Step into my office…

70% more employees are teleworking since the pandemic began which is resulting in large empty office spaces. As corporate leases expire or are exited what should we do with the empty space? Here’s three thoughts on ways we can turn this institutional shift into a cultural boom

Upgraded space for schools

Many of today’s school building are either aging or have been renovated so many times that you can’t tell what’s new or old. This is especially true for many schools in urban settings where the land is at a premium. Office building often already have huddle spaces and conferences rooms that would allow for more intimate small group instruction. They also have a significant networking infrastructure to allow for remote learning. The cubicle farms of yesterday are very easily converted to individual student desks with privacy to work on their activities and still open enough to have supervision.

The new farm and farmers market

Farmers markets are often a seasonal thing because of weather but if you wandered around a open space that had stalls for local vendors and farmers but were protected from the elements there is no longer a weather restriction. Having a place to sell goods only works though if you have items to sell and high rise office buildings have more than adequate size and structure to support more urban farming techniques. Utilize the existing large power supplies or add more alternative energy and lighting can be added along with irrigation. Indoor farming isn’t new but could have a new rake in office buildings.

Affordable housing for all

This one is really up to the same developers that chose to build for businesses because that’s where the revenue was. Now they have empty buildings that could be converted without too much work into multi family housing. This wouldn’t work for every space but office centric spaces could easily be converted to dormitory style living. The addition of more bathing space is one of the few additions really needed.

Combine them all

If you took all of these concepts with a single high rise office building you now ha e places to work (farms or good creation), places to learn and places to live all just riding an elevator or taking the stairs. Clearly a shangri-la but we are at an inflection point that we can reinvent the world we live in so why not…

Smart Cities: The Next Frontier of Data Management

It is projected that by 2050 over 70% of the world’s population will live in urban areas. Similar projections show a 25% increase in total population to reach almost 9.9 Billion meaning that almost 7 Billion people will live in urban areas in the next 30 years. As these urban areas grow so will the infrastructure systems that are needed to support them. These modern systems are often part of a grander smart city initiative, collecting everything from traffic data to water usage.

smart city is an urban area that uses different types of electronic methods and sensors to collect data. Insights gained from that data are used to manage assets, resources and services efficiently; in return, that data is used to improve the operations across the city.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smart_city
File:Smart City.jpg - Wikimedia Commons

Smart cities merge technological and social aspects of urban life while attempting to make the environment safer and more enjoyable for everyone that lives there, but the question is how….

Imagine if the heavily trafficked thoroughfare through your city was able to monitor what cars were driving on it, what the weather conditions were like, and even monitor bicycle usage. You could use this data to determine if new bike lanes were needed to reduce traffic congestion and if they should be temporary to account for winter months. As a business you could get demographic data on drivers and determine if your local shop is servicing the right clientele.

All of this is a result of the data points that are collected. This data is going to continue to grow and impact the global data sprawl. It is projected that we will have 175 terrabytes of data by 2025 growing at a 61% CAGR. If we use the same growth rate out to 2050 we will have 27,000,000 terrabytes of data in 2050.

With exponential data growth, Smart Cities are just one of the area that need to be addressed to reduce data management and storage costs. How do we address it? Well that remains to be seen, but option like data tiering and archival will play a large role along with tried and true technologies like deduplication and compression.

New Year..Same Problems

As we move into 2021 as quickly as we possibly can I am reminded of the now standard comment of New Year..New You. Unfortunately for most this isn’t the case and when it comes to technology it’s actually quite the opposite. It doesn’t matter if you have changed jobs or titles the same problems persist across most industries. Let’s look at just five common issues you should make sure to address as you start out 2021.

1. Ever expanding data

Your users just came back from holiday with a bunch of photos and videos and the odds are high they will get sent through your email or stored on your storage. Add to that all the files that were earmarked per year that are now duplicated for the new version. It’s important to look at file type filters and quotas and make sure you have solid deduplication on your primary storage

2. Cyber security is a threat to us all

Ransomware and state sponsored cyber crime was on the rise in 2020 and isn’t slowing down. Check your perimeter for anomalies, make sure your end users are updated on protection and now is a good time to test that quick recovery backup solution you bought with end of year funds (or maybe with new year funds)

3. Change is hard

All the new product and solutions in the world need to be implemented somehow but let’s avoid making it harder on users. Make sure you review your change management process. Do you have a review board? Are the right people involved? Have people left and been replaced that were stakeholders?

4. Need more power!

Even as we move more items to the cloud we still have datacenters that are consuming power and cooling. Have you evaluated your own datacenter or your colo to make sure you are helping curb power consumption instead of adding to it? Do you need to look at updating your generator or cooling system to be more efficient in 2021?

5. People break things

I mentioned backups but it’s not just cybercrime that makes backups necessary. Users delete files and people corrupt systems, sadly it happens so make sure to take the time to look at a full business continuity and disaster recovery plan for this year. Yes they are two different things but that’s an article for another time.

These may be common problems but 2021 promises to have lots of positives as well and let’s hope it’s even more than last year!

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