Mobile World Congress. Every year tech aficionados and journalists from the world over flock to Barcelona to find out what they should expect from the technology industry in the near future. 2016 hasn't been any different.
This year we've had announcements from the likes of Mark Zuckerberg on using virtual reality as a social tool, car manufacturers giving updates on the latest autonomous transport technology and every smartphone provider under the sun announcing their latest devices. It's safe to say, consumers and businesses alike have been very excited by the technological advances on their way - and so am I.
Nothing is impossible
Take the advances in virtual reality technology for example. Although the image which has gone viral of Mark Zuckerberg entering the MWC auditorium while the entire audience is wearing VR gear has resulted in much mockery, it's clear this is the future of consumer living. I have no doubt within the next ten years it will be completely normal to spend hours at a time with Occulus Rift-style headsets on, watching movies, playing computer games or even reading the news.
Similarly, if someone had told me self-driving cars would be on the market in my lifetime when I first saw such a vehicle in Tomorrow Never Dies, I would have laughed. However, now it seems just a matter of time before we're all relaxing behind the wheels of our cars while the vehicle does the hard work. As for smartphone technology, there will likely be very little left that our phones can't do. However, there's one technology which all of these futuristic trends have in common...
The unsung hero of tech
Data centres. They run in the background and ensure our favourite technologies work around the clock. In fact, it wouldn't surprise me if the vast majority of consumers actually aren't aware what a data centre is. Despite that, there's no doubt that without data centres, the world as we know it would be completely different.
This reliance on data centres is only going to grow. Imagine you're sitting comfortably about to watch the latest releases on your virtual reality headset and the cloud the technology relies on collapsed - no films for you.
You may not realise it, but almost all technology we use is run on data centres which minimise the risks associated with hosting vast amounts of data. To ensure technology doesn't fall flat on its face due to high demand, data centres have systems in place to ensure back-up structures automatically kick in when an outage occurs so any services relying on this data don't suffer any downtime. With the vast range of connections and structures which combine within data centres, providers are continuously asking "what happens if this element fails?" to guarantee consumers can continue enjoying the latest gadgets without interruption.
It's this responsibility which makes data centres so important in the digital age, as without them it's likely rare, high profile outages would happen much more frequently. So, the next time you're browsing the web in excitement looking at the technology we'll all be using in a few years time, take a moment to think about the data centres silently ticking over in the background making it all possible.