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Green Touch aims to make ICT 1,000 times more energy efficient

New consortium of research organisations looks to cut energy consumption of communications networks

Green Touch aims to make ICT 1,000 times more energy efficient
The initiative aims to develop new technologies or improve existing ones to realize a 1,000-fold reduction in power consumption by ICT networks.

A new global consortium of ICT corporate, academic and government research labs today announced a plan to make communications networks one thousand times more energy efficient than they are today.

The Green Touch consortium, which is headed by Bell Labs, aims to reduce the energy consumption of communications technologies, to control energy usage as the uptake of such technologies continues to grow exponentially, driving up power usage in turn.

A thousand-fold reduction is equivalent to powering all of the world's existing communications networks, including the Internet, for three years on the same energy as used to run them for just one day at present.

The thousand times reduction is based on research by Bell Labs which predicts that networks have the potential to be up to 10,000 times more efficient than now, based on what the company says is an analysis of the fundamental properties of ICT networks and technologies based on established scientific formulas.

Vernon Turner, senior vice president and general manager for Enterprise Computing, Network, Consumer, Telecom and Sustainability at IDC said: "With the boom in broadband usage, ICT energy consumption is rapidly increasing and immediate steps need to be taken to address this trend and mitigate its impact.

"What distinguishes the Green Touch Initiative is its commitment to a hugely ambitious yet quantifiable goal that is rooted in hard science. Its global profile and multi-disciplinary approach will accelerate the necessary fundamental rethinking and development of new technologies," he added.

The consortium has already gained support from a number of corporations, academic institutions and governments, including AT&T, China Mobile, Portugal Telecom, Swisscom, Telefonica, MIT, Research Laboratory for Electronics (RLE), Stanford University's Wireless Systems Lab (WSL), the University of Melbourne's Institute for a Broadband-Enabled Society (IBES), the CEA-LETI Applied Research Institute for Microelectronics (Grenoble, France), imec (Headquarters: Leuven, Belgium), The French National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Control (INRIA)

Industrial Labs: Bell Labs, Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology (SAIT), and Freescale Semiconductor.

The initiative aims to develop a reference network architecture and demonstrate key components, based on either existing technology, or technology developed by the consortium, within a five year time scale.

Gee Rittenhouse, vice president of research at Bell Labs and consortium lead commented: "Over the next decade billions more people will upload and share video, images and information over public and private networks as we communicate with each other in new, rich ways. We also expect ICT usage to dramatically increase as other industries use networks to reduce their own carbon footprints. This naturally leads to an exponential growth in ICT energy consumption which we, as an industry, have to jointly address. This consortium is unique in looking way beyond making incremental efficiency improvements and tapping into innovation and expertise from around the globe to achieve fundamental breakthroughs in ICT carbon emissions reduction."

The consortium has also issued an open invitation to all interested companies and organisations to join, ahead of a first planned meeting in February, where the five year plan will be established.

For more information see http://www.greentouch.org/

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