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Sustainability at the World Mobile Congress

Today I attended the World Mobile Congress “Moving to a Sustainable Green Future” seminar. This was very interesting and here is a brief summary of what was discussed.
The first panelist to speak was Elaine Weidman, vice president of Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility at Ericsson (News - Alert). She talked extensively about the Global e-Sustainability Initiative, or “GeSI,” an advocacy group and think-tank for green information and communications technology, both applications of ICT in the greater problem of sustainability and the best practices for clean ICT. She also discussed the Smart 2020 report which outlines how ICT can have a very positive impact on reducing carbon emissions. According to this report, there are in particular five areas where information technology can have a particularly positive impact on sustainability; these are listed below together with their impact on reducing CO2 emissions by 2020:
ICT Solution
CO2 Emissions Reduction(Giga Tons)
Smart Grids
Smart Motors
Smart Buildings
Smart Logistics
Dematerialization (virtual vs physical meetings, Telepresence (News - Alert), etc)
This represents approximately a 15 percent reduction in carbon emissions compared to 2007 and it is estimated that the whole ICT industry will create around 2 percent CO2 emissions in 2020, so clearly and according to this report the benefits outweigh the sustainability costs.
The next speaker, Eric F. Ekern of the Telenor (News - Alert) Group, an MNO with over 174 million mobile subscribers, stated that Telenor was committed to GSMA's Green Mobile Manifesto of reducing CO2 and energy consumption by 40 percent by the year 2020. They plan on doing this by:
·         Optimizing base stations for energy consumption and going off-grid with 90 percent solar and 10 percent diesel
·         Cutting down on their own travel and transport costs
·         Committing more to recycling
They believe that the biggest impact that they can have on a sustainable future will be through enabling Dematerialization as described above and even more important through offering M2M smart energy management solutions as a service. For Telenor, M2M and smart energy management spans every smart grid area and includes communications enabling a Smart City for things like optimizing traffic for energy efficiency.
The next speaker was Tom Craig, director of Vodafone (News - Alert) Global Business Services.
Vodafone also committed to The Green Mobile Manifesto and is aiming to reduce its CO2 emissions by more than 40 percent by 2020. As well, it sees 13 opportunities for itself in contributing to greater sustainability and these services can be grouped into the following categories:
·         Dematerialization – telepresence, virtual offices and generally cutting the need for transport and travel.
·         M2M for smart grid – transmission and distribution sensors and unlike the United States, since distributed generation is more of a reality in Europe, mobile M2M makes sense for the consumer facing grid since this level of precision and bandwidth is needed for smart meters that enable a two way grid.
·         Smart cities – again managing other elements of a cities infrastructure like water, gas, traffic and the more general picture of managing energy efficiency
I will summarize the other smart grid related news I have from Mobile World Congress in the next couple of blog entries, in specific, on networks powered by alternative energy and M2M.

Shidan Gouran is co-founder of Intelligent Communications Partners (News - Alert) (ICP), a strategic advisory consultancy focused on the emerging Smart Grid opportunity. To read more of his Smart Grid articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Kelly McGuire

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