While much of the talk here at Orange Business Live 09 has been about saving costs in a tough economic climate, Green IT is still bubbling under, with a certain amount of cross-over between the two meaning that is possible to be both green and cost-conscious.
Topics drawing the most interest included server virtualisation, data centre energy efficiency, and video collaboration. Rising oil prices will affect the cost of power and air travel, which can be offset by the deployment of new technologies, and can in-turn bring productivity benefits -- looking like an all-round "win/win".
Sonny Reid, Global Network Director for electrical components company Legrand, noted that the deployment of audio and video conferencing technology is expected to lead to a 10% reduction in the company's travel CO2 output, and that figure may well turn out to be conservative. But Reid also pointed out that these "green" credentials have come as something of a side benefit for what was started out as a cost-reduction exercise -- travel costs have also been significantly reduced as a result of the use of conferencing technology.
David Metcalfe, Chief Executive Officer of research firm Verdantix, noted that "climate, energy and regulatory trends make sustainability a competitive issue", and that "leading firms innovate on sustainability today, to ensure a strong and strategic position in 2012". The fact that it is possible to save costs while remaining green may mean that companies will become more environmentally-friendly by stealth, with Metcalfe stating that the 2009-2011 period will be characterised by "incremental changes".
According to a matrix assessing the green credentials of various telcos, "Orange leads the market on solutions because it has invested in extensions to existing products and services".
Some video from the event featuring Sonny Reid is in the pipeline.