Microsoft taps wind energy for data center support
Microsoft is in the business of technology, and that tech is not exclusive to software—the business has a hand directly in several sectors, and has helped to promote the growth and expansion of others indirectly. One of those indirect growth stories involves the wind power industry. Over the past two years, Microsoft has played a key role in the growth of wind power with its contracting of two major off-site wind projects to supply energy to Microsoft’s power-hungry and ever-growing data centers.
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Microsoft’s commitment to wind power has grown organically out of investment in the company’s own growth. As green energy publication Clean Technica reports, Microsoft’s recognition of the potential of its cloud-computing has driven the company’s data center team to look for more sustainable and reliable power sources:
The data center energy team recognized that as Microsoft developed its cloud-computing infrastructure, the construction of large data centers committed the company to purchasing large quantities of electricity to power these assets over their operating lifetimes. In fact, while building a data center can cost hundreds of millions of dollars, it can cost up twice that to power the building over its lifetime.
With Microsoft’s sustainability team leading a charge that led to an adoption of carbon neutral goals in 2012, the company has turned increasingly to wind power for the energy needed to run its data centers. Over the past two years, Microsoft has contracted 285 mW of renewable energy—enough to keep 125,000 homes in electricity—from powerful off-site wind farms.
According to Clean Technica, Microsoft was also able to close deals on these projects in record time due to a combination of factors: a dedicated team with energy industry experience assigned specifically to make these renewable energy contracts happen, the external assistance of knowledgeable partners outside the Microsoft team, and full support from Microsoft’s executive teams across the board from legal to accounting.
With its sheer size and reach, if any business has the power to make this energy growth happen it’s Microsoft. But even smaller businesses can take some important lessons away from this case study: renewable energy is ready to support industry, and with the right support and education throughout your company renewable energy can be supplied more swiftly than ever. What’s more, an upfront investment in renewable infrastructure can go a long way toward supporting your business with reduced costs and reliable energy in the future. Microsoft may be one of the first, but a more mainstream adoption could propel the renewable industry even further.
[SOURCE: Clean Technica]
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Intelliwave SiteSense boosts APTIM material tracking
“We’ve been engaged with the APTIM team since early 2019 providing SiteSense, our mobile construction SaaS solution, for their maintenance and construction projects, allowing them to track materials and equipment, and manage inventory.
We have been working with the APTIM team to standardize material tracking processes and procedures, ultimately with the goal of reducing the amount of time spent looking for materials. Industry studies show that better management of materials can lead to a 16% increase in craft labour productivity.
Everyone knows construction is one of the oldest industries but it’s one of the least tech driven comparatively. About 95% of Engineering and Construction data captured goes unused, 13% of working hours are spent looking for data and around 30% of companies have applications that don’t integrate.
With APTIM, we’re looking at early risk detection, through predictive analysis and forecasting of material constraints, integrating with the ecosystem of software platforms and reporting on real-time data with a ‘field-first’ focus – through initiatives like the Digital Foreman. The APTIM team has seen great wins in the field, utilising bar-code technology, to check in thousands of material items quickly compared to manual methods.
There are three key areas when it comes to successful Materials Management in the software sector – culture, technology, and vendor engagement.
Given the state of world affairs, access to data needs to be off site via the cloud to support remote working conditions, providing a ‘single source of truth’ accessed by many parties; the tech sector is always growing, so companies need faster and more reliable access to this cloud data; digital supply chain initiatives engage vendors a lot earlier in the process to drive collaboration and to engage with their clients, which gives more assurance as there is more emphasis on automating data capture.
It’s been a challenging period with the pandemic, particularly for the supply chain. Look what happened in the Suez Canal – things can suddenly impact material costs and availability, and you really have to be more efficient to survive and succeed. Virtual system access can solve some issues and you need to look at data access in a wider net.
Solving problems comes down to better visibility, and proactively solving issues with vendors and enabling construction teams to execute their work. The biggest cause of delays is not being able to provide teams with what they need.
On average 2% of materials are lost or re-ordered, which only factors in the material cost, what is not captured is the duplicated effort of procurement, vendor and shipping costs, all of which have an environmental impact.
As things start to stabilise, APTIM continues to utilize SiteSense to boost efficiencies and solve productivity issues proactively. Integrating with 3D/4D modelling is just the precipice of what we can do. Access to data can help you firm up bids to win work, to make better cost estimates, and AI and ML are the next phase, providing an eco-system of tools.
A key focus for Intelliwave and APTIM is to increase the availability of data, whether it’s creating a data warehouse for visualisations or increasing integrations to provide additional value. We want to move to a more of an enterprise usage phase – up to now it’s been project based – so more people can access data in real time.