There are compelling reasons why the global ICT for Development (ICT4D) movement can benefit by embracing Sustainable Green ICT. A snapshot some of the purported "best" practices and other resources for ICT4D reveals little movement in this direction.
We took a look in October 2013 at five resources recently promoted on Twitter as big-picture looks at #ICT4D topics. Here's who is NOT talking about Green ICT.
We've regularly looked at datacenter and equipment consolidation. Consolidation can reduce resource consumption and environmental toxins by reducing energy use and equipment purchasing, yet consolidation efforts without careful implementation and appropriate safeguards can lead to catastrophic failure points. Two articles in the same week about a major American university illustrate the point.
How much gear is attached to the edges of our global ICT infrastructure? Our 2015 estimate is over 19 billion items. This up ~1 billion over 2013. The increase is driven by mobile and consumer media devices, but we are constantly adding new categories like wearable devices. We will update this table as new information comes in over the course of the year.
Containerized modules have become building blocks for mega data centers. These plug-and-play units offer cost-effective scalability for hosting cloud applications needing only a homogeneous platform. A UK nonprofit known for providing refurbished computers to developing countries now offers an innovative containerized ICT solution for use in disaster areas and remote communities. Computer Aid International launched its ZubaBox in 2012 with the slogan "ICT Hub-In-A-Box Offers Internet Connectivity Anytime, Anywhere". The concept has now been nominated for an award.
Consumers and businesses shopping for ICT gear and accessories can see which products contain potentially hazardous chemicals. This is due to a state of California (USA) law requiring such disclosure. Shopping on Amazon illustrates how this works.
Billions of people live in areas still without telecommunications access. Innovative delivery ideas emerged in 2013, including balloons. 2014 updates include a Facebook video explaining its solutions using satellites, drones, and lasers, Google's plans to add satellites to its mix of balloons and drones, and an announcement of a surprising new player.
The Pacific Island Schools Connectivity, Education, and Solar (PISCES) Project has installed a Solar-in-a-Box kit as a computer lab at a primary school on the island of Udot in the Federated States of Micronesia. The installation illustrates several ways in which Green ICT technologies and practices can deliver ICT to remote areas. (We've updated this post with a note about the second phase of PISCES.)
Conflict minerals continue to fuel violence in central Africa, but e-gear manufacturers are making progress. Intel and HP were the leaders in 2012 ratings, which showed most manufactures had improved. Here is the latest of a series of 2014 updates, reporting progress by Apple.
Fuel cells, including those powered by biogas, are a growing part of sustainable ICT infrastructures.
We have been tracking the adoption of the Bloom Energy Server for ICT over the past three years. We've noted Bharti Infratel's use of fuel cells to replace diesel generators at off-grid telecom sites India. Here are more products and deployments; the most recent post is about Nokia's fuel cell technology.
We estimate that in 2014 that 19 billion devices were attached to our global ICT infrastructure. We recently saw an estimate of 50 billion for 2020. What would the path to 50 billion connected devices look like?