December 2, 2009
In my last blog, I spoke about seeing some metal object on top of one of the pyramids in Egypt. I joked that I hoped it wasn't a cell tower. Come to think of it, I did have five bars though...
Anyway, during my marathon tour through Europe a few weeks ago, I was in Zurich. I was struck by the "global citizenship" aspect of the town. There are many ads touting a 10 percent or 15 percent drop in energy and carbon emission savings made possible by a particular company or device (for instance, elevators and automatic walkways don't move until you step on them, and many travelers are probably familiar with the need to put the door key in a device in the room to turn on the electricity, thus insuring when you leave the room and take the key the electricity goes off).
The Telecom Geneva show in October also resonated with this theme. The ICT industry (Information and Communications Technology) contributes about 2 to 2.5 percent of the global carbon footprint. The EU has also announced a target to reduce emissions by 20 percent of 1990 levels for 2020. Ambitious, but likely critical for all of us, especially if the entire world can follow suit.
How can our industry help? Certainly, wireless and (video) conferencing technologies are key to making this happen. Think about wireless enabling standard devices such as gas and electric meters, enabling readings to be done remotely as opposed to a truck roll. Think about doing standard tasks such as banking wirelessly. Think about little things like even using the boarding pass to your mobile device technology, instead of printing out your boarding pass. (In fact, this came in handy during the summer when I went on vacation since I had my entire family's boarding passes on my Blackberry, and since the computer system in the island airport was down, I was one of the only ones to be able to get through the massive line.) Think about using solar power for the wireless base stations. Think about all this and maybe you can just see an opportunity for a new application.