What Would You Do If You Had Unlimited Bandwidth? Does It Waste Too Much Energy?

Part of the secret of attending a good conference is to find one. Some big-name conferences advertise a lot and everyone knows about them. But sometimes we get lucky and find a very high quality conference at the right price. How do great quality and affordable price grab you? In addition, it comes with complimentary breakfast, non-interruptive coffee and other drinks, and lunch and evening refreshments. Where can you find such a conference? Every year Fujitsu Laboratories of America throws a symposium on a topic that is getting a lot of attention that year. Only catch is that it is an invitation-only conference, and you need some work on your side to get invited. Like any other year, this year’s attracted a large crowd.

This year, the symposium’s theme was unlimited bandwidth. It is very hard to define what unlimited bandwidth means. The more we use bandwidth for communications, the more we want.

 

There were several topics relating to unlimited bandwidth, including network infrastructure, next-generation technologies and applications, smart grid, and transportation. One thing I really admire about the Fujitsu team headed by Kevin Krejci is that they get very good speakers who are right for the symposium theme. My expectations were not betrayed this year, either.

My backlogs of writing materials are piling up. Every time I make a trip to Japan, I plan to write a lot during my plane trip across the Pacific Ocean and train trips between Tokyo and Osaka. But my resolution is usually completely destroyed by jet lag and my busy schedule. Then, I get more materials for writing as I meet more people and attend meetings and conferences. So I do not promise anything regarding writing blogs on this subject.

But let me say one thing. Unlimited bandwidth does not necessarily mean the waste of energy. I think ICT has been targeted as a culprit of waste because ICT is considered to spoil people by encouraging them to spend more electricity and energy than necessary. It is hard to assess the balance between the energy used by ICT and the benefits produced by ICT. But if the benefits far outweigh the energy consumption, ICT should not be blamed for the waste. It is a judgment call what a benefit is. For some, using Facebook and Twitter is a waste of time and energy. But for others like me, it is not.

For me, the idea of unlimited bandwidth brings up two thoughts. The first is that we will never accomplish unlimited bandwidth, because there is a finite limit to any resource we obtain. But here we should not take the term literally. It should mean we have adequate bandwidth to move us from the current status quo to the next level. The second thought is that this will increase data traffic, leading to even bigger Big Data that might accumulate for many years to come. Big Data is a good thing, but unnecessary and harmful Big Data may pose another environmental problem. I know no one seems to care about the second point now, but I predict that it will become an issue sometime soon. In any event, I will write more on this, if my unlimited bandwidth holds.

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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