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Sharing perspectives from TIA Green ICT Bootcamp

Last week here in San Jose, California, the Telecommunication Industry Association based in Washington DC, organized the second in its series of Green ICT Bootcamp (first launched at Supercomm last year). Having been involved in and organized Green ICT sessions over the last 2 years myself, I was curious to see what the focus was about. I was indeed impressed with the work that has TIA has done to further the information flow around Green ICT and its clear focus.

Much of the Green ICT focus has been around compliance to environmental regulations regarding use of toxic chemicals in products, re-usability/recycling and on energy efficiency since many of its members are manufacturers. TIA has the EIA track online where subscribers can be kept informed of environmental legislation and policies that impact their bottom line. They also have an impressive lineup of lawyers who help give legal analysis and perspectives in these documents online. It was clearly pointed out that issues are different for companies that are just interested in compliance and for those who are on the cutting edge of leadership in the industry going over and above the minimum legal requirements.

It was here were things got interesting. The speaker from Juniper shared statistics that showed that customer demand for energy efficiency is strong in Asia and Europe (almost 70%) whereas in the US only 4.5% of customers demand for “green equipment”. I found this to be very startling as “green” has become synonymous with saving OPEX that it would be obvious. Perhaps it is the higher cost of electricity and use of diesel generators such as in Asia that make the business case for green more obvious leading to greater pressure being put on vendors for energy efficiency. In Europe, the European Union Directives have been clearly driving “green” as a vendor selection criteria. In the US, incentives are low and customers are also reluctant to pay for “green” innovation.One speaker suggested that when the rules of economy fail, then policy should play a greater role.  In the US, the new National Broadband Plan does now have a section on environment and energy efficiency- this could shift directions here in the US- worth keeping an eye out for these provisions. Now is the time to be engaged with federal and state regulators and keep informed.

Another interesting issue that brought some heated discussion was over standards. Since there are no clear uniform standards to compare energy efficiency of equipment, telecom companies are beginning to set up their own standards and scorecards which vendors have to comply with. Verizon for example, is experiencing about $2M in savings by insisting on their own scorecard metrics and have no incentive to wait for common industry standards. Whilst there have been some efforts to consolidate standards across industry, there seems to be dispute over choice of forum (ATIS, ITU versus other fora) and their speed in delivering common standards. To avoid inefficiencies, however, in the long run there is an urgency for some consolidation and cooperation. In the interim, what we will face is more “Greenwashing” and confusion over how to compare these various energy efficiency claims.

The session ended with some interesting perspectives over new business opportunities and some discussion helping to put “smart grid” into perspective. Overall it was an interesting day and the videos of the sessions will soon be posted online on the TIA website.

This article was posted on Thursday, March 25th, 2010 at 1:06 am You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
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