center to be more efficient, it needs to track additional data such as illumination, wind, and dust levels. The alternative reflecting such demand was the use of robots. Using a robot, a data center can collect the required information about the internal environment, analyze and then finally utilize it. This technology can help operate and manage the existing facility more efficiently.

Robots can roughly be subdivided into robots for manufacturing and service. Service robots are currently being developed actively around the globe. Robots that can make decisions and move on their own based on these decisions are especially considered to have great potential in various industries. More companies are developing and utilizing them in a more systematic manner.

Self-moving robots are great as monitoring or measuring devices at factories where they can’t hire people for the job, as they can determine their own paths. This is why the demand on self-moving robots is expected to grow continuously.

Features of the LG CNS Smart Robot

Lowering energy expenditure at data centers is one of the most pressing issues at hand. LG CNS understood this demand early on and started working to develop a smart robot. There were three objectives in developing the robot: First, it had to be able to move on its own. Second, it had to be able to see obstacles in its path. Third, it needed to be able to take temperature and humidity readings at assigned locations.

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Smart robot diagram

The system was created in order to have a robot move by itself and control the environment in data centers. The system includes the robot itself and its control server: The robot has the measurement equipment, location module, movement control module, and communication module, while the control server has the task process planning module, environment data base, robot and environment monitoring module.

The robot and server transmit and receive data through Wi-Fi. As the aisle in the server room is narrow, it’s designed to stop when it notices an obstacle nearby, and notify the administrator by sending a picture of it when the obstacle doesn’t move away for over a certain amount of time. The administrator can check on how the robot and data center are doing through the central monitor as well as by smartphone.

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Temperature profile in a server room measured by a robot

LG CNS’s smart robot is the first in the world to have the Alljoyn IoT Platform by Allseen Alliance, a consortium which teamed up in order to promote development and innovation in the IoT industry. With this, the robot can judge if it should run the air conditioning equipment based on acquired temperature and humidity information. It not only directly controls the air conditioning equipment, but it also notifies other devices when it encounters obstacles.

The hardware of the robot includes the temperature and humidity sensors, laser distance sensor to determine its location and detect obstacles, and an encoder to get data from the tires. The software is based on the Monte Carlo method to see the location of the robot, and it helps the robot with locating itself, controlling movement for trajectory tracking, and measuring the environment.

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LG CNS’s smart robot at Entrue World 2015

The smart robot is still in its early stages. In order for it to reach the next level, the robot algorithm must go beyond the self-moving system to one where the robot can find its own paths and create ones when needed. This is why robots with machine learning systems are required in the long run.

IoT lets us imagine greater possibilities lying in robots, as it enables a whole new level of these machines that can learn by exchanging information with the outside world instead of just running as programmed. Things that were considered impossible in the past are now being done with robots. LG CNS will stay vigilant in the changing IT industry in order to develop new technologies for a better future.

Written by Jongin Kim, Analysis & Design Advisory, LG CNS IoT Solution Team

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