By now, it’s fair to say that the leaders in our technology industries are aware of the positive impact ICT can have on the reduction of energy use and carbon emissions worldwide. The challenge remains pushing this message forward.
For starters, there is the work we can do in our own backyards. Considering the amount of carbon the ICT industry in Canada emits, we certainly have a duty to reduce emissions (whether our own or those of others) wherever and whenever we can. In this issue of ITAC Online, you’ll read about two ITAC members that are doing just this.
You’ll also read about Electronics Product Stewardship Canada, which is a joint creation of Electro-Federation Canada and ITAC. While the organization was solely focused on product stewardship, recycling and end-of-life solutions in its early days, it now takes on even more. Through its Design for Environment report, EPSC now does an impressive amount of advocacy work toward the creation of electronic and electrical products that are lighter, less toxic, less dangerous, and made of fewer materials than their previous iterations. And while much of these advancements are mandates by government, it is certainly worth noting that a great number of companies within the ITAC community are leaders in this area – and not only meet, but routinely exceed government standards on product toxicity and energy efficiency.
We are also working very closely with the Ontario provincial government to enhance their awareness of the role ICT can play within the government to save money and energy. ITAC continues to collaborate with the Ontario government on their “Open for Business” initiative, for example, where one of the program’s five priorities is focused on Energy and the Environment. The goal of this program is to set out a framework for the Ontario ICT sector to engage with the Ontario government on environmental and energy-related issues which will enhance an open and transparent relationship between the two parties.
Just as ICT is an enabling force when it comes to increasing efficiencies in so many other business operational areas, it is also an enabling force in going green. Our true call to action must, therefore, involve helping clean up all of the Canadian economy’s other industries as well – manufacturing, forestry, mining, right down the list. After all, becoming more environmentally responsible must be among the highest of priorities for all industries, in all countries. Greenhouse gas reduction, climate change, the Kyoto Accord – these are global issues. What makes the ICT industry special is its ability to so clearly illustrate the ROI in going green. Organizations save far more than they spend when investing in ICT – and the green space is one area where this is proven time and time again.
ICT is all about efficiency. And if the way to lower emissions is through increased operational efficiency, then by definition, ICT is environmentally friendly technology. Let us continue our work in this direction to ensure that our grand-children’s grand-children still have healthy trees to read books under… even if they use an e-reader.Tell us your thoughts on this story
Knowledge (of power) is power
In the world of innovation, foresight – the ability to see holes in a market or predict upcoming demand – is everything. And in the past few years, leaders in the ICT industry have foreseen an intersection that is currently taking place between ICT technologies and the production/consumption of energy.
It is at this intersection where SHIFT Energy – a start-up based out of Saint John, New Brunswick – exists. The company specializes in monitoring and measuring energy consumption on an extremely detailed level, with the aim of educating clients and allowing them to make operational changes that will result in significant energy (and financial) savings.
Richard Jones is SHIFT’s president. He explained that two years before SHIFT was incorporated, principals at Mariner Partners (a New Brunswick-based ICT consulting firm) saw that ICT and energy were colliding. “So they hired a young engineering graduate from UNB, paid him for two years to understand the market, where it was involving (in clean-tech and the smart grid), and in the end they felt they had built enough of an idea to spin out a separate company,” Richard said.
In June 2009, Richard was asked to lead the company – working with the one engineer as well as one IT specialist.
“The day I joined, we didn’t even have a business plan,” Richard said. “So we worked for two or three months, created a business plan that focused on particular markets, and what came out of that was our current business model.”
The company’s clients currently fit into five key market segments: commercial office buildings, hotels and resorts, educational/institutional facilities, public sector facilities, and small- to medium-sized industrial facilities.
“We offer real-time monitoring of energy consumption in order to understand a client’s usage profile and the costs associated with it. Then we use that really rich data stream to identify operational savings opportunities,” Richard said. “If we have a really detailed view of your energy consumption, not only in the building but including the devices and key processes inside it, we can analyze that data to match your bill. So our ability to monitor is the starting point on how to advise you to alter your spend on energy.”
“We actually have a very small amount of technology at each client site. We have equipment that takes a simple output off a device – whether it be an electrical, gas or water meter – then we encrypt it at the site and use the public internet to pull it back to our data centre,” Richard said. “There, we unpack it and run our algorithms against it, then the output is reviewed by qualified engineers who analyze the results and provide additional insight into client savings.”
SHIFT provides their clients with a monthly report, which they can access via an online web portal. This report is presented in three formats, each specifically designed to cater to the reader – one for an organization’s executive(s), one for its plant operator(s), and one non-technical version for public consumption. Some companies display this third version on TV screens in lobbies, for instance, to show how “green” they are and motivate their team to get involved.
