Up in the air
The cloud will also allow us to rethink the role of IT and energy, so that we’re not just thinking about how to reduce the energy consumption of IT itself, but are also leveraging IT to reduce the other 98 percent of energy use needed to create resource-efficient cities. Those billions of city dwellers I described will live in cities that look and feel very different from the cities of today. We envision a highly integrated, energy-smart landscape that maximizes efficiency and performance in a resource-constrained world. Information technology will help make that future possible. This will require not just strong partnerships and technological innovation, but bold, forward-thinking political leadership.
And this is only the beginning of what cloud computing can make possible. New, more powerful computational tools are helping scientists unlock our understanding of the world’s oceans and rainforests and the vast, interconnected systems on which life on Earth depends. Citizens, too, will benefit from a democratization of information as cloud services will increasingly enable everyone with a stake in clean air and clean water to take part in knowledge gathering and sharing with tools like Eye On Earth.
Microsoft and our partners are applying our expertise in IT and cloud computing to provide society with a new level of understanding about the resources and systems we depend on. Optimizing energy and resource use across a city landscape, let alone the earth’s interconnected systems, requires the collection of massive amounts of data—data from buildings, waste and transportation systems, to ocean health and crop yields. Cloud computing provides the ideal platform for turning this data into actionable information, with the necessary scale, storage and processing power that can connect disparate data sources into a highly integrated, energy-smart landscape.
We believe information technology has tremendous transformative power. But at the same time, it will require all stakeholders – businesses, government, scientists, and citizens – to seize the opportunity to leverage that power in service of a common goal: a world that will sustain economic growth and quality of life for all.
Josh Henretig is the Director of Environmental Sustainability for Microsoft and is responsible for helping define, implement and communicate the global environmental strategy for the company. Josh has found success translating corporate insights and experiences with sustainabilityinto scalable business practices that result in reducing the company’s environmental footprint and showcasing the role technology plays in enabling people and organizations around the world reduce their impact on the environment. Josh has been with Microsoft for close to 10 years and has held positions in Sales, Business Strategy and Management, and Environmental Sustainability. Prior to Microsoft, Josh worked at Onyx Software where he held a variety of sales, marketing and management positions.
image: Kevin Dooley via Flickr cc (some rights reserved)