Green ICT for Sustainable Consumption in Europe: Experts Explore Potentials and Trends

In January, more than 50 professionals from 20 countries across Europe, the US and Australia discussed in Vienna at the event “Green ICT for Sustainable Consumption?” how ICT can increase energy and resource efficiency and make consumption more sustainable. 
Modern Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) can have a great influence on shaping a more sustainable world. The mega-trends Cloud Computing and Smart Systems in the areas of energy, transport and housing, have the potential to substantially reduce environmental impacts and, thus, green Europe’s future. The time to adjust the future development of these technologies is now, say Europe’s leading ICT- specialists.

Towards a European Cloud Computing Strategy

Cloud computing represents a paradigm shift away from today’s decentralised IT systems. It is already transforming providers of IT services and it will change the way other industrial sectors provision their IT needs as end users, as well the way citizens interact with their computer and their mobile devices. Cloud computing, although in its early days, is already a commercial reality and the adoption rate of cloud computing services is growing.
 
The EU needs to become not only cloud friendly but cloud active to fully realise the benefits of cloud computing. Besides allowing for the provision of cloud computing in its various forms, the relevant environment in the EU has to address the needs of the end users and protect the right of citizens. At the same time, it should allow for the development of a strong industry in this sector of Europe.

Cloud computing – a green opportunity or climate change risk?

Cloud computing has its benefits – but as data centres are often in remote locations are they dangerously prone to the effects of climate change? Cloud computing enables users to to share resources and carry out tasks remotely. Rather than using your own local PCs or servers to do the work, you connect to a remote data centre, often provided by an IT services or software company. It means more computing is migrating to purpose-built data centres.
From a low carbon perspective it’s no bad thing. Data centres tend to be more energy efficient than individual servers distributed around an organisation and, while there is still vast room for improvement, many companies are working to make their computing facilities more energy efficient. Software and IT services suppliers, for example, have been vying to be seen as the greenest provider – apart from the PR value there is a great deal of money to be saved in greater energy efficiency.

More information about the full article on the Guardian

Green Internet and Cyber-Infrastructure – Japan to build massive cloud infrastructure for e-government

The Kasumigaseki Cloud the name of a Japanese project that plans to build a massive cloud computing infrastructure to support all of the government’s IT systems  from now until 2015. The goal of the project consolidate all government IT systems into a single cloud infrastructure to improve operation efficiency and reduce cost. 
This initiative is one of nine action points set forth by the Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications to stimulate growth of the industry in Japan. 
Additional proposals were put forth to develop and implement ubiquitous Green ICT solutions, including initiatives like the Kasumigaseki Cloud, boost ICT human resources, and the creation of “safe and secure networks” for the public.

Cloud Computing will generate 14 Million Jobs By 2015

According to a recent article published
by the Forbes Magazine, Cloud computing will potentially
generate at least 14 million new jobs across the globe within the next three
years. Moreover, these new jobs may likely be in many areas outside of IT.
Those findings come from new research
conducted by International Data Corporation (IDC)
 and sponsored by Microsoft Corp.,
looking at the economic benefits of cloud computing in the years ahead. A
couple of months back, a Microsoft-underwritten study by the London School of
Economics projected substantial job growth in two industries: smartphones and
aerospace.

iCloud Insecurity

Security is — or at least should be — a concern of everyone roaming the Internet. It is one thing to have to protect oneself from malicious hackers, dishonest merchants, and, sometimes, one’s own naivité. What we shouldn’t have to do, however, is protect ourselves from those who maintain they are providing services in our own best interests. Yesterday an article appeared in 20 Minutes Online that reveals just how insecure Apple’s iCloud is.
According to Apple’s terms and conditions, they can not only look at your data, they can also use it in ways other than you intended and they even demand the right to pass this data on to third-parties without your knowledge. This is bad enough for private users, but think about all the unwitting business people who due to lack of organizational resources perhaps (for example, small or medium-sized businesses who have to rely on commercially available services for inter-connectivity) have decided to use this technology to make themselves more effective in our increasingly global world. These conditions are reason enough to avoid Apple at any rate. Of course, to be fair, Google isn’t any better.
There are deeply rooted data-protection issues that need to be addressed, not just at the organizational, but more vigorously at the political level. The Internet can be an exciting, helpful, and effective tool, for everyone, but not as long as some folks think they deserve more rights than others.

