|Asia-Pacific II 2010
|Painting the town ‘green’
|Managing Director – Global Markets
|Cable &Wireless Worldwide
Nick Lambert is Managing Director of all Cable&Wireless Worldwide’s Global Markets operations; he also continues in his role as President of Asia Pacific. Mr Lambert’s previous position was at IBM as the Vice President of Infrastructure Management Services in Asia-Pacific, as well as the Asia Pacific General Manager for the company’s ‘i series’, mid-range servers. Earlier, Mr Lambert was the Managing Director of IBM New Zealand. Mr Lambert also held senior leadership positions with organizations such as Wang Computers System. At Sequent Computer Systems, Mr Lambert served as Managing Director for New Zealand, Managing Director for the Australia – New Zealand (ANZ) region and as Vice President of its Asia Pacific operations. Nick Lambert graduated from the Victoria University with a bachelor’s degree in Biology. He attended the Wharton Business School of the University of Pennsylvania as well as the Boston University Executive Management Programme.
ICT accounts for two per cent of worldwide carbon emissions – about the same as the airline industry, and this could double over the next decade. ICT users can do much to reduce their carbon footprint and they can reduce their operating expenses while doing so. Steps such as consolidating and ‘virtualising’ data centre servers, optimising network utilisation and adopting video-conferencing and promoting remote working to reduce travel economises energy usage, reduces CO2 emissions and drastically cuts the associated costs.
The Asia-Pacific information communications technology sector is booming. It is also producing a growing environmental footprint that must be managed in the long-term. Earlier this February, Wipro – one of Asia-Pacific’s biggest IT service providers sold its first computer manufactured without any materials potentially hazardous to human health. The new computer, called Greenware, is completely free of PVC (polyvinylchloride) and BFR (brominated flame-retardants) and lights up a path to follow for many international PC makers, whose products still contain these harmful materials. Such developments are a welcome change among businesses in the Asia-Pacific, where e-waste is fast becoming a particular concern as many countries accept large shipments of dumped waste from developed countries for crude recycling. The industry is often poorly regulated and exposes many children and lower-income workers to health risks from handling toxic chemicals. However, managing e-waste is only one of the environmental hurdles confronting the region’s information communications technology (ICT) industry. There is no doubt that the ICT industry has changed the way we work and provided us with solutions to connect, engage, and collaborate. However, this industry plays a dual role as both a cause and a solution for environmental sustainability issue. The sector uses significant amounts of energy and generates a vast ecological footprint, on one hand, and is a vital technology that can help address environmental sustainability issues on the other. Research figures by Gartner estimate that ICT accounts for two per cent of worldwide carbon emissions – the same level of CO2 emissions as the airline industry. This figure is expected to double over the next decade as large numbers of new Internet and phone subscribers as well as data-heavy communications services are added to ICT networks. Industry players in the last few years have slowly awoke to the fact that there is a need to do their part to reduce this. Adopting intelligent solutions, such as converging IT and telecommunications technologies and implementing tools such as video-conferencing, has helped in the development of sustainable business strategies. In addition, by taking on sustainable practices, businesses have not only reduced CO2 emissions but have also shown benefits from upfront cost savings through the reduction of energy consumption. It is also something we are fundamentally committed to in our business. In our operations in Asia Pacific and abroad, we have dramatically reduced energy consumption by adopting ICT technologies and practices that balance environmental and business goals. We also advise our clients to reduce their energy consumption and start by optimising their data centre infrastructure. Where possible, data centres should be consolidated onto fewer, more technologically advanced servers, which release less heat and deliver greater performance per watt of power dissipation. They should also use a technique called virtualisation, which splits one physical server into multiple virtual servers for better utilisation. By simply consolidating and ‘virtualising’ servers in on-site or external data centres, companies can improve their total server utilisation from ten per cent to as much as 70 per cent. These improvements are important because fully loaded servers, proportionally, consume much less energy than under-utilised ones. A further way to build on the cost and carbon emission savings generated by data centre consolidation is to improve an organisation’s overall efficiency in its ICT networks and processes. Specially