There was a point in time when classrooms had one, maybe two things to plug in – most likely an overhead projector. When teachers were done teaching for the day, it was powered down to make sure electricity was not wasted. Over the years, the number of devices needed per individual has exploded as the Internet of Things becomes a reality. From schools and hospitals to technology companies, the number of things that are plugged in has gone largely unaddressed and has ballooned into the last and largest unmanaged IT expense.

Visibility is key to addressing this issue. It’s unrealistic to expect individuals to power down their devices when not in use. At the same time, we’ve found that a single work place device is left powered on for an average of 8,000 hours over the course of its use but only actually utilized 25-50% of the time

In July 2013, Cisco announced the acquisition of JouleX – a leader in enterprise IT energy management for network-attached and data center assets and a key complementary component to Cisco’s energy portfolio via the EnergyWise offering. We saw that the market for energy management is a growing one, particularly with IT pushing 25-80% of enterprise energy consumption. This has been driven by everything from corporate citizenship and competitive pressures to increasingly regularly requirements and escalating energy prices around the globe. Last week, we held a press roundtable to provide an update following the acquisition and discuss what we’re working on moving forward. Joining us was Schneider Electric – one of our key technology partners in delivering a comprehensive energy solution. We also had two customers join us from the healthcare and education arenas, to discuss how they’ve become greener, more cost-efficient organizations through greater visibility into their energy consumption. Below is a recap of some the challenges they faced and how it was addressed.

Hammond School District Projects 30k in Annual Energy Savings

Mark Hennessee, the district energy manager for the Hammond School District (Indiana, K-12) discussed the energy challenge that his district faced. The classroom landscape now includes smart boards, student workstations, PC labs, and other devices. They need a way to handle all the devices across their network, without disrupting the education process. With a utility expenditure of more than $3.5 million annually and 24 facilities totaling over 3 million square feet (15 elementary schools, 2 middle schools and 4 high schools), there was little insight into how much energy was being consumed on a daily basis.  The JouleX software discovered 1,800 devices were left powered on after hours during the week and 1,200 over the weekend. Working closely with IT and all relevant stakeholders, the level of visibility they ascertained led to policies to power devices down in an intuitive manner and in close consideration of teacher/student needs. The Hammond School district achieved impressive results – 35% less power and an annual projected savings of $31,500.

Dutch Hospital Gains Deep Visibility Into Their IT Environment

Jan Pieter Evenhuis, IT administrator of the Nij Smellinghe Hospital located in the the Northern Dutch town of Drachten was up against a challenging environment. By the very nature of being a hospital, the organization was operation 24 hours a day and it was difficult to manage how often individuals shut off their devices before leaving for the night. With JouleX, Nij gained 100% visibility into their IT environment across all areas of the organization. As a result, they were able to achieve a 30% reduction in their energy consumption. Unexpectedly, the process of implementing the technology raised a level of awareness amongst employees around the importance of energy management. Even though software was in place to power off their devices at night and turn them back on in the morning, they had the added bonus of shifting employee attitudes and behavior.

Leaving Money on the Table

When it comes to energy management, the un-realized savings are substantial. We’ve estimated that with greater visibility into their operations, companies and organizations can reduce energy costs by as much as 60%. This amounts to savings of $24.60 billion, enough to power the city of New York for 5 years! And all this goes beyond printers and computer screens – everything from ATMs to vending machines should be considered. In the Internet of Everything, connectivity will enable great things. Energy is an important next frontier and it’s high time to tackle the last unmanaged IT expense.


Marc Musgrove

Former Director, Internet of Things and Digital Industries PR

No Longer with Cisco