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Steps towards energy efficient networking

As a follow up to my last blog, I’m happy to say that ATIS has taken the final step in publishing a groundbreaking standard for networking energy efficiency. For those who like the details: I’m referring to the newly published American National Standard ATIS-0600015.03.2009 — which most people know as Telecommunication Equipment Energy Efficiency Reporting (TEER). In the meantime, the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Focus Group on climate completed a successful meeting in Hiroshima and is making excellent progress towards international standards for energy conservation in networks, and there’s movement in EPA to include networking products in their excellent Energy Star program. I’m proud to say that Cisco people are major contributors to these industry wide initiatives and I think these will be important milestones on the road to improved energy efficiency.Metrics are an important part of our drive towards energy savings, but we also need to look at where they fit into the bigger picture. Read More »

Too Little Too Late: Airline Chases after TelePresence

In a further sign of trouble for the airline industry, British Airways recently announced the “Face of Opportunity” contest to rescue the high-margin business trip. Entrants can win a free trip to London (presumably in business class, though this is not stated) and attend a “networking event” with captains of the industry if they can persuade the judges that what they could accomplish given the chance to have face-to-face meetings abroad is sufficiently compelling.Supporting their hypothesis is a soon-to-be-published report by the Harvard Business Review that notes that 95% of respondents in their survey agree that face-to-face meetings are key to success in building long-term building relationships, while 87% agree that face-to-face meetings are essential for “sealing the deal.” The report further notes that face-to-face meetings “were seen as the most effective method for conducting business with key stakeholders, compared with videoconferences, teleconferences, and webinars.” Read More »

Dissolving Distance; or, How to Go on an Energy Diet

You think swapping your SUV for a Prius will save the world? Think again, says Peter Tertzakian, the guy who coined “energy break point” in his first best-seller. Last month, he launched his latest book, The End of Energy Obesity, and argued, among other things, that energy efficiency (Prius vs. SUV) and energy consumption (total number of cars) are two very different things.Since humans associate comfort with more energy consumption, we tend toward supply-side answers: finding renewable resources, creating more efficient forms of oil extraction, etc. Demand emerges, and supply materializes through some combination of human ingenuity and luck. But we have more power (as it were), Tertzakian argues, by curbing demand—instead of simply replacing incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs, why not use fewer lights instead? At some point, we won’t be able to find new sources of energy fast enough, we’ll max out on efficiency improvements, and we’ll be forced to conclude, along with all reluctant dieters: consume less. Read More »

The Event “Triple Crown”: You Can Be Greener, More Effective and Happier

Cisco recently hosted its annual Strategic Leadership Offsite where about 3,000 members of Cisco’s leadership team gather to prepare for our upcoming fiscal year. Typically we get together in a place like Monterey, Calif., or San Francisco. It’s always a good time and an important milestone in aligning Cisco’s leaders around our key priorities for the next year. This year, owing to the challenging economic times, we at Cisco decided to host this strategic gathering virtually and eliminate all travel. We were nervous that a virtual event would be less compelling and motivational, especially during these uncertain times. As it turns out, these concerns were unfounded. In fact, we learned that you achieve equal or better results virtually. And of course, going virtual had a dramatic impact on how green this event would be. Read More »

Smart Loads lead to Smart Grids

imageWhy do we have a power ‘Grid’ at all?Simple…to be more productive. Energy fuels our industry, our industries fuel our economies. After we saw the first massive spikes in industrial productivity from this new thing called electricity, we were hooked and the ‘Grid’ began. Our post-wattage days have been blissful until now. Now we are seeing limits where none were before. So, what to do.We apply the same ingenuity and management to Watts as we do to Packets. That is Cisco’s technical approach to what is otherwise a social construct; Green. Reduce Watts, and in turn reduce carbon through Smart Loads. With that, the utilities that provide us with our Watts will be able to use the same technologies used to control the “business” side of energy. There will be a lag but when people talk Smart Grid today it can mean many things. Basic Ethernet connectivity may be one.If you want to geek out on how things are coming along here at Cisco on energy tech, have a listen to a recent interview I was privileged to provide. Its a discussion with John Gilroy of Federal News Radio 1500AM in Washington, DC.John runs a great show and we really engaged on some meaty bits, you can play as a URL or download as a podcast… Read More »