Aramco engineers develop augmented reality tool to track assets at Corporate Data Center
“This will elevate IT operations to a new paradigm and positions Aramco as an elite innovator in digital transformation.”
In the latest example of our ambition to be a leader in digital technology, a team of Information Technology (IT) engineers have deployed a new augmented reality (AR) tool to locate, verify, and provide key information about computer assets in the IT Corporate Data Center (CDC). After months of design, prototyping, and testing, the innovation was filed as a patent at the U.S. Patent Office in 2019, and was later granted as a patent in March 2021.
This is a game changer for asset management in Aramco.
— Ahmed M. Al-Shaikh, general manager of IT Infrastructure
Ahmed A. Al-Abdullatif, manager of the Computer Operations Department, said: “This is the first AR project to be deployed in the IT CDC. This will elevate IT operations to a new paradigm and positions Aramco as an elite innovator in digital transformation.”
The journey, from inception to reality
Marwan Al Dulaijan, Operations Support Division head, said that, “IT took the lead to deploy the first AR proof of concept solution in the IT CDC” after an IT specialist from Computer Operations, Ibraheem Al Sheikh came up with the idea during a typical operational day. Seeing how AR had been implemented for asset maintenance and reliability in the industry, Al Sheikh thought that AR could be used to optimize daily operations.
Al Sheikh’s idea was championed by Al-Abdullatif, and a team of subject matter experts was assembled to move this idea from proof of concept toward implementation. The team included Al-Sheikh (project leader), Zabnan Al-Dossary (project co-leader), Zubair Rajah, Bassam Shammasi, Abdullah Essa, all from the Computer Operations Department. Also assisting were Wail Ghanem from the IT Engineering Department, Wasmi Khaldi from the Communication Operations Department, and Rakan Maghribi from the Computer Application Department.
“The successful implementation of this conceptual innovative idea was due to the team’s hard work and dedication to achieve the utmost results and exert their expertise and capabilities,” said Al-Sheikh.
To identify AR technologies that could contribute to this invention, project experts conducted market research of Fourth Industrial Revolution systems and tools. Their solution assisted IT analysts during the physical visit to the CDC, enabling them to perform operational work on a specific physical asset.
In the past, this task could be time-consuming due to the large size of the CDC, with multiple data halls and each with hundreds of racks that hold thousands of servers and IT assets. With this new technology, the IT analyst can input the required server details into the portable AR device, which will instantaneously display the server location and display the best navigation route to the CDC server.
Among the demonstrable benefits have included:
- Quick allocation and navigation of IT assets and their associated network connections
- Instantaneous visualization of IT asset details, the ability to visualize network connections between IT assets
- End-to-end view of network layout connections.
Al-Dossary said, “This solution will assist in expediting restoration time during an outage, as the IT support analyst can swiftly reach to any physical asset. This will provide an additional layer of asset verification prior to initiating any work on a physical asset.”
CAPTION: By scanning QR codes in the IT Corporate Data Center, a new augmented reality tool allows users to locate, verify, and discover key information about assets in the IT Corporate Data Center.