Ireland could lead the world in green data centres

22 Sep 2008

The Irish telecoms industry has an unprecedented opportunity to use telecoms and technology to reduce the business world’s impact on the environment, Intel’s director of IT innovation told

Martin Curley, global head of IT innovation at Intel, will be speaking at the forthcoming TIF annual conference. Ahead of the conference, he said he believes that technology has a role to play in reducing harm to the environment, and that Irish telecoms and data centre providers could play a starring role.

“There is an opportunity for Ireland to lead in the next generation internet field, whether it’s new wireless technologies like WiMax or state-of-the-art data centres. But with an economic recession, as well as greater environmental awareness, the ball is in the court of telecoms companies, data centre providers and managed services firms.

“The two big opportunities of the 21st century are broadband and ICT infrastructure. Investment in these areas is accelerating and it’s an opportunity for firms to leverage new infrastructure.”

Curley believes that while you will never stop people driving to work, you can work on cutting down on air travel.

“Videoconferencing technology, for example, has been around for some time but only lately has it become robust, available and falling in price. We’re really at the tipping point and in tougher economic times people will be cutting down on pan-European and trans-Atlantic travel.

“In Ireland, the one thing that would make the Government’s decentralisation process run more smoothly would be videoconferencing technology,” he said, referring to Cisco’s TelePresence technology, as well as HP’s Halo and Intel’s own BeingThere technologies.

“More and more, the green aspect is going to play a role and the opportunity is here for Ireland to exploit its position. Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer made the observation that Ireland is one of the best locations in the world to have a data centre.”

Curley said that Intel is projecting a 70pc reduction in its own air conditioning using ambient air in its data centres.

In Ireland, Intel has been working with the Innovation Value Institute at National University of Ireland (NUI) Maynooth, as well as a number of other universities such as NUI Galway, businesses like AXA and the World Wildlife Fund to set new standards for IT efficiency in organisations.

“There are a number of elements to it. You start with using green IT to achieve efficiency. AXA was able to achieve a 70pc reduction in energy costs after switching from CRT monitors to flatscreen monitors. When you get to level four, you are actually using IT to improve the energy efficiency of the total enterprise.

“UPS for example, maximised the number of right turns vehicles took so that drivers would be spending less time at traffic lights and achieved a 20pc fuel reduction cost by using IT for intelligent scheduling.”

By John Kennedy

Martin Curley will be a guest speaker at the forthcoming TIF annual conference that takes place on 21 October at Dublin Castle. For more information go to:

Pictured: author and director of IT at Intel, Martin Curley

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years