ACEEE "Intelligent Efficiency"
Communications technology promises big returns for investments in automating energy systems.
A webinar I attended sponsored by the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) brought new ideas to mind for enterprise infrastructure along with new approaches to battling energy costs. ACEEE is now promoting "intelligent efficiency" over device efficiency for greater savings and ROIs.
Intelligent efficiency is defined by the ACEEE as, "A systems based, holistic approach to energy savings, enabled by information and communication technology and user access to real-time information." The ACEEE also said that, "Intelligent efficiency differs from component energy efficiency in that it is adaptive, anticipatory and networked."
According to the ACEEE the US has realized energy savings through device efficiency, and a significant potential still remains. But an even greater opportunity exists by using a systems approach to energy efficiency. Key companies that presented during the webinar were Intel, Johnson Controls, Opower, Schneider Electric and Verizon.
The impact of making IT efficient is 2% of the savings opportunity, but then compare this to the 98% opportunity by using Information Communications Technology (ICT) in a systems approach to implement intelligent efficiency, and the potential is impressive. Clay Nesler, Vice President, Global Energy & Sustainability at Johnson Controls, illustrated how they helped the owners of the Empire State Building in New York achieve 38% savings in energy costs with an ROI of just 3 years using intelligent efficiency.
Review the slides:
* Technology for the Environment
* Intelligent Efficiency
* The Cloud as an Energy Efficient Driver
* Device vs System Efficiency
The energy efficiency implications are convincing, with the potential to drive down costs and optimize energy use and achieve ROI in 3 years. WiFi and bandwidth are needed along with secure access to and from the systems implemented. A concern mentioned in the webinar is privacy in the consumer sector, and of course commercially, the ongoing concern is security.
WiFi endpoints will increase for several reasons. First, the cost of wired infrastructure isn't declining and the size of cable to the desktops isn't getting smaller but in fact substantially larger. BYOD is also contributing to WiFi usage. Then, industry verticals such as health care are increasing WiFi and vWLAN adoption with implementation of Electronic Medical Records (EMR).
More WiFi can also enhance the potential to avoid cellular carriers that nail users for both data usage and cell calls. A post on Gigaom tells the story: Sorry, carriers, 9 out of 10 tablets sold are Wi-Fi.
While carriers are banking on new bundled family data and voice sharing plans to capture a higher ARPU (Average Revenue Per User), I think WiFi usage will continue to grow because data usage (data demand) doesn't tend to go down; also, costs for 3G/4G/LTE-equipped tablets remain high and the thinking, "Why pay for phone services when I can get free WiFi?" will remain as a pushback against cellular carriers interested in only raising their ARPU.
Getting back to energy efficiency, the intelligent efficiency as defined by ACEEE removes an amount of human touch through a systems approach, meaning technology is taking on a role in managing energy and making automated decisions. This approach will increase WiFi endpoints for M2M communications because it's fast, available and often easier and cheaper than adding more wiring infrastructure.
I've thought for some time that energy is going to be the next wave; and according to the ACEEE, energy and ICT are ideal partners to deliver that next big wave more efficiently and with a great return. I hope you check out the slides on the next page.