Supported by 100 percent renewable energy, this data center turned it up a notch with a site that uses heat recovery to warm surrounding homes and other buildings, including a local hospital. A multidisciplinary team of engineers, architects, designers, facility operators, and energy professionals designed the three-building, 80,000-square-meter facility to capture and recover the low-temperature heat generated by thousands of servers, and to deliver the heat for free to the surrounding community.
While our data center helped with heat recovery in Denmark, new Disaster Maps provided the real-time information needed to help those affected by Australia’s unprecedented bushfires. They helped fill information gaps and helped relief workers pinpoint where people were, how they were evacuating, and what resources they needed access to most. When the Australia fires began, we shared these real-time maps with more than 100 Data for Good partners, to help inform and support their humanitarian responses.
As part of our broader efforts to connect the world, we started rolling out Discover (a new product that builds on our Free Basics initiative) in a number of countries, including Peru, Thailand, the Philippines, Iraq, and Myanmar. Discover is a mobile web and Android app that can be used to browse any website using a daily balance of free data from participating mobile operators. With Discover, we were able to explore new ways to help people stay connected, and we took into consideration broader challenges, such as affordability and unequal access. In the midst of the coronavirus public health crisis, we used it to increase access to accurate health information by highlighting COVID-19 resources on the Discover homepage.
As these stories show, 2020 was innovative in ways we expected — and in many ways we couldn’t have anticipated. Our engineers and communities were challenged to build and develop technology in ways that accounted for global events, diverse experiences, and major changes to how we live, work, and experience culture. We look forward to all that’s yet to come in 2021!