For some time, I have been somewhat puzzled by how quiet Cisco and some of the giant networking and telecommunications companies have been about their green intentions. Especially considering the fact that telcos supposedly account for something like 4 percent of the energy usage here in the United States. But Cisco Chairman and CEO John Chambers showed up at the first Connected Urban Development (henceforth CUD) Global Conference today to talk about how the company will position some of its newer technologies as aids in the green movement.
Before I continue, I should disclose that I am involved with some strategic communications consulting with one Cisco organization, which has nothing to do with this particular news item. Also, this post will push back by one day my update on the agenda of the Information Technology Industry Council. Because I can't handle two posts today.
The CUD event was sponsored by Cisco and the city and county of San Francisco, and apparently more than 100 cities were represented. During his keynote, Chambers talked about the specific things that Cisco is doing in the area of the environment and about why his company is focusing so much attention on the impact of green technology on urban environments. He cites statistics suggesting that urban areas are the largest culprits when it comes to global energy consumption. Specifically, according to U.N. Habitat, 20 mega-cities around the globe with populations of more than 10 million EACH collectively account for 75 percent of the world's power consumption.
One project outlined by Chambers is "The Connected Bus" in San Francisco, which has a mobile hot spot onboard that lets you work while you're riding.
Two other examples are the "Personal Travel Assistant," which may be piloted in Seoul, Korea. The service would let commuters make day-to-day decisions about their commuting options based on a variety of schedule, financial and environmental factors. It's supposed to work, also, with your mobile phone. The final idea is called "Smart Work Centers, "which is being "embraced" by Amsterdam. The idea is that people could work closer to their homes rather than commuting into the city. You could imagine that things like Cisco's Telepresence solution (which lets you conduct vide0-voice-data conferences) would be at the heart of such a facility.
Here's a link to the full text of Cisco's press release touting the event. An archived edition of the webcast from the event is supposed to be here, but it wasn't live the last time I checked on Wednesday afternoon. Finally, there are some additional articles about Cisco's actual work in several cities here.
Since I feel green IT comes in two flavors: Greener versions of existing products AND products that help you lead a greener work- and life-style, I like what Cisco has to say. I'd like to hear more about how it's addressing data center power consumption for its equipment, but we'll save that one for another post.