CommScope_AIM_imVision_DataCenterThis blog post is part of a series called “CommScope Definitions,” in which we will explain common terms in communications network infrastructure.

I will start by clarifying that we are talking about AIM in the context of an intelligent building or in a state-of-the-art data center. Obviously, the term AIM has various meanings; however, in the world of connectivity, AIM is an acronym for Automated Infrastructure Management

CLICK TO TWEET:  CommScope's LeaAnn Carl provides you the definition of AIM

AIM has been around a while and relates to: 

  • Intelligent patching
  • Guided patching
  • Smart panels
  • Intelligent infrastructure management

In September 2010, the industry converged on the term AIM when it was introduced into TIA 606-B standards. Then, in early 2016, it was ratified into ISO/IEC 18598

According to the TIA standard, AIM means: Integrated hardware and software system that automatically detects the insertion or removal of cords, documents the cabling infrastructure including connected equipment enabling management of the infrastructure and data exchange with other systems.

Now, there is often some confusion between AIM and DCIM (Data Center Infrastructure Management). DCIM is a generic term used to define any process, product or solution that is used to manage a data center. While features vary from product to product, DCIM typically includes some aspect of power, cooling and overall physical infrastructure management (i.e., facilities and IT). When you compare AIM with DCIM, AIM accurately documents the physical network infrastructure including all cabling and connectivity. 

I covered at a high level “what” AIM is; now, let me explain “why” it is. Networks are becoming more complicated. As IT professionals, we are fighting security issues, complexity, pressure to reduce operational costs and are being asked simultaneously to improve both efficiency and performance. The bottom line is that you can’t accurately manage or optimize anything that you don’t fully understand. As connected Internet of Things devices become more popular, making buildings and data centers smarter, it is becoming important to map out the physical infrastructure to properly manage it. New and emerging technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality, and Virtual Reality are all going to need detailed, accurate data management so that they can become useful as tools to promote operational efficiency and cost savings. 

Want to know more about AIM? Blake Van Scoy will be presenting on AIM at Futureland in Milan, Italy on November 15-16, 2018.

About the Author

LeaAnn Carl

LeaAnn Carl is the product line manager responsible for CommScope's Automated Infrastructure Management (AIM) solution. LeaAnn has more than 15 years of experience in software product development and integration. Prior to joining CommScope, she spent nine years at Hewlett Packard in the Business Critical Systems division and held IT management positions at other Fortune 500 companies. She has a bachelor of science degree in finance from Texas A&M University.

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Comments

3 comments for "CommScope Definitions: What is AIM?"
William A. Boyd Friday, October 26, 2018 3:40 PM

Thank you for publishing your thoughts and sharing this industry information. However, in my view, what has necessitated the need for AIM is the lack of skilled technicians. A properly trained and knowledgable Technicain would know that cables must be labeled and follow effective cable management practices.
Your company manufactures many products to accomplish the simple tasks. If the right Standards are adhered to, then operational costs would be reduced by avoiding an "opps" moment of unplugging the wrong patch cable.
My two-cents.
And Thanks to Commscope for publishing the many blogs. They show up regularly in my mailbox.

Ricardo Diaz Friday, October 26, 2018 6:11 PM

Hi William,
Thank you for taking the time to comment! Appreciate it!
As a past imVision support guy, let me briefly add to it.
Certainly, a trained technician can ensure that the physical layer is properly managed from the patching perspective.
However, in many real-life sites, I've seen skilled techs to rush to complete their tasks and not take the time to document them accurately. imVision solves that.
Complex installs may require a big staff to run these tasks in time and with the right quality, and many times the staff churn rate prevents the patching and documenting skills to be built up and maintained along time.
I had once a big customer that was able to, after installing imVision, decrease the patching staff to a 25% and the error ratio to a negligible level compared to the previous one.
But imVision is a lot more than managing patching, it deals with PoE, handles multifiber connectors, talks to the active equipment and matches those ports to panels and outlets -giving you instantly the complete path- it can locate devices accurately, it's very useful at remote locations not worthy to have IT dedicated staff and the list goes on and on.
Any of our reps would be more than happy to meet you and explain all the ways imVision can meet the needs of any network.
As I said, we welcome the feedback. Thanks and keep it coming!

LeaAnn Carl Monday, October 29, 2018 4:15 PM

Appreciate the excellent commentary. Guided patching is still an important feature that AIM systems provide but more often these days we see customers investing in AIM to harvest the rich information that a thoroughly documented network can provide. In addition to the things Ricardo mentions we also see AIM as a platform that will play a significant role in IOT devise management and security. Strategically AIM will be pivotal in enabling customers to leverage the benefits of emerging technologies such as Augmented Reality.

Glad you like our blogs as much as we like to write them and thank you for staying connected!

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