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.
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.
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.
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.
Most Green ICT attention focuses on the datacenter. Five years of work consistently holds that datacenters represent a minority of total ICT energy consumption and carbon emissions.
Microgrids - small electricity generation and distribution networks - are becoming an increasingly common way to support ICT in remote areas. What distinguish a true remote ICT microgrid from a locally-powered remote piece of ICT gear like a base station? A microgrid is an integrated network consisting of one or more power generating systems, storage, control electronics and a diverse load. Imagine interconnected solar PV and with diesel generation backup powering not only that base station but also a community charging station for phones and tablets and a school's wireless router. To the extent that ICT microgrids support a significant proportion of renewable generation, they contribute to Green ICT and help bring urgently-needed sustainability to ICT4D. Here is a look at the big picture. Future updates will include implementations.
GSMA's Global Mobile Awards' Green Mobile Awards are for "mobile industry organisations that are focused on the reduction of environmental impacts through eco-friendly, innovative policies, products, programmes or initiatives, as well as organisations outside of the industry that utilise the mobile platform to communicate, innovate or drive eco-friendly programmes, services and initiatives." Here's a look at the 2009-2013 winners and at the trend toward greener mobile base stations.
Hong Kong's Green ICT Awards started in 2011, making them the oldest ongoing Green ICT recognition program* in the Asia-Pacific region. The roster annual winners illustrate the diverse nature of the area's ICT-savvy users and their Green ICT practices.
TV Whites Spaces (TVWS) are portions of the broadcast spectrum that, depending on your perspective, either are valuable unused frequencies or are usefully buffering against adjacent channel interference. The potential for TVWS to deliver wireless services is a major controversy in the United States between the wireless community and the broadcast community. Microsoft and Google are both using Africa to demonstrate the viability of delivering connectivity via TVWS with projects launched in early 2013. Microsoft launched another white spaces project in late 2013.
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.