Green is the new sex – in a marketing sense

Yet many ICT users, individual or corporate, are still resistant to the green ideas

Green sells the way sex used to, says John King of Hewlett-Packard, one of the panellists at the last session of Wellington’s Radar 08 conference last week.

Overseas it is already a significant factor in marketing many goods and services, including ICT.

“Every vendor is ticking the boxes” for energy-saving, acceptance of recycled equipment and other environmentally sensitive measures, he says.

Yet many ICT users, individual or corporate, are still resistant to such ideas, even when it is clear they save money. Typically, a substantial ICT installation can halve power simply by studying what they use where and figuring out ways to decrease consumption, says Hamish McNee of Nortel. ICT users overall are using too much power, he says.

Business journalist Rod Oram notes that ICT is a tool to reduce consumption as well as a target. “You can use your IT stuff to help you measure and manage it,” he says.

Asked to identify actions to reduce consumption, emission or pollution, panellists identified virtualisation, attention to existing power-saving features in computer equipment, which are often not fully engaged, and collaboration online to reduce travel.

Rather than prohibiting the more business-oriented “social networking” services such as FaceBook in the office, companies should be giving “unfettered access” to them, says Oram.

Use an internet-capable mobile phone to keep emails at hand and avoid printing them out, advises Ross Taylor of Motorola.

Microsoft’s Jonathan Stuckey adds that green measures should not just be taken within the company; any organisation should attempt to influence its suppliers and partners.

Storage rationalisation was suggested be a significant power saving, says Sandy Leadbeater of EMC.

“Sixty to 70% of data is unchanged for three months or longer” and this could well be sitting on storage more expensive in terms of power consumption than is necessary, he says.

Steve McGinn of Gen-i points to the value of multimedia video-conferencing, but despite it being a well-proven technology it is not yet leading to a trimming of travel budgets. Now is the time to make a push to exploit the technology as an alternative to physical travel, he says.

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