So, whilst scanning my tweet app on Sunday morning I noticed one of my followers had posed a link to this article http://www.greencomputingreport.com/gcr/2013-07-29/linking_academia_and_industry_in_green_it.html
I had to read it a number of times before it made any sense!
I'm going to reproduce the article here in chunks and put my take on the argument with hopefully some answers for the author.
"Having a closer look at the impact of information technology (IT) on our environment, researchers, governments, funding organizations and companies have begun to move in the direction of green IT. But what is green IT? Depending on the research and/or the interest of a group, company, university, etc., there are multiple definitions, some of which take into account only one particular issue like hardware, software, or the cooling system."
We, at Carbon3IT Ltd use the following definition, kindly borrowed by Her Majesty's Government Green Delivery Unit.
"In the following table the different aspects of two partners of a contracted research agreement are shown with the knowledge that some points may be omitted since certain requirements might only occur in special co-operations (special contracts) or in contracts with specific partners (partners being protected by law or dealing with security issues of a country, for example)."
Green IT might start if this company uses water from a body of water to cool the server room, but is this hot water afterwards used for the heating or is it just poured back into the water source, changing the ecological circumstances of the aquatic life? The industry is aware of this hype and as their aim is to gain money, this is already the first difference compared to academic researchers being interested in long-term research and in the contribution to the welfare of the society.
Line L gives another indication for a permanent difficulty in relationships of academia and industry: It is the different funding scheme in some calls and the difficulties for (some) companies in having access to some funding. The rules for open calls are changing regularly. Beside the ongoing business in companies and the current economic difficulties, it is not evident that companies do invest in departments dealing with open calls or that they might pay an external consultant for getting information for their participation in a co-operation in an open call.
There are critical issues in both columns to find, and it is not always the industry blocking the development for a greener society, but also researchers being too far from the real industrial life. There are also the funding organizations with their long procedures and rules for projects making in difficult to include popping up research in the quick changing world of green IT in on-going projects.
This, I have to agree with.
This table is hopefully a first step for a better understanding, giving new ideas for co-operations including these various objectives. The next step will be to model the relationships and the impact of various partners in a project or collaboration by investigating already existing successful co-operations as well as co-operations which failed and the reasons for both.
Excellent, researching the researchers, part of the feedback mechanism.
There needs to be steps toward a greener society, and green IT will surely play an important role. With close co-operation between academia and industry, the opportunities for meaningful change will be magnified. Information technology will make life easier, giving support in various way, but it has to be green IT to be sustainable for future generations.
Green IT is already the platform for a greener society, the internet of things and smart/intelligent cities are already examples of this movement. and we will get there.
To Finish Someone at a conference back in 2010 said that his organisation did not have a defacto "green IT policy" as they believed that they would become greener by default, when questioned further on this he said that as far as they were concerned it was the job of the technology companies to ensure that their equipment was sustainable, energy efficient and green moving forwards and this is very true, but, and its a big but, it is not sufficient to expect someone else to do your job for you, you have to drive the process by demanding from the companies energy efficient, sustainable and green products, you have develop your own "Green IT policy/strategy, you have to manage your systems to use less energy, you have to define and scope your systems to monitor, measure and manage where you can identify further efficiency gains, you have to decide what equipment to buy that can be recycled, reused or dismantled, and this has a cost.
It is up to you whether to adopt the triple line accounting practices of people, plant and profit, where all of the above come into play and I can tell you one thing sooner or later you will be compelled to do it, either through consumer awareness or legislation, so it makes sense to get on the job now.
Alternatively, you can get someone else to do it, or pay the price with falling sales and high tax bills.....over to you!