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Greening of the network

01 Aug 10

Rising energy costs, environmental concerns and government and industry directives are combining to bring green issues and practices to the forefront of business and IT plans. Eyes are set on the IT industry, as technology is commonly seen as having a negative impact on the environment.
This climate has created a perfect storm for some of the greenoriented technologies being developed in the ICT industry, and provides a compelling opportunity for the channel community to offer a strong value proposition to clients.
We are fortunate that in New Zealand the majority of us have a natural aspiration to look after the environment – the green conversation comes naturally to us. This natural inclination is particularly important for New Zealand businesses to overcome an additional challenge, namely the tyranny of distance and the cost of operating in a global marketplace. It is no longer viable for us to jump on a plane to meet colleagues in remote locations.
Collaboration technologies can help overcome these challenges and bring together energy efficiencies and innovative practices to meet organisations’ green goals, while achieving substantial operational cost efficiencies.
A more energy efficient, network-enabled world
The network and green IT go hand in hand. The opportunity exists to leverage the network as a platform for collaboration and a vehicle to sustainability. The challenge facing resellers is to understand the intelligent capabilities that can be embeded in the network and how it pieces together a valuable business proposition for clients.
Clients can capitalise on the embedded intelligence in the network to harness effi ciencies and associated cost savings. Clients can monitor, manage and ultimately reduce energy consumption of anything “connected” to the network. This makes the network a powerful tool businesses can use to reduce the energy requirements and carbon footprint of their IT infrastructure, while reducing their operating costs.
Collaboration technologies have huge relevance for New Zealand resellers who can pass on the green benefi ts to end-users. Video and other collaboration technologies enable local organisations to reach out to global customers and partners. Virtual meetings can be facilitated from the home or offi ce, providing real business agility.
The positive spin-offs include conducting business in a timely fashion at a more cost-effective rate – we no longer need to fly somewhere to do business. From a raw numbers perspective, using collaboration technology instead of flying a typical Australia ‘roadshow’ (Melbourne / Sydney / Brisbane / Adelaide / Perth for three people) would save 17,565lbs of CO2, not to mention the cost savings associated with no travel.
It is commonly believed that computing can have a negative impact on the environment. Collaboration technologies actually reduce this impact, and we can measure their success in terms of the environment and the bottomline. This means the network can be a vehicle to achieve positive outcomes for businesses.
It is also a misperception that the consolidation of telephony and data networks onto a shared infrastructure, and telephony call control centralised in data, creates higher levels of energy consumption. The data centre actually consumes more energy with centralised call control.
Organisations are realising huge savings through consolidation and virtualisation of their systems. An example is the Ministry of Social Development, which consolidated 164 large TDM PABXs down to 16 servers, virtualised as a single entity and realised high availability or business continuity across two physically disparate data centres.
This example demonstrates the ability of the network to become a ‘green platform’ for technology, to help transform how we manage global environmental challenges and collaboration as a vehicle to transform how we do business.

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