Greentech Lead India: The current era of volatile energy
costs and mounting pollution concerns has businesses around the world, from the
largest corporation to the corner store, looking for new ways to conserve
energy and resources and new solutions that make sense. The engine that will
drive this new direction in environmental sustainability is technological
innovation, including advances in battery technology and fuel cells in cars,
and the developing viability of solar, wind, and geothermal energies. And
increasingly, businesses are looking to information technology for answers.
ICT and Green Transformation
While the governmental and private sectors wrestle with
the issue, many organizations see eco-friendly measures as a critical element
of corporate social responsibility, and have already made the decision to act.
Solution providers are teaming up with businesses who also want to “go green.”
A natural synergy results, as new thinking passes from either side of the
business-to-business equation. A large component of this innovation revolves
around Information Communications Technology (ICT). From the early promise of a
paperless office (itself a green initiative), communications technology has
always been about new, more efficient ways of doing business.
Today is no different. In a recent report, the World
Economic Forum confirms that the convergence of global networking and computing
can significantly reduce global carbon emissions. The report also noted that
ICT solutions have the potential to be a significant player in the reduction of
CO2 emitted by non-ICT industries and the public. While ICT consumes energy and
creates about 2% of the world’s CO2 emissions, by empowering new and more
efficient ways of doing business it can significantly reduce the remaining 98%
of emissions generated by non-ICT industries. What are the components of an
ICT-led reduction in carbon emissions and an increase in energy efficiency?
IP Networking Powers Green Initiatives
IP networking lays the groundwork necessary for
communication technologies to support green initiatives. An IP network
converges voice and data to help companies improve bandwidth utilization by
eliminating much of the duplication of bandwidth required to run separate voice
and data networks. A converged network requires fewer servers, routers, and
other equipment required to run separate voice and data networks.
A single converged network can also help control
management costs – whether a company manages the network in-house, or has a
third-party manage some, or all, of the network. With managed networks,
organizations can leverage outside expertise to help maintain efficient network
conditions and expand the reach of advanced applications to help improve
employee effectiveness. Through converged networking, businesses can reduce the
need for internal resources to maintain disparate networks and applications. IT
personnel can spend more time on proactive innovation, activities that lead to
both organizational and environmentally responsible success.
A converged network can facilitate environmentally
friendly e-commerce, which reduces energy and air pollutants associated with
traditional brick and mortar shopping. It can also reduce retail and warehouse
space requirements, which in turn reduce energy required to build, heat, and
cool retail showrooms and office space.
IP Telephony Boosts Efficiency
IP telephony provides voice connectivity without the need
to purchase new phones or PBXs, replaces standard telephony with more energy
efficient methods, and helps consolidate existing devices. By using an IP data
network for voice, businesses can get more out of available bandwidth, and
allocate it across locations to meet both performance and efficiency targets.
And IP brings the ability to create and deploy automated controls to power down
phones during expected idle periods. The consolidation and control helps
decrease demands for energy.
VoIP helps power initiatives such as “hoteling,” where
employees use shared workspace on an as-needed basis. With IP telephony,
employees can use their office number, voice mail, and features at several
locations and devices. These employees also use remote access to corporate data
and applications to perform their jobs on the road or from home offices. In
this way, a company can provision fewer office spaces than number of employees,
saving on real estate and associated energy consumption.
Optimization and Virtualization Add to Server Capacity
Servers typically use only 5-15 percent of their
capacity. Through virtualization, businesses can consolidate multiple IT
resources, such as operating systems and software applications, on a single
server, running several “virtual” servers on one device. One server can do the
work of several, reducing both costs and energy usage. Businesses also can
duplicate their environment – providing backup capabilities – at a fraction of the
cost and environmental impact common with physical replication. And
applications, whether on a virtualized machine or not, can be optimized.
Bloated software, inefficient software, or even software that produces very
little business value, all can be pruned, optimized and even discontinued to
lighten the load on servers.
Virtual Collaboration Reduces Travel
Audio, video, and web conferencing can foster collaboration
among workers in various locations. These services enable users to “skip the
trip” but not the meeting, thereby eliminating unnecessary travel. By bringing
people together through virtual meetings, enterprises can meet with customers,
prospects, and team members without ever leaving their desk, office, or home
Video conferencing technology has evolved and now
provides high definition and virtual platforms. These immersive video
solutions, such as telepresence, offer a next-generation virtual meeting
technology that goes beyond ordinary video conferencing by creating the
impression that everyone is assembled face-to-face in a single conference room.
Mobility Reduces Need for Physical Resources
Mobility solutions offer virtually anywhere/anytime
connections to corporate resources to enable workers to fulfill customer needs
and complete tasks on the spot, saving resources by eliminating delays and
excess travel to specific locations. Reduced commuting and travel, paper usage,
and the cost of running large, empty offices (eliminated through teleworking
and “hoteling” via communal work spaces), all contribute to a greener business.
Mobility solutions are powered by wireless voice and data
applications that extend the enterprise’s boundaries beyond the corporate
campus. Voice mail and secure, hosted messaging applications provide options
for timely and effective communications between employees, suppliers, and
customers, while network-based applications like audio, video, and web
conferencing and voice over IP (VoIP) can enable collaboration on the go.
Online Billing and Payment Cuts Down on Paper Usage
Web-based applications have long supported online,
paper-free billing, and more and more businesses and consumers are taking
advantage. It’s an easily implemented change that can have a large and positive
environmental impact. Electronic bill presentment and payment also eliminates
associated environmental costs of paper bill transportation between provider
EDI (electronic data interchange) and Direct Data offer
other options for billing delivery. These electronic file delivery systems
transport large volumes of billing data virtually to better automate monthly
invoice processing and provide a paperless solution.
Global business trends are driving enterprises toward
greener business practices. Sustainability, energy efficiency, conservation,
and innovation are fast becoming the watchwords of the 21st century. And how
that translates into the evolution of the enterprise will affect all facets of
an organization. IT can help lead the charge via a number of tools: virtual
workspaces and mobility, energy efficient infrastructure, and smart choices for
day-to-day operations such as paperless billing and electronic date interchange.
The benefits of the green revolution that is now underway are many – chief among
them improved care for the environment we all share. Better environmental
stewardship can enhance brand profile and increase employee satisfaction. The
inherent efficiencies help lower costs, and the emphasis on new solutions and
innovation can provide an impetus for a leaner, more creative and competitive
John Samuel, India President, Verizon