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Sustainability in Communications Technology (CT) equipment, infrastructures and operations, including telecom, broadcast, & networking

New Energy Standards for Set-Top Boxes

Set-top boxes (STBs), many with embedded DVRs, have become fixtures in American households. These devices, required for many digital televisions (DTV) services, and are rented from cable, satellite, and telephone companies or purchased from companies like Apple (Apple TV) and Google (ChromeCast). The proliferation of electronic devices have been frustrating household energy-saving measures and STBs, even when not in direct use, are no exception. A December 2013 agreement should result in more energy-efficient STBs.

ICT, Energy, and Japan's Earthquake/Tsunami

The Great East Japan Earthquake of March 2011 and its tsunami had a huge impact on the country's ICT infrastructure, much of which is still being felt by businesses and consumers. Here is an update on the information and insights we have collected about data centers, communications networks, e-devices, and other ICT topics.

2013

Global consulting company Accenture announced in March 2013 that it "…has been awarded a contract to create the strategic plan to help develop the University of Aizu Revitalization Center. The plan includes construction of a technology lab on the university campus as well as support for projects focused on rebuilding Fukushima as a technology leader. Accenture’s plan calls for the lab design to begin this year, with construction expected to be completed in the spring of 2015. When completed, the lab will feature a next generation data center, an efficient, high-performance center that will consume about 40 percent less electricity than traditional data centers." Telecom Asia notes that "The Revitalization Center was established to aid recovery of the area following the [earthquake]." A September release from Accenture announces that the company has been awarded a contract work on the design the ICT laboratory, itself.

"Energy Harvesting" Powers Small Wireless Devices

We first noted the potential of "energy harvesting" to power devices without conventional batteries or grid connections a couple of years ago. The latest research shows the "Ambient Energy Harvesters" (AEH) market growing at a CAGR of 17%. The latest technology harvests energy from microwave signals.

'Internet of Things' Will Rerquire More Storage and Bandwidth

We've counted over 17 billion pieces of e-gear attached to the global ICT infrastructure. The 'Internet of Things' will increase this number five-fold by the end of the decade. Can technology keep up with the energy and resource demands?

Greenest Telecom Providers

A number of sustainability rankings in the US and Europe let us take a look at how telecom providers perform compared to each other and to broader tech sectors. Sprint-Nextel is best in the United States. Sprint's take-back program was ranked tops in the US in 2012 and was the only carrier in the top quartile of Greenpeace's 2013 Cool IT Leaderboard. France Telecom, KPN and Vodafone have received consistently good marks with global rankings.

There Are Many Options for Aging ICT Gear

A MarketsandMarkets report says, "The global volume of e-waste generated is expected to reach 93.5 million tons in 2016 from 41.5 million tons in 2011 at a CAGR of 17.6% from 2011 to 2016." Three strategies for dealing with an organization's aging ICT gear are scrap, external reuse, and internal reuse. Internal reuse offers a growing number of increasingly sophisticated options while external reuse is revealing some unintended consequences.

Finding the Greenest Set-top Boxes

The US ENERGY STAR program looks only at energy efficiency and not other sustainability factors. About twenty set-top boxes (STBs) or cable, IP, or satellite from seven manufacturers came in at less than 65W in the program's Total Energy Consumption (TEC) metric. This is a big improvement from two years ago, when our top twenty cut-off was 100W.

Non-Chemical Batteries Emerge for ICT Facilities and Infrastructure

What is a battery? A device to store energy and convert it to electricity on demand? This is an important question as ICT facilities and infrastructure elements increasingly rely on sophisticated battery-based systems such as UPS. Potentially greener alternatives are emerging to chemical batteries, with flywheels appearing to have the most momentum for ITC facilities going into 2013.

Let's start by reviewing the role energy storage devices play in ICT. A 2011 APC white paper lists three applications:

Diesel Generators: ICT's Dirty Component

Belching diesel equipment is not what one imagines when visualizing the Internet and mobile communications. It turns out they play a significant role in ICT's consumption of fossil fuels and emission of GHG.

Finding the Greenest Mobile Phones

We've added newer rankings for mobile and smart phones, but left the original ones below for those looking to reuse an older unit.

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