“We want to engage all stakeholders,” Richard said. “From the people running the building to its tenants, and everyone in between.”
SHIFT’s solutions are an improvement on the energy-consumption data users see for a variety of reasons, Richard explained.
“Most commercial customers only get an energy bill once a month, which outlines overall consumption and peak demand. And some customers can get daily consumption data. But neither of these approaches provides enough information to actually make informed decisions on how to optimize energy consumption to reduce costs. Looking at it from a supplier’s perspective, the current utility grid systems have not been optimized to look at a very granular level at who is using energy when,” he said. “Historically, they would have just measured in real time what’s going on at a substation, not what was going on at individual businesses. Our solutions benefit everyone involved in the energy production and consumption process – we can help utilities with their demand side management, as well as users with adding a lot of intelligence to their consumption habits.”
Richard said the key to SHIFT’s successful business model and energy saving solutions is the company’s emphasis on R&D.
“R&D is quite strongly embedded in our DNA,” he said. “We always put it first. We want to do R&D then commercialize it, and that’s something Canada often struggles with. We need to encourage Canadian companies across the board to continue to invest in R&D, so that we maintain our competitive advantage. And of course, this will mean encouraging governments to create R&D-friendly business environments – something that makes a lot of sense, especially in the green space.”
For Richard, the work SHIFT is doing is representative of a much bigger movement – something he feels will have global implications.
“We’re on the edge of what I believe will be a revolution in the way we look at, measure and think about energy, and it’s information technology that’s driving it.
Starting in the 1880s, our energy grid has been built with large centralized generation plants, and they feed out to substations, then they feed out to end users. Our utility grid is basically a one-way flow of energy with limited feedback coming the other way. We can now start leveraging IT in a useful way to permit you to make better business decisions. It’s about applying tools that form the backbone of IT to an energy grid that was made over 120 years ago without any of these tools embedded in it,” Richard said.
“The goal for our company is to produce solutions and services that will operate on a global scale. We might not know what this will look like yet, but my goal is to have a real impact on how people think about energy, because now it’s visible to them. We want to make the information understandable, so that we can allow people to make better decisions.”
While the company is still in its infancy, SHIFT has already generated a strong repertoire of success stories. You can read about them and learn more about SHIFT’s solutions at www.shiftenergy.com.Tell us your thoughts on this story
Greening within and without
For many members of the Canadian ICT industry, “going green” involves both greening one’s own operations, while also helping others do the same. This is certainly the case for Saskatchewan’s leading power provider, SaskPower.
Tom Kindred has been CIO of SaskPower for the past two years. There are a number of things the company is currently doing to render their own IT operations more environmentally friendly, he explained.
“There are targets that companies traditionally focus on, such as using power friendly devices, consolidating servers or turning lights off in your data centre at certain times. While we are doing those things, we’ve also recently begun a number of other initiatives to try and broaden our approach,” Tom said.
For instance, the company is working in 2011 to double its ratio of people to printers (from 1.9:1 to 3.8:1). Over a five year period, this would achieve an estimated 53 percent reduction in annual overall print operating costs, a 15 percent annual reduction in energy costs, and an 18 percent reduction in print related carbon emissions. This represents the equivalent CO2 emissions from the electricity use of 30.5 homes for one year, the annual greenhouse gas emissions of 48.4 passenger vehicles, the CO2 emissions from 588 barrels of oil consumed, or the carbon sequestered annually by 53.9 acres of pine or fir forests.
“When we successfully double that ratio, we’ll be saving approximately $2.5 million per year,” Tom said. “In cases like these, cost savings and the greening of IT – they both make a lot of sense.”
The company also plans on implementing a variety of other green strategies over the coming year, focused on server virtualization and consolidation, PC rationalization, desktop virtualization, and hibernation mode for computers. SaskPower has also addressed the end-of-life issue by partnering with the Computers for Schools program, which collects and repairs donated computer equipment from government and private sector sources and distributes them free of charge to K-12 schools and libraries in Saskatchewan. Through Computers for Schools, SaskPower donated approximately 1,500 used desktops, laptops and monitors in 2010 that were refurbished and reused within K-12 schools and libraries in Saskatchewan, and they expect to donate similar numbers in 2011.
As these internal steps are being taken, SaskPower is also working to help its customers cut down on energy consumption. When this involves interfacing with building control systems, ICT is a huge enabling force.
