Enterprise needs 'holistic,' not 'incremental,' approach to green tech

Written by Andrew Nusca, Contributor

When it comes to adopting green technology, the enterprise needs a "holistic," rather than "incremental," approach, said Jim Elliott, vice president of memory marketing at Samsung Semiconductor.

In a presentation yesterday at the Time Warner Center in New York City, Elliott said the industry is in need of a shot of "disruptive" innovation, and explained the myriad limits businesses face in manufacturing and adopting green technology.

Consumers aren't willing to pay much of a premium for green tech -- though geography plays a part, with Seattle residents willing to pay more than other markets, for example -- and that a break even point with traditional technology must come quickly for the green solution to be successful, he said.

"The products themselves must perform," Elliott said. "Green itself cannot supersede [the product]."

Elliott compared the progression of green technology to the implementation of green initiatives in the auto industry, comparing a "holistic" approach, such as Toyota's Prius, or an "incremental" approach, such as that company's Camry Hybrid. By comparing sticker price to miles per gallon rating and lifetime cost, the holistic approach accomplishes more for less, Elliott said.

The same lesson can be applied to the enterprise, Elliott said.

"There are 12 million servers out there that are more than four years old," Eliott said, showing off Samsung's plans to scale DRAM to 1.35V DDR3 for a 40 percent reduction in power, as well as its new solid-state drive offerings for servers. "This represents a tremendous opportunity."

Another way to use green technology to help the bottom line is through shipping efficiency and power management, said David Critchley, worldwide marketing manager for Lenovo's T-Series of notebook computers.

Lenovo used 2.2 million lbs. of post-consumer waste in 2008, and has eliminated mercury, arsenic and PVC from its new PCs, Critchley said. Power management is also a goal for the company, he said.

A standard computer left on all the time uses 746 kwh per year, while a refrigerator in that same year uses 500 kwh, he said, referencing U.S. Environmental Protection Agency statistics.

The company has also redesigned ThinkPad packaging to allow a 20 percent volume reduction, which means Lenovo can save on shipping costs by fitting 60, rather than 42, units on a pallet, Critchley said.

Finally, Samsung Semiconductor vice president of LCDs, Scott Birnbaum, demonstrated the company's development in OLED "PenTile" Matrix displays, which extend the traditionally short life of high-power OLED displays.

"I'm going to show you how green can be sexy," he said with a smile.

Since consumers are asking for bigger, wider, brighter displays -- be it on their televisions, computers or mobile phones -- power efficiency is paramount, he said.

Birnbaum showed off his company's advancements in backlight technology, which powers down or powers up areas of the screen in a strategic attempt to conserve power in, for example, dark areas of the screen.

"We're bringing the nit-level down in places and turning it up in places," he said. "It saves power and you get a higher contrast picture."

Birnbaum also demonstrated the company's "3D telepresence" technology for businesses, which can allow videoconferencing between two meeting rooms to be more natural -- allowing participants to walk around the conference room freely -- with the help of a wall-sized 82-in. display.

Green technology is as much about innovation as improvement, he said.

"This is very much a green world we're living in," Birnbaum said. "Samsung wants to make it as green as possible."

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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