Costs of running communication networks about to tumble?


Photo credit armandoalves

I saw a report on the Green Data Center Blog today that a new industry group called GreenTouch has been formed with the express aim of reducing the amount of energy communications networks (including the Internet) use.

In fact their Global Mission is to, by 2015:

deliver the architecture, specifications and roadmap — and demonstrate key components — needed to reduce energy consumption per user by a factor of 1000 from current levels.

This is an incredibly ambitious aim and one that you might be inclined to dismiss if it were not for the fact that its members include from industry Bell Labs, AT&T, and China Mobile; MIT and Stanford University from the academic world; and The French National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Control from government – the full list from the GreenTouch members page is:

With the use of the Internet and mobile phone networks merging and growing daily with people uploading photos and video from their mobile phones to the Internet for example, this is a very timely development. From the network provider’s perspective, the ability to drastically reduce the costs associated with running these networks has to be compelling.

Similarly, for large organisations who run significant internal and external communications networks, any opportunity to tackle communications overheads and their energy-related emissions will be welcomed. In an era when the air-travel experience is becoming increasingly onerous due to increased security restrictions, the potential to shrink the price of alternatives such as telepresence solutions, will also be a boon.

Also, the utility companies, with their need to significantly invest in communication networks in the next few years as they roll out their smart grids, must be looking at this announcement with a lot of interest.

I’m curious to see where Cisco (and Juniper) are in all this!

Gee Rittenhouse, the head of Research for Bell Labs explains more about GreenTouch in the video below:


Enough of the half-measures

I’m worried. I’m very worried.

The recent report by MIT on Climate Change was the

most comprehensive modeling yet carried out on the likelihood of how much hotter the Earth’s climate will get in this century

It found that

without rapid and massive action, the problem will be about twice as severe as previously estimated six years ago – and could be even worse than that.

Specifically the peer-reviewed study projects a 90% probability range of a global warming of 3.5 to 7.4 degrees Celsius by 2100 with a median probability of surface warming of 5.2 degrees Celsius.

To put that in context, John Holdren, Barack Obama’s Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, says that the last time the earth was 3 degrees Celsius warmer was 120 million years ago. At that time there were palm trees in Wyoming, crocodiles swimming off the coast of Greenland and sea levels were 20-30m higher. Note – that was 3 degrees Celsius warmer, not the 3.5 degrees which is at the low end of the 90% probability the MIT paper.

The planet and more importantly, all life on it has had 120m years to adapt to the 3 degree cooling which has occurred since then and we have adapted well. However, a rise of 3 degrees in less than 100 years would have catastrophic consequences for most plant and animal species on the planet who are designed to adapt to changes in geological timeframes, not generational ones.

Against this backdrop you have the Barack Obama administration back-pedalling furiously on their climate commitments. Energy Secretary Steven Chu has said he is no longer willing to block the construction of new coal-powered electricity plants in the US, despite the chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Jon Wellinghoff recently announcing no new nuclear or coal plants may ever be needed in the United States!

Further, the current climate bill working its way through the system in the US calls for a 17% reduction in carbon emissions compared to the 2005 figure. Compare that to the much more ambitious 40% reduction on 1990 emissions that the Chinese are calling for and you start to see just how uninspired the US position appears to be.

People need to watch the video above, grow a pair and act decisively on the problem. Enough of the half-measures.


Cisco’s John Chambers talks Green

This is a video of Cisco CEO, John Chambers giving a superb presentation at MIT last year.

In the talk, John talks up the rise of video as a tool for collaboration in the enterprise, mentions some of Cisco’s work in China after the earthquake there, and talks up Smart Grids (“Smart Grids are $billion opportunities”).

42 minutes into the video, in answer to one of questions in the q&a John talks about some of Cisco’s Green initiatives including the Connected Urban Development program.

Well worth taking time out to watch.

via the Alianzo blog.