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From Print to Pixels: Isabelle Kemlin’s Take on the Printing Press, the Telegraph, and Magnifying Lenses

Mon 20 May 2024

As the eagerly anticipated Data Centre World approaches on 22-23 May at Messe Frankfurt, we had the pleasure of speaking with Isabelle Kemlin, Business and Innovation Executive at RISE Research Institutes of Sweden, and Vice Chair of the Swedish Data Centre Industry Association.

Kemlin shared three groundbreaking inventions that have significantly influenced her life: the printing press, the telegraph, and magnifying lenses.

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The Birth of Mass Communication: The Printing Press

Kemlin’s first choice was the printing press, invented by Johannes Gutenberg in the 15th century. This revolutionary invention made books accessible to the masses, spreading knowledge far and wide.

“The printing press was the hub of information and a game-changer that set the stage for the world as we know it,” explained Kemlin.

Kemlin drew parallels between the printing press and today’s data centres, which serve as the heartbeat of the digital age, facilitating the rapid dissemination of information globally.

Real-Time Communication: The Telegraph

The telegraph, Kemlin’s second choice, emerged in the 19th century, transforming communication by enabling instant message transmission across vast distances. Kemlin recalled how her mother grew up with the first telephone exchange in her village.

“Lars Magnus Ericsson was a pioneer in telephone technology and actually founded the company Ericsson because he constructed Sweden’s first telephone line at only 17, which is quite impressive,” said Kemlin.

Kemlin highlighted the telegraph’s role as the precursor to real-time communication, likening it to the instantaneous data transfer capabilities of modern digital infrastructure.

Exploring the Unseen: Magnifying Lenses

Finally, Kemlin chose magnifying lenses, an ancient Asian invention that brought the unseen into focus.

“I have always been very fascinated by the universe and what you actually can see. This invention … opened up new frontiers in numerous fields from astronomy, biology, archaeology, optometry and surgery,” said Kemlin.

Kemlin likened her three inventions to that of the human body of the digital age, comparing data centres to the heartbeat, the telegraph as the nervous centre of global connectivity, and magnifying lenses as the unseen insights in an ‘ocean of data’ the industry is working with.

The Future of Data Centres

Kemlin’s passion for technology extends beyond these historical inventions to her current work at RISE, where she focuses on making data centres more energy-efficient and sustainable.

“I think the beauty here is that we work in a full value chain. So everything from the electricity with the Grid, and then the network, and then the actual data centre itself,” said Kemlin.

She emphasised the importance of innovation in sustainability, urging companies to adopt a broader perspective and integrate data centres into the community to foster a more sustainable future.

Bridging the Communication Gap

As someone fluent in many languages, Kemlin discussed her love for communication, meeting people, and bringing people together from different countries and cultures.

“In one sense we are very, very, very similar, but on the other hand we bring in with our experiences, so many different perspectives.  If you just grasp a little bit, you will have the most fascinating experience,” said Kemlin.

She also discussed the need for greater public awareness about the crucial role data centres play in everyday life.

“My urge is really for companies to look more on a wider scope, at the system itself, not just the maybe the physical dimensions within the data centre, but also where it is placed and how to bring working closer with the communities,” stressed Kemlin, adding that the data centre industry is leading the general public into digital.

“If we think with an open mind and with an open mindset. We can actually do wonders together,” said Kemlin.

Looking Forward to Data Centre World Frankfurt

At the upcoming Data Centre World Frankfurt, Kemlin is looking forward to discussing artificial intelligence (AI), data explosion, and sustainability. She believes this event is an excellent opportunity for professionals to exchange ideas and learn from each other.

Kemlin’s session will focus on the rapid growth of data, the impact of AI, and the importance of making sustainable decisions in the face of new regulations like the EU’s Energy Efficiency Directive.

“This topic, given the new regulations that are coming with the Energy Efficiency Directive, will unify us all in the common goal of sustainability,” said Kemlin.

Join Kemlin at Data Centre World in Frankfurt to explore these insights and more, and learn how the past continues to shape the future of technology and data centres.


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