Eaton partners with Zagreb University...

Eaton, a leading provider of power management solutions, and the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing (FER) at the University of Zagreb have today announced details of the IDEAS (Immersive Datacentre ExplorAtion and Supervision) project. Funded by the European Union, the project aims to work alongside a panel of Eaton’s partners and customers to uncover solutions to help small data centres, with one to ten racks, get more value from their IT infrastructure at a fraction of the cost and without the complexity of traditional solutions.

The past nine months have presented major obstacles for small data centres when it comes to managing their IT infrastructure. The consultation phase of the IDEAS project identified Augmented Reality (AR) as having great potential to quickly assist data centre managers in remotely managing their IT infrastructure at a time where on-site access to infrastructure may be limited or impossible to qualified personnel. For example, a technician who cannot board a cargo ship to perform maintenance could instead use IDEAS to perform the work.


A pilot service, utilizing an AR prototype created by the University of Zagreb, is operational with a few key customers, with further development activities planned. The prototype uses IT and power assets defined in Intelligent Power Manager (IPM) software to overlay static information (server model) or dynamic info (power consumption) on top of the picture captured by the phone or tablet, allowing easy remote-maintenance.


“The IDEAS project will provide an innovative and competitive solution at a time when the number of data centres is dramatically increasing in Europe due to the ‘cloudification’ of enterprise IT. Emerging technologies such as IoT and 5G will also result in the surge of very small, scattered data centres, otherwise known as Edge IT,” commented Eric Rueda, Software and Connectivity commercial leader at Eaton.

“New and existing data centre resources require monitoring and management to ensure proper business continuity. By consulting with our partners and clients, the IDEAS project is working to solve real pain points in the market by granting data centre teams easy access to infrastructure management tools and features through a service-oriented business model.” 


During the first phase of the IDEAS project, the consortium conducted a primary competitive analysis. In phase two, interactive focus groups were set up with Eaton’s local IT Channel Partners in France, Denmark, The Netherlands, Belgium, Italy and Morocco.

The interactive virtual sessions walked participants through the lifecycle of Eaton’s data centre service offerings and innovation projects such as AR that leverages IPM software to monitor infrastructure, mass commissioning tools for Power Distribution Units (PDUs) and machine learning technology for shutdown policies - nicely complementing IPM business continuity capabilities. Eaton then collected feedback as to the interest in and viability of these solutions.

This approach lead to cooperation between division members and multiple country sales organisations (CSOs), strengthening relationships with partners and improving end-customer loyalty by including them in forward-looking conversations. It also gave Eaton relevant input for innovation projects and customer perspectives on new products and services.


FER HPC Architectures and Applications Research Centre is focused on bringing cutting-edge processor and accelerator technology with a low-power design approach for both general and specialised processing together with efficient application design that would make future High-Performance Computing (HPC) systems sustainable.

“By integrating augmented reality with Eaton’s IPM software, we created a solution for the efficient operation of datacentres that added to our portfolio of HPC solutions. We are happy to see the joint efforts of Eaton and the FER’s HPC Architectures and Applications Research Centre successfully brought to industrial use. The complementary expertise has initiated even more ideas to be implemented in the near future,” said prof.dr. Mario Kovač, Director of HPC Architectures and Applications Research Centre at Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing, University of Zagreb.


Project IDEAS received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 851835 won by Eaton in 2019 to investigate Cloud versus on-premise data centres for small and medium-sized businesses. The project unlocked the significant potential of commercialisation of R&D results for novel data centre monitoring software developed in the successful EU Horizon 2020 Future and emerging technologies project MANGO. Project MANGO was set up to achieve optimum resource efficiency in future HPC applications sensitive to the quality of service, with ambitious cross-boundary exploration of architecture. In line with its corporate vision, Eaton is proud to invest in critical forward-looking technologies to drive innovation and change.


Eaton’s electrical business is a global leader with deep regional application expertise in power distribution and circuit protection; power quality, backup power and energy storage; control and automation; life safety and security; structural solutions; and harsh and hazardous environment solutions. Through end-to-end services, channel and an integrated digital platform & insights Eaton is powering what matters across industries and around the world, helping customers solve their most critical electrical power management challenges.

Eaton’s mission is to improve the quality of life and the environment through the use of power management technologies and services. We provide sustainable solutions that help our customers effectively manage electrical, hydraulic and mechanical power – more safely, more efficiently and more reliably. Eaton’s 2019 revenues were $21.4 billion, and we sell products to customers in more than 175 countries. We have approximately 92,000 employees.

The University of Zagreb, Croatia (1669) is the oldest and biggest university in South-Eastern Europe and consists of 29 faculties and three art academies. With its comprehensive programmes and over 50,000 full-time undergraduate and postgraduate students, the University is the strongest research and teaching institution in the region.


Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing at the University of Zagreb is the leading Croatian academic and R&D institution in the field of electrical engineering and ICT. The Faculty is constituted of 12 departments with research and educational staff comprising more than 150 professors, 250 teaching and research assistants and around 3.000 students at the bachelor level, 1.300 students at the master level and 500 PhD students. The Faculty is focused on state of the art research and international cooperation in core domains of ICT and electrical engineering and supporting all other research domains with its comprehensive expertise.

The FER’s mission is to educate students capable of carrying out the technological and social development through education and research in the field of electrical engineering, computing and information and communication technology, using scientific background from applied mathematics and applied physics to create new knowledge by internationally acknowledged research and by the development of new interdisciplinary areas and to innovatively develop the economy and public services, hence contributing to the overall development of society.

Author: Katarina Vukušić
News list