Originally posted on Telescent

Mark Zuckerberg said it loud and clear, “2023 is the year of efficiency.” For Meta and other tech companies, that means doing more with less. Automation is one way to drive efficiency, taking repeatable tasks and implementing a solution that allows people to be more efficient and consistent at what they do. In the global data center and interconnection industry, this can be achieved with robotic technologies that not only automate cross-connects that improve speed to implementation, but also help companies by reducing OpEx while improving the customer experience. Telescent’s automated cross-connect platform offers companies a way to operate faster, cut costs and increase efficiency while empowering their people to take on more projects that can improve their contributions to the company’s success.

Let’s take the example of multi-tenant data center (MTDC) providers and the high-value function of meet-me-rooms (MMRs).  While MTDCs earn most of their revenue from renting space and power, a key value of MTDCs is the interconnected networks of customers and service providers that can be accessed through the MMR.  Customers rent the space in these data centers to have access to the other enterprises and service providers that are also there.  Yet while this is one of the most profitable areas in the MTDC, interconnections are still performed manually by a technician – an approach that hasn’t changed in 30 years. With efficiency in mind, the MTDC can now leverage automation to be more effective while managing a more controlled, consistent, high-quality, fast, and secure connectivity solution.

This can be illustrated through the deployment of the Telescent G4 NTM, an automated cross connect provisioning platform for MTDCs.  In one example, a large-scale data center operator sought to reduce their OpEx while improving customer service. With a growing workforce shortage concern, they realized that continuing to rely on manual labor limited the scalability and efficiency of their data centers. In addition, scheduling and performing the cross-connect manually took 3 days to a week while also creating the possibility of human errors.  As part of the process, technicians must manually test insertion loss and signal transmission through each interconnect and this often uncovers installation issues that lead to rework.  These measurements may require the coordination of technicians at both ends of a link in different parts of a campus or even across cities, creating a bottleneck for service delivery, slowing down processes and interfering with OpEx goals and negatively impacting the bottom line. With all these steps, the total labor time to perform an interconnection manually is approximately 4 to 8 hours.

To address these challenges, Telescent’s software seamlessly integrates the robotic cross connect system and embedded diagnostic equipment into MTDC’s data center control software.  While performing the cross connection, the system can also automate a wide range of physical network functions, including OTDR testing of the fiber. Rapid, accurate and remote deployment of the cross connects can reduce the time from days to less than an hour handled remotely from a network operating center.

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