Top five predictions for Green IT in Asia-Pacific

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This article appeared in the 17 March, 2008 issue of CRN magazine.

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Top five predictions for Green IT in Asia-Pacific
Not far from now, non-Green parts will be assigned end-of-life status and Green legislation will come to impact every single PC manufacturer, according to the IT market researcher. The worldwide market should expect to see longer lead times, parts shortages and rising prices for non-compliant parts over the next two years. Failure to transition products on time could lead to high inventories and dramatic price cuts, similar to the effect that was seen in Western Europe as the RoHS came into effect.

Manufacturers will standardise based on the most stringent legislation and anticipate Green concerns to avoid production problems, as more countries move to adopt such directives. IT vendors are also applying Green standards to their own operations for reasons such as revenue savings, regulations, fear of customer backlash, or just the desire to act like good corporate citizens. On the other hand, while Green computing is on the radar screens of CIOs, it is not primarily motivated by eco-friendliness. The primary motivation is technology’s cost. Currently, corporate buyers are most interested in Green IT products that will help save energy and money.

Every medium- to large-scale enterprise should take three steps with immediate effect.

First, they should create a strategy to reduce the overall carbon footprint of the organisation. Also, they should start to measure the consumption of energy and allocate costs accordingly to respective business managers. And third, they need to apply strong eco-friendly buying criteria to all purchase decisions from this point forward.

Finally, while end-users are becoming aware of a Green push by IT vendors, more needs to be done by everyone within the global IT community to raise consciousness of the cost and environmental benefits of adopting
Green IT.

Springboard Research’s top five predictions for Green IT until end of 2008:

1. Cost savings will drive Green IT investments – Although creating a greener planet will drive some implementations, the primary driver for Green IT adoption in Australia will be the cost savings provided by better energy efficiency. As an illustrative example of how quickly the Green IT consciousness has risen, server virtualisation in 2006 was all about cost savings and efficiency, in 2007, it changed to Green IT as the driver.

2. Regulations become more uniform and stringent – With a change of government, and APEC moving towards the Sydney Declaration on Climate Change, the move towards regulation will become even stronger. This is a start, despite the view of some influencing groups that the declaration is in relative
terms, meaningless.

3. Strong growth in virtualisation and consolidation – A majority of end-user Green IT investment will be directed toward virtualisation and consolidation efforts, which will boost revenues for these solution categories. Springboard Research estimates that in Australia, server virtualisation is accounting for 30 percent of new product acquisitions. The installed base for virtualised servers is estimated to be 15 percent of
this number.

4. Equipment take-back and disposal programs become imperative – IT equipment vendors operating in Australia will increasingly be required by law to provide equipment take- back programs for their customers as has been seen in some developing markets. As some vendors provide these services for free, the providers that do not will stand out.

5. There will be a jostle for leadership in Green IT in Australia – Australian state governments, the federal government and environmentally impacting industries will be the leading Green IT adopters within their own IT operations, and spark broader Green IT investments across other enterprises in Australia.
Initial results from IDC’s ongoing Asia/Pacific Green Poll – end-user surveys assessing the buying behaviour of IT executives with respect to Green IT in the Asia/Pacific region – highlight that awareness and adoption of Green IT does vary a great deal depending on the maturity of the market. However, it is becoming clear across the board that end-users will be expecting vendors to take more responsibility in terms of bringing Green products and services to market as well as improving their own internal Green operations and practices in the future.

According to Philip Carter, head of IDC’s Asia/Pacific Green IT practice, “It is interesting to see that IT executives are expecting vendors to take more responsibility in the area of Green IT. This is validated by the fact that 81 percent of organisations thought that the ‘Greenness’ of their IT suppliers would become ‘much more important’ over the next few years. Today, 18 percent of the organisations surveyed considered the Greenness of the IT suppliers before making a selection and another 30 percent expected to do so in the near future.”
The global information and communications technology (ICT) industry accounts for approximately two percent of global carbon dioxide (CO²) emissions, a figure equivalent to aviation, according to a new estimate by Gartner.

Despite the overall environmental value of IT, Gartner believes this is unsustainable. Gartner analysts examined the impact the ICT industry is having on the environment, as well as the steps the industry should take to become Greener.

Gartner’s estimate of the two percent of global CO² emissions that ICT is responsible for includes the in-use phase of PCs, servers, cooling, fixed and mobile telephony, local area network (LAN), office telecommunications and printers. Gartner has also included an estimate of the embodied (that used in design, manufacture and distribution) energy in large-volume devices, namely PCs and cell phones. It also included all commercial and governmental IT and telecommunications infrastructure worldwide, but not consumer electronics other than mobile phones and PCs.

Gartner recommends IT organisations develop a strategy to address the current negative effects of using ICT. The growth in power requirements and levels of waste that it produces renders the current state unsustainable. Such a strategy would include:

• Start measuring power consumption

• Consume fewer servers and printers by increasing utilisation – virtualise servers

• Stop over-provisioning; improve capacity planning

• Improve the efficiency of cooling

• Turn power management on, use a low power state or turn equipment off after hours

• Extend the life of assets by reusing within the enterprise and externally

• Ensure and validate the correct disposition of all electronic equipment

• Analyse all waste

Once initiatives are in place to reduce the negative effect of using ICT, Gartner recommends IT leaders develop initiatives that leverage ICT to reduce the enterprise’s overall environmental presence.
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