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Green IT holds untapped business potential, says analyst

Green IT has untapped business opportunities that companies are not exploiting, Ovum analyst Warren Wilson says.

He says carbon-cutting technologies have a huge and untapped potential to combat climate change and IT suppliers are not exploiting the opportunities.

Few companies offer services that measure and analyse the impact of non-IT projects, such as building or manufacturing, and this is where the opportunity lies.

There are three possible ways to tackle climate change using technology. The first, and most often discussed, is how to make computing and networking themselves more energy-efficient.

The second option is to substitute low-carbon technologies for traditional, high-carbon equipment and processes, such as having virtual meetings instead of using air or road travel.

The third and least understood role that IT can play in combating climate change is using IT to measure, analyse and minimise the impact of manufacturing, buildings, vehicles and other things that account for large proportions of carbon emissions.

Wilson says this is a big untapped business opportunity for technology firms.

"We have heard about what companies are doing internally to reduce their carbon footprint. What we will now be hearing about is the applications that they have developed to help their customers reduce their footprint.

"It is at a very early stage and the market is still wide open. Reducing the environmental impact of things like manufacturing is a bigger challenge, and a more complex part of the problem."

The Smart 2020 report says IT could potentially cut global emissions by 15%, removing 7.8 gigatons out of the potentially removable 52 gigatons by 2020. But Wilson said the IT figure is conservative.


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