“SaskPower wants to be a leader in the automatic meter infrastructure space,” Tom said. “Automatic meter infrastructure gives us an IT presence in every home and business around the province right at the meter. This allows you to identify some interesting things that help us manage our business better – such as power consumption, quality and outages – and it certainly helps us with our demand-side management. We eventually want people coming to SaskPower to see how we’re tying this all together.”
The most revolutionary aspect of automatic meter infrastructure is the increased awareness of the energy being consumed, on both the utility’s and the consumer’s ends.
“With automatic meter infrastructure, we’ll take more readings in one day than we have through physical meter readings in the past 24 years,” Tom said. “This is because we’re reading meters every 15 minutes, as opposed to once every three or four months. You now have enough data to see patterns emerging, and you can also send that data back to your customers to help them learn how to cut down on consumption.”
He said there are a number of reasons why issues of energy conservation deserve special attention these days. There are the obvious environmental reasons; then there is the fact that power rates across the country are set to increase over the next several years (15 percent in Ontario, 30 percent in British Columbia, etc.). Moreover, Saskatchewan is one of the rare provinces where power consumption did not decrease during the economic downturn of 2008-2009, and it is forecast to continue to grow at 2.5 percent annually for the foreseeable future. Tom said the role of technology in power distribution and consumption will play a key management role in the years to come.
“We believe very strongly that these solutions transcend both worlds – you can’t just commit to one side,” he said. “For anybody that has any interest in technology, power utilities are the place to be in my mind.”
Click here to learn more about SaskPower’s green initiatives. Or if you’re a SaskPower customer, click here to find out how to save power.Tell us your thoughts on this story
When end-of-life = beginning of responsibility
An ICT product’s lifecycle is comprised of a number of stages, from the sourcing of the raw materials necessary to create it, to the disposing of the product when it is no longer usable. It is the management of this latter end-of-life stage that Electronics Product Stewardship Canada (EPSC) has assumed as its bread and butter.
Katelyn Vaughan is a spokesperson for EPSC. She said the organization’s main goal is the efficient environmental management of all regulated electronics.
“The main purpose of EPSC is to advocate on behalf of electronics manufacturers and to work with an array of partners and stakeholders to develop promote and implement sustainable solutions for Canada's end of life electronics,” she said. “We have worked closely with the Retail Council of Canada to get the programs up and running in all the provinces where regulations are in place.”
One of Katelyn’s key projects is drafting EPSC’s Design for Environment report. Two such reports have been published to date (2006 and 2009), and the third is set for publication this spring.
“This report is intended to be an advocacy tool for the product manufacturers and the provincial industry-funded organizations, such as ESABC [www.esabc.ca], ARMA [www.albertarecycling.ca], SWEEP [www.sweepit.ca], OES [www.ontarioelectronicstewardship.ca], ACES [www.acestewardship.ca]. The goal is to demonstrate the significant improvements that are being made by manufacturers – namely, our members – to reduce the environmental burden of electronic products,” Katelyn said.
Each report is unique in the focus it assumes. The 2011 report is centered on the various phases of the products’ life cycles:
- sourcing raw materials
- product use
- end of life
“We’ve used a lot of our members’ examples to demonstrate what they’ve done within their respective design for environment strategies, and we’ve included those at each stage of the lifecycle,” Katelyn said. “Then we’ve also put in a timeline beginning in the 1980s and running right up to 2010, to compare the changes that have been made in that period of time. It’s a relatively short period of time, but lots of very influential changes have taken place – for example, the USB chip versus the floppy disk, mp3 players compared to CD or tape players, or tablet computers versus traditional PCs.”
The other section of the report highlights future directions where electronics are headed, Katelyn explained – one example being cloud computing and its huge effect on the size and weight of products.
The work EPSC and its affiliated programs are doing to ensure that electronic products are recycled safely and responsibly is crucial to the health of our environment and industry for a variety of reasons, Katelyn said.
“We’re doing our best to make sure that environmentally sensitive materials such as lead and mercury are being handled and disposed of safely, so they’re not just leaking into our landfill sites. We’re recycling precious metals better, which means we have to extract less virgin materials. And finally, through our recycling industry and product stewardship programs, we’re developing a very good reputation as a leader in electronics recycling, and we’re paving the way for other countries that are looking to implement these types of programs,” she said.
However, she said there are often roadblocks along the way.
“The issues of landfilling and shipping products overseas is causing brand owners major problems, seeing as it’s their name being thrown out to the media for not being responsible with their equipment,” Katelyn explained. “These stewardship programs provide a safe and efficient way to dispose of electronics so they’re not being exported illegally or dumped into landfills.”
Furthermore, there are ways provincial governments can help.
