Thought Leadership

Green IT and the Network

Green IT and the Network

Anil Bhasin, Senior Vice President, Cisco Services & SAARC

Thanks to the recent government initiatives and policies driving adoption, Green IT is becoming one of the most critical concerns for businesses across different verticals and industries in India, just like it is elsewhere in the world. According to the market research firm Gartner – India's spending on Green IT is set to hit US$45 billion this year and US$70 billion by 2015.

Global warming is one of the main reasons behind the innovative measures being taken to reduce carbon footprint. The other factors include inadequate energy resources, skyrocketing costs and limited tools that reduce resource wastage. To balance out the resource availability, meet current requirements and address the upcoming steep rise in demand, adopting technologies that contribute to energy conservation is not only a need, but also the only plausible solution.

One way to contribute towards the reduction in carbon footprint is to adopt smart infrastructure with efficient building management systems, which ensures a significant reduction in consumption of resources like water, energy and raw materials. A step forward would be to add intelligence to such systems. Integrated solutions where HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) components communicate with each other over a centralized network help to ensure a perfectly synced platform. Such intelligent solutions certainly provide an edge when it comes to reducing resource usage and wastage.

Smart Buildings are an ideal example of centralized network based systems. Based on real-time information, an intelligent IP-based network can assess the consumption rate of various resources such as electricity, water and gas in these buildings and reduce that to a minimum. Today, it is possible to build centralized building management systems which integrate multiple proprietary networks present in elevators, lights, heating systems, air–conditioning, ventilation systems, security, power, water, voice, data and more, over an IP backbone.

Clearly the Network plays a central role in smart buildings and helps in planning and building better communities which are green. A networked intelligent system constitutes devices, components and solutions, connected over IP and transforms the physical space into a service offering. Such infrastructure is also capable of facilitating additional services to citizens over the internet. Public services like transportation, utilities, security, entertainment, education, and healthcare can all be delivered leveraging the network platform.

Keeping the network at the core while strategizing for planning and designing will lead to the creation of a model that ensures all critical services like security, utilities, and entertainment are being delivered over the network and are in sync with each other. Taking up a network-based approach will also facilitate the ability to provide for a holistic end-to-end solution covering sectors like education and healthcare.

Smart cities

Using the network as an application platform, it is possible to build solutions that integrate different services in an intelligent fashion and create 'smart' cities. Leveraging the network infrastructure helps achieve greater levels of social, economic and environmental sustainability and helps to provide an enriched living and working experience to residents. Within such cities, connected and sustainable platforms help create Smart Homes with features like wireless door locks, customized control systems for ACs, blinds and lights, smart entertainment systems, motion and gas detection systems. Residents in these intelligent homes can sit in the comfort of their living rooms and participate in a yoga class, take a university course or consult with a doctor.

Similarly it is possible to create workplaces which come with smart applications that alert drivers to the space available for parking, create conference rooms synced up to heating and lighting systems which switch on few minutes before a meeting and shut off automatically after the scheduled meeting time. Likewise smart chips help track an employee entering or leaving a building and automatically switch on the necessary systems that enable work efficiency.

Such out-of-the-box initiatives go a long way in helping to drive people towards sustainable energy efficient solutions. Not visions of a far-away future a number of these solutions are already helping to promote healthcare and education in remote areas, while also helping to cut down on time and resource costs. While bringing down the carbon footprint and enabling, virtual reach to remote places these efficient tools help to address a number of urbanization challenges as well.

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