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Going green with Edge Computing

Did you know that Edge Computing could have a significant role in solving our data-driven economy’s global energy footprint dilemma?

Mats Eriksson / October 22, 2020

Keeping data and technologies in action significantly impacts global energy consumption. Edge computing – processing information close to the edge where the information is used – could provide a new solution for significantly saving energy on a global level.

Edge computing is typically promoted to solve latency issues related to new emerging services. I believe that the impact of edge computing is much more significant. In a recent white paper, I modelled how it will help reduce global energy consumption and related greenhouse gas emissions caused by data transport by up to 60%.

Soon 20% of global electricity will be used by data centres, data transport & devices

Edler and Andrae[1] state in their research paper that 20 per cent of global electricity in 2030 will be consumed by data centres, data transport & devices. This is worrying – and it is not caused by bitcoin or by you binge-watching Netflix.

The vast energy consumption is due to society at large getting connected in all aspects. Your refrigerator and garbage bin will start talking on the Internet, while your PowerPoint files are often transferred across the globe without you even knowing it.

The amount of energy used to transport data is roughly equal to that consumed by data centres globally. Oddly enough, this fact is mostly absent from discussions on how the IT industry impacts green gas emissions.

Edge compute could save 60% of data transport energy consumption

I believe that the most important aspect of edge data centres is the potential they offer to reduce the energy footprint of our data society.

The key to edge computing is to analyse the flow of data through networks and optimise compute workloads. Optimization of workloads will significantly reduce energy consumption related to data transport. In some use cases I explored, the total energy consumption saving potential was as much as 60%. These aspects are further outlined in my white paper, for those interested in the models, math and assumptions used.

I urge everyone operating digital services to take a deeper analysis of their potential contribution to a greener world.

My white paper, Going green @ the edge: Cost modelling of edge compute”, offers a model to analyse the energy footprint of your data-intense services. I’m confident that edge compute solutions will help you reduce the data processing power you use.

You might also be interested in watching the recording: Webinar: Telco Cloud Edge Computing: How to boost the development of data-rich applications with open edge platform?

Or reading the related blog: Emerging edge computing – unlock the value of your data 

Mats Eriksson
Business Development Lead

Mats Eriksson leads business development and sales in the telecom and radio access sector in Tietoevry Product Development Services. He has previously co-founded technology companies and held managerial positions in various companies. He has a background in academia where he was in charge of a research cooperation institute and founded an EU innovation initiative.

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