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To Go Green, Make Videoconferencing Affordable

October 13, 2009


Today's Globe and Mail newspaper has a great article written by Joanna Pachner on videoconferencing as a green technology. The article cites a December, 2008, report on "green IT" from Gartner Inc. points out that in some organizations, such as large global consultancies, business travel can produce nearly 50 per cent of the company's total greenhouse gas emissions. 

The story cited how noted Canadian scientist and environmentalist David Suzuki began substituting videoconferencing for travel when he realized how much emissions he was causing. That a round trip from Toronto, Ontario to London, England "spews a [metric] tonne of carbon into the atmosphere". 

Suzuki has been doing videoconferencing from the University of British Columbia, in Vancouver, BC, where he is based. And beginning in December the David Suzuki Foundation, which he formed, will install Cisco's TelePresence that gives high-end 'being there' functionality.
 
"When I saw TelePresence," Suzuki told the newspaper, "the illusion was very real.






E-Cycling Nortel Gear

October 2, 2009

Jeff Wiener's excellent The TelecomBlog.com contains a prescient entry discussing and a pic showing old Nortel phones going into an Avaya box. Prescient in that Avaya is awaiting word from the Canadian government whether it can complete its $915 million purchase of Nortel's enterprise division.

Jeff, who writes TMC's The Canadan Angle blog explains that Avaya gives his firm Digitcom, which is based in Toronto, Ontario "some amazing credits for the old Nortel hardware. We pack it up, call Fedex, and say good-bye to our old faithful friend who finds its way to an e-waste processing plant."

Avaya, and other manufacturers, should get ready to expect to receive more Nortel e-waste now that once-vaunted communications equipment maker is being dismembered at the same time more firms are switching to VoIP, softphones, hosted platforms, and smartphones. 

While Avaya will if it is successful continue to support the Nortel lines, and the sets that are out there are for the most part rugged and well made the writing is on the wall for them. 

After all, what is a better time and reason than now to buy or get the budget approval to switch to that new IP phone that you've always wanted? While the economy is still slack, the prices are reasonable, and the sellers are hungry?

The interesting question from an environmental perspective is how much new junk will be produced per employee with these new technologies compared with the old ones.









Trends Shaping the Next Generation Data Center

September 28, 2009

As enterprises grow, their requirements for access to data center applications and services grows at least as quickly, which is driving many of businesses to build out new data centers or enhance the capabilities of their existing ones.   Underlying this general trend, which includes data center optimization, increased efficiency, and risk mitigation via a converged physical infrastructure such as that defined by Panduit, are several other factors that are resulting in data center executives to look closely at how they are developing their data centers.   During a recent videocast focusing on data center evolution, Garter research vice president Mark Fabbi outlined four trends that are helping drive next generation data center design: regulation and compliance, flexibility and agility, cost, and Green IT - all of which are pushing data centers toward a three-step process that includes consolidation, virtualization, and automation.   Regulation and Compliance In order to meet regulatory requirements, most data centers are looking to increase their control over data through centralization of storage and servers, which is driving many of the consolidation projects - which are an ideal opportunity to leverage Panduit's ideal of a converged, all-IP physical infrastructure.    Flexibility and Agility On its surface, the need for more real-time access to data and services from more places, including mobile and remote workers, seems to contradict the desire for increased control. However, the growing movement toward virtualization and automation is helping achieve both goals.   Cost Savings The down economy, which seemingly has flattened out somewhat, only heightened an existing movement to cut costs across businesses, and resulted in an increased need to justify investments, perhaps more than ever before. Consolidation, virtualization, and automation are well suited to helping lower data center CAPEX and OPEX.   Green IT There is a global movement towards eco-friendly technologies, partially as a function of cost saving initiatives, but it also involves other, global environmental issues that more and more businesses are considering as they make technology decisions. This also increases the focus on consolidation, virtualization, and automation.   Each of these trends is helping drive consolidation, virtualization, and automation. Consolidation allows for the sharing of assets between resources, so they can be repurposed for multiple uses. Then, virtualization and automation can be leveraged to allow faster, easier access to resources to increase operational efficiency across the enterprise, along with cost savings. They also play well into Green IT initiatives, as they help decrease the physical footprint of data center technology, and are designed to reduce power consumption and, consequently, cooling requirements.   These four trends, which represent the changing requirements placed on data centers, combine to increase the focus data center infrastructure components, particularly as the interact with one another. Specifically, with the ever-changing requirements being placed on data center assets, the infrastructure must be able to accommodate that evolution without having to be re-engineered each time.    That requires insight into the entire infrastructure, including not only the applications and other assets, but the servers and switches, cabling, security, power and cooling, and all other components that allow the data center to operate efficiently. In other words, the physical infrastructure becomes a moving part in the business process, rather than a static transport mechanism, which requires a holistic approach to designing, deploying, and managing the entire data center.   That's where Panduit, along with its partners is making a difference by adding intelligence into the data center to allow it to become more agile, more efficient, and more cost effective. According to Fabbi, infrastructure vendors must have a broad, comprehensive range of solutions to address the many data center systems that must be integrated into a single, united entity. Panduit and its partners bring those end-to-end solutions to the data center market, driving tighter integration between not only data center infrastructure systems, but also between the data center end the enterprise businesses they support.   Watch to full videocast to see more of how Gartner views data center evolution, and how Panduit and some of its partners are addressing data center pain points to help them become more agile, more cost effective, and more operationally efficient.   For more on Panduit's UPI vision, and its high-speed transport and green data center solutions, visit the Smart Data Centers community.   