designed software packages and services, such as application performance management (APM), are ideal for this. APM delivers optimal network performance and efficiency by monitoring and managing the applications, user profiles and services on an organisation’s wide area network (WAN). This can eliminate the longer working hours and excess infrastructure needed to overcome poor productivity caused by slow networks – significantly cutting carbon emissions in the process. Changing ourselves Another way that businesses throughout Asia Pacific are tackling carbon emissions is by changing their work practices. Managed video-conferencing (MVC) solutions – particularly systems incorporating telepresence and high definition (HD) technologies for ‘live’ meetings – is increasingly helping regional organisations reduce their business travel costs. Practising environmental stewardship saves money and reduces an organisation’s carbon footprint. Companies throughout the world are making VC (video-conferencing) easy and accessible with appropriate facilities at all their major sites. Some companies also have permanent VC links to their major suppliers. One company’s recent corporate meeting for colleagues in Bangalore, Singapore, Hong Kong and the UK used video-conferencing to achieve savings of £40,000 in travel and accommodation costs. Using VC for their monthly operations meetings between colleagues in London and Bangalore saved an estimated 120 days of management time, some £40,000 in direct travel costs in the first month. Furthermore, an application to measure travel savings and CO2 emissions savings estimated savings of £2,279,951 for travel last year and annual savings of 600,000 kg CO2. In the Asia Pacific, Regus is adopting MVC solutions to give businesses of all sizes the opportunity to take full advantage of this technology, and the green benefits associated with it, at its meeting facilities and business centres. Less common, but very much growing in popularity across Asia Pacific, is the concept of remote working, in which employees work from home part of the time. The major ‘green’ benefits of remote working are the reduction in travel and the associated reduction in the use of office space, equipment and power – all of which can have a massive impact on an organisation’s carbon emissions. With employees working away from the office, organisations can save on heating, cooling and energy consumption, all of which result in a significant reduction in its carbon footprint. And we mustn’t ignore the benefit for employees; remote working is a significant way to help employees achieve a better work/life balance. Many businesses may believe that the necessary IT and network infrastructure changes required to implement remote working is a barrier too complex and expensive to implement, but carriers offer IP Virtual Private Network (IPVPN) services that can provide the backbone for remote working. The IPVPN is a managed service for carrying voice and data traffic across the public network and helps organisations that want to connect all their employees and sites to a single corporate network. Based on next-generation network, IPVPN converges voice and data lines and can ensure businesses have the necessary bandwidth to deal with all the applications they require. It also supports mission critical communications in the office and facilitates remote access. Green impact The cost savings gained by adopting such green initiatives can be dramatic if pursued correctly and systematically. According to the business value analysis study, Symantec Corporation: The Green Data Centre. Symantec, the largest maker of personal computer security software, was able to save more than US$2.1 million in energy costs by implementing green IT practices in its data centres. Hewlett Packard made similar gains in India. In early 2008, the company consolidated 14 data centres into one large site in Bangalore cooled by an air conditioning system equipped with 7,500 temperature sensors. The facility’s 40 per cent savings in power consumption equated to annual savings of approximately US$1.2 million. Such energy savings by individual corporations are impressive. However, a far greater impact can be achieved if the industry acts together with the world’s governments to establish standardised ways of calculating and monitoring the energy consumption of our products and the CO2 emissions of our activities. Improved international and national standards could also drive environmentally friendly innovation. For instance, it could push designers to ensure that recycling is a key consideration in PC manufacturing. This means having an idea of which components will be re-usable, recyclable and biodegradable once the machine becomes obsolete. The SMART 2020 report, commissioned by the Global e-Sustainability Initiative, estimates that the ICT sector could enable a reduction of up to 15 per cent of global emissions – more than five times the footprint of the sector itself. In the process, green IT could create new business lines worth hundreds of billions of dollars. What an amazing incentive for more businesses to follow the lead of Wipro and its ‘Greenware’ computer, and get into green IT!