Cloud computing, data and applications housed in a centralized data center rather than various offices maintaining their own server farm, offers significant benefits to companies and to employees. Tele-working is on the rise, as it helps employees balance work-life demands and it offers true cost savings to both employee and employer. Using electronics to telecommute saves the equivalent of nine to 14 billion kilowatt hours of electricity per year, the same amount of energy used by roughly one million U.S. households every year, according to a study commissioned by the Consumer Electronics Association. Findings also indicate the estimated 3.9 million telecommuters in the U.S. reduce gasoline consumption by about 840 million gallons and curb carbon dioxide emissions by nearly 14 million tons. This level of CO2 reduction is equal to removing two million vehicles from the road every year. "The Energy and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Impact of Telecommuting and e-Commerce," study conducted by TIAX found that just one day of telecommuting saves the equivalent of up to 12 hours of an average household's electricity use. Telecommuting also saves 1.4 gallons of gasoline and reduces CO2 emissions by 17 to 23 kilograms per day. In addition, video teleconferences can greatly reduce business travel, improving quality of life as well as saving energy. A study by the Center for Sustainable Systems, University of Michigan, found that a videoconference requires 500 times less energy than a business trip including a 1,000 km (663 miles) flight.
While cloud computing brings substantial cost savings to both companies and individuals, the impact on the environment is staggering. A report by Verdantix estimates that cloud computing could enable companies to save $12.3 billion on energy bills. That translates to a carbon emission savings of 85.7 million metric tons per year by 2020. Another study from Microsoft, Accenture, and WSP Environment and Energy found that moving business applications to the cloud could cut the associated per user carbon footprint by 30 percent for large, already efficient companies and as much as 90 percent for smaller, less efficient businesses. Landfills have become an environmental nightmare. When you realize that the U.S. fills enough garbage trucks to form a line from the Earth halfway to the moon every year, the contribution cloud computing makes to the Green Revolution becomes all the more apparent. In fact, the only two human made structures on Earth large enough to be seen from outer space are the Great Wall of China and the Fresh Kills Landfill on Staten Island, NY.
Clearly, environmental and cost savings benefit our planet, businesses and individuals, but cloud based technology can also contribute to workplace productivity and improve individual lifestyle. Cloud computing has changed the way we work, how we communicate and how we collaborate. Yet, given the challenges that impact the quality of our lives, the significant cost savings for business and consumers, and the environmental benefits, all stand victorious in the Green Revolution.
Siamak Farah is founder and CEO of InfoStreet and widely regarded as the pioneer of cloud based apps. InfoStreet introduced its first business software via the cloud in 1995 with its flagship productivity application, StreetSmart. Farah's years of experience as a software developer affords him unique technical knowledge, while his work at NeXT Computer, side-by-side industry visionaries like Steve Jobs, has given him marketing and management insights that help propel InfoStreet's growth year-over-year. Farah is a frequent speaker at conferences focusing on the Internet and SaaS such as ISPCON, INBOX and SoftLetter.
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