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The global coronavirus pandemic and the post-COVID-19 "new normal" encouraged massive evolutions in contactless technology and made it more ubiquitous than ever before, inside data centers and out. As this technology creates new and increased demands on data centers, organizations must learn how to manage it reliably and securely.
Retail, travel and manufacturing organizations already employ contactless haptic tech, predictive analytics and LiDAR to reduce face-to-face interactions. These organizations' IT infrastructure must deliver high levels of uptime and rapid scaling in order to sustain and support this type of contactless technology.
Common contactless technology
The average contactless technology user probably associates contactless tech primarily with mobile pay options and QR code tickets. However, contactless technology also includes more specialized devices such as hand-held scanners that logistics companies use to track shipments and haptic "invisible" keyboards used in nontraditional settings like outdoor events and construction sites.
Many businesses integrated contactless technologies into their tech stacks to keep employees and consumers safe during the pandemic. Now, organizations are finding new uses for this technology that go beyond COVID-19 protection and investing in it long term. For example, LiDAR technology can track the flow of customers at checkout lines and direct them to open cashiers in real time, increasing efficiency in retail settings. Haptic technology can turn almost any surface into a touchscreen, which can help companies save money on input devices in non-office settings such as production floors or industrial facilities.
This type of technology can decrease a business's carbon footprint by reducing reliance on manual paper processes. However, contactless tech increases the pressure on data warehouses and cloud providers. These facilities and providers must prepare for a massive pivot to cloud-based tech from major businesses and keep up organizations finding new ways to add contactless technology to their existing applications and infrastructure.
How to prepare a data center for contactless tech
Regardless of the type of contactless technology a business utilizes, every modern data warehouse should have a solid, reliable IT infrastructure capable of scaling rapidly to service its customers. It should deliver high uptime, proactive monitoring and a knowledgeable IT staff that can plan for the future.
Organizations using contactless tech more heavily should pay special attention to process-intensive machines and the infrastructure that powers predictive touch platforms. Machine learning algorithms can help these machines churn through the massive amounts of data needed to perform their functions.
Data centers should also prepare their IT infrastructure to handle an increase of data traveling between devices and systems as touchless solutions become more ubiquitous. They should put backup systems in place to ensure the devices and infrastructure that support contactless tech remain powered on in the event of front-end downtime, data bottleneck, transmission failure or broadscale data center power failures.
Monitoring tools play a large role in supporting contactless technologies. These tools can identify data center issues and areas of concern for IT professionals. Applications such as Data Center Network Assurance and Insights suite take advantage of machine learning and AI to predict resource usage across hardware and software. Using this data for proactive planning, upgrading and sunsetting of devices and applications can keep the data center up to speed.
Colocation can provide a cost-effective method for scaling up networks and systems to the level contactless technology requires. Businesses can take advantage of the various connectivity options available in colocated facilities, as well as the enhanced power and cooling capabilities of these facilities to further reduce their ongoing costs.
Although modern data centers require the latest tools to monitor and manage their systems, they also need the right people using them -- from cloud specialists and network architects to data center administrators well-versed in rack density, software-defined infrastructure, power distribution and security options. Organizations should provide training and support to data center staff to ensure that these individuals know how to support the infrastructure contactless tech requires.