Digital sustainability: creating a new digital world with green technological innovations

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When it comes to sustainability, many of us first think of key issues such as the importance of carbon emissions, the shift to renewables, and the reduction of unnecessary products like plastics. These concepts are more popular and well known when we think about ways to solve problems with our environment. And, of course, there are alternative solutions and methods available such as walking and cycling more, switching to energy efficient lighting or choosing electric / hybrid cars or solar panels. While these should definitely stay high on the agenda, it is also important to consider the role of a more sustainable internet and an underlying communications network.

Our reliance on a more digital world and the continued growth in bandwidth are key indicators that networks are increasingly important in everything we do. From basic communication to remote working and healthcare or online shopping, the internet and the underlying telecommunications network can contribute to a more sustainable future. In addition, as more and more people opt for digital lifestyles and work, it is essential to reflect on the impact this has and how we can make networks more sustainable with the demand for more improved services and faster speeds. The good news is that this is possible thanks to continuous technological advancements and new innovations that are pushing the boundaries of physics and improving the efficiency of our networks, paving the way for a green networking approach. The role of our digital world

In an age of exploding network traffic and service expansion, our greatest impact on the environment is our technological innovation, which continually enables consumers and organizations to do more with less. From the perspective of telecommunications networks, this means less energy, less space and less costs.

Connectivity as an opportunity

The Internet can do almost anything at the push of a button, and it can significantly help reduce our impact on the environment. Some examples include the use of IoT sensors, smart apps, energy efficient devices, and even remote working. In fact, recent research has shown that 65% of consumers are willing to embrace the Internet as a way to reduce their carbon footprint. In this context, it is interesting to note that more than one in five people are even willing to make more virtual health care appointments. All of this means that we want more digital ways of doing things, reducing our impact on the environment, and creating more sustainable lives.

Not that long ago, the only things on the edge of the network in the average home were a client email and a web browser. Today, the average home, in terms of connectivity and the complexity of that connectivity, has more in common with a small business. It is clear that the way we want to live and work is changing.

Connectivity has ultimately improved our lives and gives us the opportunity to create a more energy efficient world. However, it’s important not to deny the potential impact this can have. Whether we are just sending an email or playing a movie, it all requires processing power and data has to travel across the network from a data center and back to reach the end user, which consumes power. energy. Therefore, as an industry, we continue to create and invest in sustainable networks and innovations – unleashing the true potential of a more sustainable and connected world.

Take a greener approach

One of the challenges facing the industry today is that simply building additional networks to meet the growing demand for bandwidth is not a more sustainable or viable option. Fortunately, new, consistent technological innovations are available to help network providers deliver higher speeds, support unpredictable traffic, and do more with less power, space, and cost.

In fact, the incredible advancements in coherent optical technology over the past decade have paved the way for more efficient transfer of high-bandwidth applications and services, lower network costs, and scalability. Without these innovations, we wouldn’t be living in this ever-active digital world we enjoy today, where we can communicate and access any content we want, from virtually any location.

Coherent optical innovations have also been the answer to address the continued and significant reduction in the network footprint and energy consumption – which is necessary to support our digital way of life, laying the foundation to create greener networks. As an example, we have seen consistent technological innovations enabling network providers to reduce their energy consumption per bit by more than 90% over the past 10 years.

As we continue to see new digital services and applications come to market, the need to capitalize on these benefits will become critical for network providers who want to take a more sustainable approach. These innovations will also allow network operators to increase their profitability, reduce the costs of building more networks and still offer unshakeable performance.

In addition, the emergence of disaggregated solutions also presents a valuable tool to enable network providers to optimize their footprint and improve the customer experience. These technologies promote the convergence of services and networks to allow a reduction in power, space and complexity. For example, network operators need more choice and the freedom to adapt and grow their networks in the most sustainable way without being tied to a specific platform, company or product. Disaggregated solutions make this possible.

Preparing networks for the future

As an industry, we are seeing greater awareness about this, with a need to create more energy efficient networks and to push the boundaries of what technology can do. The networking space has evolved dramatically, especially over the past decade, to achieve this. Furthermore, these innovations don’t just mean delivering higher capacities to meet critical connectivity demands, it also means investing in the right resources to spur innovation for new efficiencies that will enable greener networks. A more sustainable approach will allow network providers to achieve a better return on investment and an ever better customer experience in the future.

With advancements in technology, we are now at the stage where network providers can scale their infrastructure to support the exponential increases in capacity that we are seeing, while keeping energy and power consumption under control. Networks play a vital role in our sustainability journey, and as data and demand increase, a more sustainable approach must be in mind to ensure that we don’t negate the positive impact that connectivity can. to bring.

Jürgen Hatheier


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