It's that time of year again to dust of the old crystal ball and put forth some predictions as to what 2009 holds for the world of green technology. Rather than leaving the speculation to myself, however, I once again decided to tap experts at a host of organizations on how they envision green IT evolving in the year to come.
Suffice to say that no one has dismissed the green-tech movement as a mere passing fad. Both economic and political conditions (e.g. President-Elect Obama's vision of a cleaner energy economy) will continue to drive vendors to develop greener wares and organizations across the board to embrace greener practices -- be it in the name of cutting costs, meeting environmental regulations, or simply "doing the right thing."
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Green-tech predictions for 2009 follow:
Robert Aldrich, director of datacenter solutions, Cisco
1. Green in the U.S. market related to IT will be replaced by more concise, definable concepts in the mainstream media, such as energy equivalents.
2. The first generation of IP-based energy management applications will be released from many major IT vendors.
3. IT's consumption profiles will start to be measured under new criteria with teleworking and cloud computing as the next "killer apps" (today's killer app: virtualization).
In summary, I would say that 2009 will see the emergence on a number of sleeper "greenies" who have been doing their homework diligently over the last two years. I firmly believe that many in IT want to do the right thing (in this case, the "right thing" meaning the altruistic thing) but simply lack the time and monetary incentive to do so. The issue is not so much the IT professional per se but the system by which our roles are incentivized.
I think 2009 will be about what I would call Green IT 1.0, and that is "What does Green IT mean to me? What can I do individually, professionally, above and beyond recycling at home, to feel like I'm part of the solution?" In a word, internalization and the realization that a "green" lifestyle is a choice and involves a series of educated trade-offs.
Conversely, a sound focus in a down market is to trim operating expenditure through incremental improvements to infrastructure and operations. With commercial energy market volatility, popular opinion, and geopolitical considerations at hand, the time to examine a sound energy strategy is now.