Green Touch consortium promises major CO2 impact

A consortium led by Bell Labs is aiming to ‘reinvent the network’, making comms technologies a thousand times more energy efficient than they are today, and making a major impact on CO2 emissions worldwide.

The Green Touch group includes companies such as AT&T and China Mobile, academic institutions such as MIT and Stanford and government bodies like the French National Institute for Research in Computer Science. It has issued an open invitation to all other interested parties.

Its target derives from research by Bell Lans indicating that information and communication technology (ICT) networks have the potential to be 10,000 times more efficient then they are today.

“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,” said Vernon Turner, a senior VP at IDC.  “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.”

Green Touch is promising a reference architecture, specifications, technology development roadmap and demonstrations of key components – including entirely new technologies – within five years.

“The role that the ICT sector has to play in meeting ambitious emissions reduction targets is critical and technology is an important tool at its disposal. ICT solutions have the potential to reduce by a factor of five the sector’s own emissions.  This is equivalent to 7.8 GTn CO2, or 15 percent of the total world emissions predicted by 2020,” said Vicente San Miguel, CTO of Telefónica.

The first meeting  will take place in February and will focus on a five-year plan, first-year deliverables, and member roles and responsibilities.