The Ultimate Cash For Clunkers: Trading Traditional Offices For Home Offices

September 25, 2009

Forget about turning in old gas guzzlers for slightly more efficient vehicular monsters. 

If governments want a 'cash for clunkers' deal that will really have a positive green impact, both environmentally and in keeping money in taxpayers' wallets, they should offer to take over office space leases and buildings--prioritizing on those in car-oriented 'office parks'--in exchange for organizations sending their workforces to home offices.

Governments can then recycle the spaces, working with the owners and real estate firms (and giving them tax breaks to get their buy-in), for other uses: i.e. schools, hospitals, child/eldercare facilities--including tearing them down and cleaning them up to create parks or market gardens. Or they can flip these buildings and land around as brownfield sites, driving property prices so low to make greenfield development i.e. sprawl not attractive.



CDW Report: Energy Efficient IT Yield Savings, Yet Millions Are Still Wasted (and Environment Harmed)

September 9, 2009

A new, and telling, report by CDW on energy efficient IT is at first glance is positive, that more firms are successfully doing more to boost energy efficiency, and those that do achieve savings that ultimately translate into fewer dangerous emissions from their operations. 

Yet the report also reveals that efficiency too often takes a back seat to other considerations like purchase price. A point that serves as a stark reminder that unless the costs and subsequent financial pain of pollution--and this blog has outlined them in spades--is felt by the users i.e. those who pollute directly and indirectly no real progress will be made to stabilize let alone clean up the environment.

Here are highlights:

Cash For Comm Clunkers A Truly Green Solution

August 26, 2009

Kudos to companies such as Grandstream, MegaPath, and Netsuite for offering and to Rich Tehrani in his blog for raising and promoting what will turn out to be a much more effective 'cash for clunkers' campaign: turning in old legacy PSTN/TDM equipment and obsolete premises-based solutions for IP and where appropriate hosted tools and recycling them to avoid e-waste. 

The cash for clunkers in the comm industry will arguably be more effective in that this one doesn't involve governments, subsidies, and kowtowing to special interests. The Sierra Club has criticized what had started out to be a well-intentioned program into 'support for gas guzzlers'. Money allocated for this program has arguably come at the expense of more efficient mass transit. While there has been stimulus money to build new systems, agencies are being starved to buy vehicles and operating funds to provide services. 

In contrast going to software-based IP and hosted means less goods that have to be manufactured from raw resources that must be extracted and processed, and lowered transportation costs and the consequent environmental consequences at all stages.



Commuting A Pain In More Ways Than One

August 21, 2009

Commuting is bad for the environment. Emissions from vehicles both directly and indirectly through fossil-fueled and river-befouling power plants, and from construction and maintenance combined with open space land grabs combine to form a toxic stew that is slowly killing us. Something to keep in mind as a reality check during the insane U.S. healthcare debate and the endless go-rounds what to do about the costs and doctor shortages in Canada.

Transportation typically accounts for 1/3 of emissions, and motor vehicles at 2/3rds of that.

Contributing Sources of Weird Weather? Look In The Mirror

July 31, 2009

I live in the Pacific Northwest where the weather for the past several days resembles what has become the norm on the East Coast: hazy, hot, and humid.
 
The smaller businesses and most homes in this part of the world aren't equipped for this with little or no air conditioning, big glass windows, and limited drapery. The husband of one of my wife's colleagues has to sleep on the basement floor, and few homes here have basements. Fortunately we live/I work out of a new apartment with central air.

And in contrast the East Coast has been hit with rainy weather that is the norm here, except that the rains are harder.

Insist on Telework When Funding Highways and Transit: Attorney

July 21, 2009

There has been a lot of jawboning by government officials when it comes to telework as a green transportation alternative.

While federally-funded programs insist that applicants examine no-build options like transportation demand management solutions like telework, the nasty truth is that these are ignored. Why let imaginative, doable lower-cost methods get in the way of shoveling tax dollars to campaign-contributing contractors and engineering firms?

There may now, however, be at last interest and movement in getting governments to do the right thing thanks to large part to broadband becoming a necessity in homes and businesses.

The Dark Side of Housing/Commercial Building Starts

July 8, 2009

When housing and commercial building starts data are released and they show a jump there is generally a positive reaction. They seemingly show that the economy is back on track or that is it is growing and that people are being put back to work.

But is it good news? Not necessarily from the green or economic points of view.
And here's why.

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