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Does Your Network Have the Right Stuff to Support a Serious Sustainability Thrust?

High energy prices are great! Before you call for my head, let me finish. Nothing is a louder call-to-action than skyrocketing costs. And the action is heating up (Pardon the pun!) in both our personal and professional lives. Stay-at-home vacationing is up. Hybrid car sales are up. Alternative heating system sales are up. Telecommuting is up. Web conferencing is up. Video conferencing is up. And the increased interest across all these fronts is accelerating related innovation. So yes-from bad comes good.Within your organization, you’re almost certainly seeing decreased daily office occupancy and increased demand for telecommuting support. You’re almost certainly seeing decreased air travel and increased use of remote collaboration tools. You’re witnessing changes that are good for your workers, your business, and your world. Of course, this new”virtual” business environment pushes the network to the front and center in our fight to reduce the energy costs and environmental impact of your organization. Is your network ready for this challenge? Read More »

Taking the Grey out of Green

You Can’t Manage What You Can’t MeasureWith all the hype in the media today it is difficult to weed through the noise to determine what individual steps we can take to shift our global community to more sustainable models. That is the what. Equally confusing is identifying where one can have the most impact with the least disruption, risk and cost. And last, how can we do it.If we assume that going “Green” is an individual choice and business choice by extension, then there is of course a need for education as most of us have grown up not really thinking about the broader impacts of our daily activities. Now that globalization is in full swing on many fronts, ecologic considerations can more easily become just another set of columns in the spreadsheet. After all, accounting for the long-term costs of environmental degradation through poor resource management is fairly straightforward. The challenge to date is that without standardized measures for these costs, an unacceptably high degree of subjective valuation exists.Now if you agree with the majority of the global scientific community that global climate change is the preeminent threat to global stability and quality of life, let us consider energy and the emissions that correlate. image Read More »

Guilt-Free AND Green with TelePresence

Like many of you, I joined the airborne migration of millions of people to visit family over the holidays. I flew to London from Portland, Oregon, emptying my frequent flier account to upgrade to business class, the better to accommodate the extra heft and bulk of being over seven months pregnant.Did I feel guilty? Absolutely. According to the online TRX calculator, my little jaunt across continent and pond emitted 2.33 metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, equivalent to the entire annual carbon contribution of a citizen of Botswana. But I’d also feel guilty if I didn’t go-cue the internal dialogue involving the words,”family”,”holidays”,”ailing grandmother,” etc.Further appeasing my conscience was the aircraft: a Boeing 767 outfitted with the latest”lie-flat” business class seats, six abreast in a row, complete with personal 17″ flat screen monitors and a massage chair worthy of a posh nail salon. My seatmate was a voluble fellow I’ll call Jeff, father of three, intrepid first-time international traveler.”œA good thing,” I thought,”that we can’t all travel like this regularly-we’d never sell another Cisco TelePresence unit.” Read More »

Making the Move from Near-Term Efficiencies to Sustainable Efficiencies

A couple times a year, I assess and try to get rid of the ‘stuff’ that seems to accumulate in my life. When I look at just how much clutter I’ve yet to get rid of, now-defunct laptops, disk drives, and cell-phones fall into my line of vision. Sure, we’re supposed to recycle the gear. That goes without saying. But does that really happen as it should? According to Gartner, only 44 percent of PCs entering the secondary market will be reused. In today’s economy we need to think about the big picture, the total cost—and impact—of ownership. It’s no longer about the cost of a single phone, laptop, or disk. We need to consider the overall value and utility of the device or service so we’re not spending unnecessarily and churning out landfill. The same is true when it comes to the enterprise. We need to shift our focus from near-term efficiencies to sustainable efficiencies.If you’re being talked into a green switch, you need to do a reality check: Is it upgradeable? Will it need to be replaced in a year or so? Is it being marketed by vendors that may not even be in business next year? A focus on point power utilization, without taking into account the TCO of the network--including cooling and ongoing support costs and overall functionality, which might even enable greater efficiencies--is like driving many miles out of your way to buy cheap gas. It’s short-sighted. Read More »

The Green Backbone for Climate Change

“The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we had when we created them.” EinsteinimageIn the 1990s, we watched the Internet change the standard of living around the world and I’ve always believed that our industry could have a huge impact on the environment and climate change as well. The recent Smart 2020 Report by The Climate Group says that Information Communications Technology (ICT) could have a 22 percent reduction in global Greenhouse Gas (GhG) emissions by 2020. That’s more than the annual emissions of the U.S. or China! Over the next century, the network will be the green backbone that enables innovative solutions to global environmental challenges.Today, people no longer have to take planes, trains or automobiles to meet in person to get things done. Many of us are now riding the Internet to work and using new Web 2.0 collaboration tools like Unified Communications, TelePresence and Webex to get our jobs done anywhere, anytime and anyplace. These technologies are bringing together people from all over the world, with diverse views, and a singular passion for solving problems like climate change in new ways. It’s this combined power of collaboration and innovation that will create the most sustainable impact on climate change. Read More »