Blog - Company
May 26, 2022 | Read time 5 min

Kao Data Shows How Data Centers Can Put Sustainability First

Speechmatics is partnering with Kao Data, one of the UK’s leading and most sustainable data centers. Click to find out why sustainability is important to us.
Speechmatics Team Meet the Team

Speechmatics recently partnered with Kao Data, one of the leading sustainable data centers in the United Kingdom. As an AI company at the forefront of our field, we understand the potential for environmental damage tech can cause. It's one of the reasons why this partnership makes sense.

In their words, "Kao Data develop and operate high-performance data centers for advanced computing. With hyperscale-inspired facilities east and west of London, we provide enterprise, cloud, HPC, and AI customers with a world-class home for their compute."

In other words, as we continue to grow, our data needs a healthy, suitably sized, and high-performance home.

Kao Data represents the value sustainability has in the modern world. As the technology industry continues to expand, the need for data storage will only increase. The impact the climate crisis is having on our planet is already evident, but we know there are active things we can do to help. We thought it would be pertinent to look at why we're so excited about our relationship with Kao Data. Moreover, we can look at their environmental policies and learn, as is the nature of our work.

Data Centre's Importance in an Environmentally Conscious World

If you're wondering what relevance data centers have to you, you'll be surprised to know the average person is in contact with a data center 250 times a day without realizing it, as Kao Data themselves report anything you use to make a web search, like your phone, tablet, or laptop, is supported by data centers.

Second block

There are 4.54 billion internet users globally, and as our society relies on such devices to function, data centers will only continue to grow. InsideBIGDATA reported that human and machine-generated data is growing 10x faster than traditional business data. Machine data is increasing even quicker at 50x the growth rate. We cannot avoid the growth of data centers. Given the IDC's prediction that by 2030, nearly 30% of data will be real-time compared to 15% in 2015, new challenges for how we send, store, and connect real-time data between users will continually arise.

Leading the Renewable Pack

We're constantly working on updating our Autonomous Speech Recognition (ASR). In our aim to understand every voice, our engine can transcribe 33 different languages – a figure that will continue to grow. As this happens, our GPUs will need more storage. In other words, we need more power to hold the increasing amount of data we use for developing and training our models.

We're not the only ones, either. In the 20 years from 2020 to 2040, emissions from data centers are predicted to rise by 14% - roughly equal to the USA's carbon footprint. The vast majority of the data centers globally are connected to energy grids using fossil fuels.

Kao Data recognizes the challenge sustainability represents within the technology industry. Not only is its data center powered by 100% renewable energy, but it is the first data center in Europe to switch its backup generators from fossil-fueled diesel to renewable HVO fuel. This eliminates up to 90% of net CO2 emissions, enabling the company to push forward with its goal to become carbon neutral by 2030.

All of this is excellent news for Speechmatics, as it means we can continue to cover the globe without ruining it.

Committing to Sustainability

At Speechmatics, we're aware our need for large, powerful GPUs can cause a drain on our planet's natural resources. It's why we're committed to sustainability. For example, we're looking to introduce an electric vehicle scheme that allows our UK-based team to buy environmentally friendly vehicles on a salary-sacrifice basis. This mindset, coupled with our existing initiatives, gives us a 50% recycling rate. Perhaps most notably, 0kg of our waste has ended up in landfills.

We aren't perfect, however. We realize that companies like Kao Data can help us push forward and become more sustainable. Among others, here are some of its commitments to sustainability:

  • Being a signatory to the Climate Neutral Data Centre Pact.

  • Sustainable data center architecture that is rated “BREEAM Excellent” by the Building Research Establishment.

  • Powered by 100% certified, renewable energy.

  • One of the world’s most energy efficient data centers with an SLA-backed Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) rating of 1.2.

  • First operator in Europe to power its generators with 100% renewable hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO).

  • Kao Data was also the UK's first 100% free-cooling multi-tenant data center.

  • Its new facilities utilize indirect evaporative cooling (IEC) units, which offer an improved, annualized energy consumption and further reduce ITE energy usage – meaning major environmental and costs savings.

  • Electric vehicle charging points on campus.

  • Company-wide Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategy including green supply chain management and campus-wide recycling.

  • Kao Data is the perfect place for us to meet our growing need for data storage whilst remaining sustainable.

A Journey to the Centre of Renewable Energy

There are more than 7100 languages in the world. Just 23 of those account for more than half the world’s population. Our ASR processes 33. So, despite leading the speech-to-text industry, we understand there's a long way to go before we can truly understand every voice. Such an aim will require an enormous amount of power and data. That's where Kao Data comes in.

We're excited about this partnership and this step forward in understanding the people who walk this Earth whilst protecting it simultaneously.