Desktop management can cut energy waste, but it’s tricky for smaller businesses, unless a cloud solution can be made to work, says Mark McGinn
We all tend to minimise spending when payment is our own responsibility – that is human nature. So the same person who unplugs all their appliances at home will leave the office without shutting down their PC, leaving a ghostly glow in empty building.
The problem is glaringly obvious in a huge office, but is just as pressing for smaller firms. PC power management solutions are changing this by giving the control to the company, and not leaving the size of the utility bills and the carbon footprints at the mercy of employees.
PC management is tricky on a small scale
Turning PCs off recently topped an eWEEK Europe poll as the best way for a company to start to reduce its energy use.
However,while large firms can use PC power management technology to save cost and carbon, smaller firms find it difficult, despite the fact that they need savings just as much as large firms.
Smaller firms can’t benefit from economies of scale, and can’t raise the hardware spend traditionally required to reap the benefits.
Smaller firms rely on the ‘last one to leave, turn off the power’ rule, and don’t feel technically able to take control of their PCs.
PC power management needs to evolve – and the issues can be overcome by using cloud computing, so a smaller company can use hosted power management software which requires no on-site hardware, no investment in further infrastructure, and a dashboard approach for management and monitoring.
Small businesses see efficiencies right away, as they power down unused systems and set automatic shut downs, while still running software upgrades and patches by waking systems whenever needed. The fact that it is cloud-based removes administrative complexities.
Hosted power management can save around £60 per PC per year, at all business sizes, and if this can be shown on a dashboard, it can be used to justify spending on IT elsewhere in the company.
But won’t this be built-in soon?
But how long will PC power management be a standalone solution? People are beginning to ask, ”why is investing now worthwhile, when surely it’ll shortly become a standard feature on any new desktop or laptop?“.
Whilst software vendors and hardware manufacturers have undertaken significant steps in optimising power usage and power savings, embedding a professional and intelligent power management system into the overall technology stack is a considerable way off.
PC power management software can be compared to the engine management system of a car, intelligently changing the efficiency characteristics to match the conditions and the driving style while allowing the driver to take advantage of the performance when needed.
Small businesses need this more than large ones, in fact, because cost savings are likely to be far higher for SMBs – as they paying higher rates on the cost of their electricity. With power costs set to rise, this situation is not likely to improve.
In the UK, upwards of 70 per cent of businesses are SMBs. If, as a nation, we are to come together and meet our carbon reduction commitment under the Kyoto agreement, we need to extend PC power management technology beyond large organisations and make it available to SMBs.
A cloud solution is an important step in the right direction toward providing ‘power management for all’.