We've counted over 17 billion pieces of e-gear attached to the global ICT infrastructure. The 'Internet of Things' (IoT) will dramatically increase this number by the end of the decade. Can technology keep up with the energy and resource demands?
We are fans of wind energy - our office and in-house ICT gear are 100% powered by wind-generated electricity purchased form our local utility. We are seeing more wind-powered ICT emerge around the world - the latest is the news that Microsoft has purchased the entire outputs of two wind farms.
We wrote in 2012 about the ecoATM, "…an automated self-serve kiosk system that uses patented, advanced machine vision, electronic diagnostics, and artificial intelligence to evaluate and buy-back used electronics directly from consumers for cash or store credit." In 2013, we noted the EcoATM concept had been accused of facilitating the theft of e-devices. Now, we note ecoATM appears to be thriving and has received an international sustainability award.
The Bloom Energy Server is a "distributed power generator" that uses fuel cells to convert air and natural gas into electricity. We wrote in 2010 that the 'Bloom Boxes' are "already being used by ICT companies, but not for for mission-critical ICT applications." By mid-2012 we could report that they are used for applications ranging from television to telecom. We've updated this post with a video about e-Bay's Utah datacenter.
We are constantly on the lookout for ICT-intensive communities who appear under-engaged in global Green ICT awareness. More active participation from these communities could do much to advance ICT sustainability. We identified American higher education and global ICT4D advocates as two communities where more effective embrace of Green ICT has significant potential. Console gamers comprise another such community. This is important because research firm IHS has marked game consoles for production growth in 2014.
We launched Vertatique with the statistic that data centers consumes ~2% of global electricity production. We now know that the globe's broader ICT energy footprint is ~8%, the majority of which is NOT from data centers. The contribution of communications, driven by explosion of cloud computing and mobile devices, has helped drive the number higher. Here are the facts and figures.
The Australian Government ICT Sustainability Plan 2010-2015 covers a wide range of Green ICT practices and should be considered by other government entities looking to adopt Green ICT practices. We will periodically look at various elements of the Australia's plan - first up are the six components of its ICT equipment procurement plan.
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.