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Digital Sustainability Is Sustainability. Period.

2020-01-14 156
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In the 21st century, business has to be digital if it is to abide.

From direct-to-consumer ecommerce activity, to the vast amounts of data generated and waiting to be mined, digital tools must be wielded — not only for business to thrive, but simply to survive.

“Digitally determined companies spend 23% less across all functional budgets … annually than their digitally distraught counterparts,"1 according to Shawn Fitzgerald, Worldwide Digital Transformation Strategies practice leader at IDC Insights. Less overall spend, but allied to financial returns that are abundantly clear: a 43% boost in revenue and substantially increased profits.2

But digital sustainability — the digital transformation of enterprise infrastructure — is not only about business profitability.

The Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI) — of which Huawei is a member — asserts that “ICT has the potential to enable a 20% reduction of global CO2e emissions by 2030 … and to effectively decouple economic growth from emissions growth.”3

The World Economic Forum agrees: “digitalization could produce benefits for society that equal, or even surpass, the value created for industry”.4


On an operational level, Internet of Things (IoT) technology can help reduce costs of Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) in office spaces, using smart sensors to optimize settings.

Elsewhere, in stores and warehouses, the technology can help regulate temperatures in costly to run refrigeration units, maximizing efficiency.

In the factory, sensors can be back-fitted to legacy manufacturing equipment to intelligently optimize operations as well as predict potential faults — such preventive maintenance translates into huge savings, slashing production line downtime.

City-wide, IoT-equipped traffic lights can help analyze traffic flow big data and adjust waiting times accordingly, making commuting more efficient, cutting time spent idling and, with it, emissions.

Local and national infrastructure can be similarly streamlined. Smart metering of the electricity grid better matches supply and demand, also helping to eliminate line loss. Indeed, “IT-enabled smart grids can potentially save 6.3 billion MWh of electricity and reduce global emissions by 1.8 gigatons (Gt) carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) by 2030.”5

And data centers themselves can be optimized to deliver greater Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE). More efficient cooling also greatly reduces energy requirements, reducing costs.

And there’s more.

In the home and on the road; in the classroom and on the subway; in hospitals and doctors’ offices and even at the airport.

As we move towards building a fully connected, intelligent world, we discover that digital sustainability is also sustainability. Period.



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