With all the focus on conserving energy - in the interest of saving a few budget dollars, of course - there are likely countless IT departments reminding their staff to turn off their PCs when they leave the office.
That's a start.
But, typically, PCs consume only about 7% of the overall IT energy in a business. What's more, Tom Noonan, president and CEO at Joulex, accurately notes that, with the proliferation of IP networking, more and more business technologies are connected via IP, which means that each of those network-connected devices should be able to be monitored and managed remotely, including the ability to monitor network energy consumption more accurately, either at the network level or at an individual device level.
Noonan, if you recall is the former chairman, CEO, and president of ISS, so he certainly comes with a solid pedigree in the networking space. He sold his security firm to IBM for $1.3 billion five years ago, after which, as he was leveraging the talents of some former ISS engineers looking to address some smart grid security issues, he uncovered a piece of data that was, on one hand, troublesome, but on the other, opened the opportunity to his new company, Joulex. That data suggested that the typical business consumes as much energy in a productive state as it does in an unoccupied, unproductive state.
The more significant data is that, according to Noonan, the typical business is only productively occupied 34 hours per week - about 20 percent of the time. Yet, the other 80 percent of the time, energy consumption doesn't drop much, largely because people (this includes IT staff) don't recognize all the devices that are constantly drawing energy, whether actively used or not.
To help relieve the strain on the power grids, and help businesses save on energy spending in the process, Joulex has developed a solution that collects near real-time data from the network (it updated every five minutes) to create energy profiles for different users and equipment, and then use those profiles to automate equipment shutdowns during unproductive periods.
For instance, in Germany, Siemens uses the solution in conjunction with employee badges, so that when an employee enters the building, all the technology he uses, including lighting, powers up. Likewise, when he leaves the facility, those same energy-consuming infrastructure elements power down so they are no longer consuming resources.
For a 5,000-user environment, Noonan suggests savings from personal technology alone can be as high as $500,000 or more (at 10 cents per kWh).
Of course, we know large enterprises represent a finite market, so the question is how to get the solution cost effectively to the SMB space, such as through the increasingly popular cloud model, which Noonan says is in the plans.
"I would love to get to the point where we have a multi-tenant cloud hosted version of the product," he said.
Check out my interview with Tom at Interop Las Vegas, where he talks about Joulex will help solve the fundamental challenge of lowering business energy consumption without impacting production.