Future Digital Blog

Discussing all things digital

See how a 5G remote controlled car demo can evoke the same principle as datacenter automation, which is going to spur a re-examination of datacenter design paradigms and the future of digitial transformation. Check out videos of both the 5G demo from Mobile World Congress and of our Jason Hoffman giving his insight on the datacenter of tomorrow.

At the Mobile World Congress that recently took place in Barcelona, companies from around the world showed off prototypes that make use of their latest innovations. One of the most popular was the first-ever 5G remote-controlled car, from Ericsson. Eager volunteers sat in a driver’s seat on the conference floor, looked at a screen, and guided an actual car through a course some 50 kilometers away.ericsson_5G_car_mobile_world_congress.jpg

The driving apparatus provides haptic feedback, allowing the driver to feel bumps and turns, just as if they were actually in the vehicle. Watching the device in use up close, Ericsson’s head of social media, Christine Luby, spoke about how the remote driving experience can be disorienting at first. She notes that this can also happen with virtual reality and augmented reality, technologies that alter the user’s sense of place: it can be difficult, at first, to figure out how to be in two places simultaneously.  See our official video on the demo here:


Augmented reality and the zero-distance world

This temporary disorientation, this sense of going somewhere and arriving there at the same time, is emblematic of our arrival, as an industry, at the zero-distance world. We’ll be there before we know it, and then, once we’re there, we’ll be everywhere at once.

FDI wall robot deep_2.jpg

What is the zero-distance world? It’s the near future in which data will be sent across the internet so quickly that time and space will appear to have collapsed. The set of innovations that will make that world possible is what Ericsson calls Future Digital Infrastructure (FDI). An optical backplane that sends data at the speed of light, rather than the speed of electricity. Super-cool hot-switchable elements that can run super-hot because they’re super-cooled. And local workload handling for time-sensitive devices at the data edge.

Jason Hoffman talking disaggregated datacenter designs

"There are very interesting consequences to these types of disaggregated designs that have an optimal connectivity," says Jason Hoffman, Ericsson's Head of Product Area Cloud Systems, "and that changes everything having to do with the physical design of server, storage, networking, and everything else that goes into the datacenter."

"So the boxes we've been making don't have to be boxes anymore. And the typical concepts around serviceability don't have to exist there. When you start thinking about electrical safety, you could very well think of a facility being predominantly nitrogen gas, even more so than normal, so a fire couldn't even burn inside. Because robots don't breathe oxygen."

Taking the human element out of the datacenter

Watch Jason use Ericsson's FDI display at MWC to explain some of the ways that taking the human element out of the datacenter – datacenter automation – will lead to a re-examination of nearly every other datacenter design paradigm.



To explore the zero-distance world, please check out the paper that Jason wrote with our Geoff Hollingworth:

Download the paper

Or to dive into Future Digital Infrastructure, read this paper that gives you all the specifics and how it relates to what we're doing already today:

Download the paper

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Deirdre Straughan
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Deirdre Straughan

Deirdré Straughan has been communicating online since 1982 and has worked in technology nearly as long, in technical writing and editing, training, UI design, marketing, open source community management, events, social media, video, and more. She operates at the interfaces between companies and customers, technologists and non-technologists, marketers and engineers, and anywhere else that people need help communicating with each other about technology. Recently had a run-in with breast cancer. More about her life and work can be found at beginningwithi.com.