Cloud computing entering the job descriptions of a range of non-IT positions

The last findings from Wanted Analytics show an enormous surge of cloud computing-related hiring over the last three months of 2011. During this time, employers and staffing firms placed more than 10,000 job ads that included requirements for cloud computing skills and experience. More than 2,400 companies posted job ads during this 90-day period and hiring demand grew 61% year-over-year.

Computer Specialists and Programmers are most commonly required to have cloud computing experience. However, as cloud-based software increasingly impacts additional areas of business, other fields are more commonly required to understand and work with cloud-based applications. Other jobs that most often include these skills in job ads include Marketing Managers, Sales Managers, Customer Service Representatives, and Cargo and Freight Agents.

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Digital trends 2011 on Cloud Coputing and Green ICT

The Hellenic Professionals Informatics Society (HePIS), and the Council of European Professionals Informatics Society (CEPIS) are co-hosting Digital Trends 2011, the first Forum in Greece to encourage dialogue on the contribution of the ICT sector to economic growth, increased productivity, the advancement of a creative digital culture, the adoption of ‘Green’ and ‘Cloud’ practices and the strengthening of the overall role of industry professionals’ within the business community. The event will be held in Athens, on 5 December 2011.

The main issues to be adressed are:

– « Green » practices, business benefits and migration plans

– The ‘business case’ of cloud computing and its corporate value

– How do Cloud Computing and Green ICT change the way ICT departments operate?

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Jobs of the future, Microsoft Training and certifying for the Cloud

It has become common to hear about new digital technologies, such as the transition to the “Cloud”, but we do not have to forget about the necessity of qualified people able to manage this kind of technologies.
Don Field, Senior Director of Microsoft Certification programs, talks about the exciting new opportunities that these technologies hold for SME’s and large businesses and the turning point that training platforms can make to equip a well prepared workforce. (Video)

It is important to think ahead and anticipate trends in the workplace in order to prepare the next generation and steer current employees for their future jobs. Microsoft certifications are plotted against a skills roadmap , incorporating new skills for the cloud, that match developments in industry to talent pools. People that have validated skills that are transferable across industries and across boundaries will play a significant role in Europe meeting its goals for 2020.

Cloud computing, transforming the game in Europe?

Cloud computing has all the ingredients of a true revolution in the way business, governments and individuals handle information. Yet, contrary to most of the revolutions that preceded it, it lacks the ability to provide a real object that would symbolize it. The invention of the printing press produced books, then came automobiles, telephones, televisions, transistors, computers. All could be seen, touched and visualized. Cloud computing has to do with invisible flows (data) and processes because it is independent from the equipment and platforms it involves therefore it is much more difficult to describe, explain, and promote.
A perfect storm?

It is becoming clear that all organizations adopting (or considering to adopt) the cloud, whether public or private, acknowledge this technology as a tool for better management. In other words, cloud computing is not just regarded as a way to cut costs and access new resources and processes, but also as a transformative tool by which business strategies, business models, competition and innovation can be improved and qualitatively changed.

Europe, and the skills challenge

Identifying and mastering the most profitable aspects of cloud computing will require the development of specific skills at all levels of public and private organizations. Such skills will include for example the ability to think strategically across platforms, sectors and functions. It will also include a distinct capacity to identify new opportunities by which existing comparative advantages can be leveraged through cloud computing. This calls for innovative and curious minds that are able to spot relevant experiences from other firms, other sectors and other countries.

Can European businesses and public entities identify and mobilize such skills in the short run? If they do not already have them on board, how can they attract and keep them? How can private business, universities and governments cooperate to generate them? Thus are some of the questions that will need to be addressed rapidly, imaginatively and decisively if cloud computing is to fully play its role as a competitiveness booster and as a game changer in Europe, as it has started to do in other parts of the world.

By: Bruno Lanvin , Executive Director, eLab, INSEAD

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