How Does ICT Relate to Energy?

I started blogging with a keyword, data center energy efficiency, a few years ago, and over time I expanded the covered areas by adding several keywords, although the main theme remained the intersection of IT and energy.

Those keywords include:

  • Green IT
  • Data center energy efficiency
  • Energy efficiency
  • Cloud computing
  • Mobile computing
  • Monitoring
  • Sensors
  • Big Data
  • Renewable energy
  • Green power
  • Smart meter
  • EVs
  • Smart grid
  • Power grid
  • Power generation

Standup comics in the US talk only to make the audience laugh. There are similar things in Japan, including comics very like those of the US. A variation is the guy who delivers a story rather than a bunch of short lines, and sometimes the story is funny but sometimes it appeals to the audience for tears. Some guys (but not all) who do this may choose a few keywords, create a story around those keywords, and tell it on the fly, as if they had planned it ahead of time. I think each of the keywords listed above has a very broad meaning, and I feel like I can produce a blog by picking up any three of the above on the fly. Looking back in my blogging for the past three years, I want to mention green IT and cloud computing. As you will see later, I’ll end up using six keywords instead.


Guidance for Calculation of Efficiency (PUE) in Data Centers

The first keyword is green IT, which was the first keyword I encountered when I started. Green IT, when first introduced, tended to make IT itself green rather than make other things green. It is far easier for IT folks to discuss making IT green, because they know IT well. However, I think the real potential of green IT resides in making other things green. This is far bigger than making IT itself green, but it is very difficult for IT folks to tackle. Most, if not all, systems now use IT to control their components and operations. Without IT, or should I say ICT, adding the communications element, no sophisticated system would work properly. Furthermore, each sophisticated system is governed by some area of specific knowledge and processes. Without knowing each specific area inside out, we cannot apply ICT effectively.

For example, IT has developed a lot of technologies and know-how, but without knowledge of the area of the control system, we cannot apply IT security to it as is. Modifications and additions are required. In order to settle down the dispatch of power for tomorrow, prediction software contains many parameters, such as weather information. We can develop any software if and only if we know the exact specification. IT folks may understand at a very high level what prediction software is supposed to do, but unless they work with experts in the weather forecasting business or are trained to understand the details, they cannot produce meaningful software.

The second keyword is cloud computing. The following slide came from Lew Tucker’s keynote speech at Cloud Connect in March. This slide is a great way of explaining how ICT is being used and how it will be utilized even more before long. I thought this slide was great at the time, but now I appreciate it much more.


Credit: Lew Tucker

As computing becomes ubiquitous, to meet demands for computing and processing data, data centers are increasingly and exponentially important. The amount of data is increasing astronomically and now forms Big Data. How Big Data is analyzed and utilized is getting a lot of attention. Data is being added to clouds, thanks to (1) sensors, which are much cheaper, wireless, and low power, and (2) mobile devices, which are no longer just for voice communications but also for data processing and EVs’ telematics, which generate tons of data. Initially, data from the four data sources, conventional computing, sensors, mobile computing, and EVs, may not interact with each other. But as we improve the use of Big Data, the interactions will increase, and we will need ICT to manage the data and mine information for better operations of systems.

I produced this blog by using the following keywords, (1) data center energy efficiency, (2) green IT, (3) cloud computing, (4) sensors, (5) mobile computing, and (6) EVs. I bet I could produce a blog with only three keywords.

Zen Kishimoto

About Zen Kishimoto

Seasoned research and technology executive with various functional expertise, including roles in analyst, writer, CTO, VP Engineering, general management, sales, and marketing in diverse high-tech and cleantech industry segments, including software, mobile embedded systems, Web technologies, and networking. Current focus and expertise are in the area of the IT application to energy, such as smart grid, green IT, building/data center energy efficiency, and cloud computing.

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