Technology has and will continue to change the way we work, commute, communicate, shop, and live in the future. From complete automation of jobs to living in virtual bubbles, umpteen predictions have been made to help visualize the future of work. While there is no assurance on what the future holds, one thing is guaranteed – it will be driven on the back of robust technology.
The world is evolving as we speak, and as businesses continue to race towards an alluring future, it is very critical to understand the trade-offs. It’s fair to say that the growth of digital technology has had an unprecedented impact on the environment. Climate change is already causing a 1°C rise in global temperature, hence the sustainability quotient of any advancement needs to take centre stage.
With no time to lose, companies must be prepared to address this issue. We must prioritise building strategies and sculpting our entire business approach keeping the environmental impact in mind. We need to figure ways that reduce carbon emissions, improve sustainability, adopt greener practices, and ultimately address the growing climate emergency.
In honour of Earth Day 2021, here are some starting steps that companies can take to begin their rewarding journey towards a more sustainable IT ecosystem:
1. Transition to hyperscale hosted cloud environments
Over the years, a number of companies have chosen to follow a traditional, on-premises set up when it comes to data centres. Although we’ve seen transitions here due to the pandemic, some still rely on existing traditional infrastructure. Corporations need to rethink this and evaluate the efficiency of their current setup. Businesses will soon realize that they can reduce their impact on the environment by transitioning their workload from potentially unstable on-premises data centres to hyperscale hosted cloud services. Not just this, hyperscale hosted cloud services are typically more efficient than traditional on-premise data centres.
Due to the corona outbreak, we’ve seen an exponential rise in demand for technological innovations. As a result, hyperscale service providers are increasingly realising the need to switch to renewable energy sources that reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and create a sustainable approach to data centre computing.
Let’s take a look at Google – the company achieved its 100% renewable energy pledge in 2017, acquiring more clean energy (3GW) than it had consumed that year (2.6GW). To achieve this, they used power purchase agreements (PPAs) to buy and distribute renewable energy that sufficiently covered the consumption of location-based electricity.
2. Legacy end-user devices should become a thing of the past
Many old end-user devices like laptops use a significantly higher amount of computing power than required to perform daily tasks. This may not seem like a huge threat in isolation, but when you consider the number of people using such devices, the period for which they are using them and the cumulative amount of unnecessary energy consumed, the magnitude of the impact this can have on the environment is substantial.
We need to consciously try and enable a shift to more energy-efficient practices like adopting a thin client approach – in which the computing power is performed centrally in the cloud. Businesses should also deploy workspaces that do not require applications and data to reside on endpoint devices. This significantly decreases the organization’s energy demand since it allows customers to transition away from more energy-intensive desktops with large screen displays and high-performance processors, towards more energy-efficient laptops.
3. Flexiworking for a sustainable #futureofwork
The COVID-19 pandemic has altered the way work is done, with remote working benefiting the environment in a large way. In fact, India’s CO2 emissions fell for the first time in four decades amidst the lockdown. With companies looking to make remote/ hybrid work permanent, there will be a lesser need for people to commute, thereby reducing the overall emissions.
Flexiworking will be a critical step to reducing carbon footprint, especially given that the world population is expected to reach 9.7 billion in 2050 and nearly three-quarters of the greenhouse gas emissions come from transport. In addition to this, it will help reduce a lot of paper, power, and plastic usage. In the long run, this will also help plan cities and towns around people and communities rather than creating infrastructure that enables faster commutes for businesses. Since the workforce will be distributed, it will not only open new economic opportunities for people in remote locations but will also dilute the energy pressure on big cities and allow repurposing of extra spaces.
While these are just a few steps, each organization should put in the effort and time to plan their entire operations in a way that has minimum impact on our environment and inspire others to join in. Work is something you do, and not necessarily a place you go to. By embracing such an approach – underpinned by the cloud and in tandem with light, energy-efficient devices – companies will not only reduce their carbon footprint but also benefit from happier staff and improved productivity.
Ravindra Kelkar is the Area Vice President, Indian Sub-continent for Citrix. With sales and business management experience spanning over 24 years, he assumes the responsibility for accelerating and transforming the business in the Indian subcontinent (India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Mauritius and Nepal). Ravindra has been previously responsible for spearheading business growth initiatives for the enterprise, public sector and ITeS vertical along with executing the Citrix cloud strategy for India. Prior to this, he served as VP, business development at Tech Mahindra. The author has also held sales and management leadership roles at Microsoft, Cisco and Novell.
Views of the author are personal and do not necessarily represent the website’s views.
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