“It would really help us if governments would enforce landfill bans. The EPSC member companies I work with put a lot of time and effort into creating these programs. You could consider them fairly experimental because extended producer responsibility (EPR) just started in the 1990s, and then electronics programs started only this millennium. Plus, many of our members are international companies and the Canadian culture and economies of scale are very different than others worldwide. But we’re still trying to figure out what works best for the Canadian context. And this is something I think our members have been doing very well. They’re putting in a lot of effort and have already made some major improvements in these programs.”
EPSC’s Design for Environment report will be available on the EPSC website early this April (www.epsc.ca). In the meantime, here is a brief compilation of the report’s stats on the total weight of recycled electronics in certain jurisdictions over the past year, as well as the waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) collected per capita in those jurisdictions.
Total Annual Weight Collected (tonnes)
WEEE Collected/Capita (kg)
(Apr. 1 2008 –
Mar. 31 2009)
Alberta Recycling Management Authority
British Columbia (Jan. 1 2008 –
Dec. 31, 2008)
Electronics Stewardship Association of British Columbia
(Jul. 1, 2009 –
Jun. 31, 2010)
Atlantic Canada Electronics Stewardship
(Apr. 1 2009 –
Mar. 31 2010)
Ontario Electronics Stewardship
Saskatchewan (Apr. 1 2009 –
Mar. 31, 2010)
Saskatchewan Waste Electronics Equipment Program
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April 13, 2011
April 13 - April 14, 2011
April 27, 2011
April 28, 2011
May 3 - May 5, 2011
May 26, 2011
For a full event listing, and to register for ITAC events, go to: itac.ca/event_cal
Deadline for Ingenious Awards Submissions extended to April 15!
ITAC has extended the submission deadline for Ingenious Awards entries to April 15, 2011.
The awards program will showcase excellence in the use of ICT by organizations of all sizes in all sectors of the Canadian economy. The Ingenious Awards Program seeks out enterprises demonstrating clearly measurable evidence of productivity improvement, efficiency gains, revenue growth, overall business transformation or other major business outcomes through the use of technology. Awards will be presented in five categories honouring excellence in technology use, at a gala dinner in Toronto on June 14, 2011. The stories of the winning entries will be published in an online magazine and distributed across Canada later in 2011.
Nomination forms, rules and regulations and other information can be found at the Ingenious Awards Program website (www.ingeniousawards.ca).
The awards were created by ITAC to celebrate the ingenuity, adaptability and competitiveness of Canadian business. Bell Canada, CGI, Cisco, Dell Canada and Intel of Canada are, along with ITAC, the founding sponsors of the Ingenious Awards Program.
ITAC Director, Linda Fitzgerald, appointed to President of NCR Canada
An accomplished sales leader and relationship builder with over 25 years of experience in the IT industry, Fitzgerald will be responsible for sales, client services, marketing, and the management of all aspects of NCR Canada’s financial and retail businesses, as well as for building NCR’s newer businesses in the travel and healthcare industries. NCR’s first female president of Canada will be based in the company’s Canadian head office in Mississauga, Ontario.
ITAC Continues to Collaborate with PWGSC on Licensing Supply Arrangement
After several months of close collaboration with the federal government on a new vehicle for purchasing software, Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) released a Software Licensing Supply Arrangement on February 1, 2011.
While the initial “pilot” phase for this SLSA is well underway, ITAC continues to work with PWGSC to make the SLSA as mutually beneficial to both industry and government as possible.
Tremblant Venture Summit 2011 – May 4-5, 2011 (Cocktail May 3)
Eastern Canada's premier company financing event, the Tremblant Venture Summit (formerly Tremblant Venture Forum), is fast approaching. With two months to go, the ITAC team and the TVS organizing committee have stepped up the pace to bring together:
- 40 world class investors from Quebec, Ontario, Maritimes and eastern USA;
- 25 to 30 of the most promising Canadian early-stage and growth-stage companies to present their innovative projects to leading investors;
- 200 prominent investment professionals, CEOs and entrepreneurs.
Mark your calendar for this 3rd edition! The Summit will be held May 4-May 5, 2011 with a cocktail the evening of May 3, 2011. The event will take place at the Hotel Fairmont Tremblant in the Laurentians, only one hour from Montréal, Québec.
Register online here: www.tremblantventuresummit.com.
Subscribe to the WCIT 2012 in Montreal Newsletter
In May 2012, the 18th World Congress on Information Technology will take place in Montreal, Canada from May 21-23rd. The theme of the congress is “The New Digital Society,” an event that will explore fulfilling the promise of the Digital Age.
The industry’s foremost thought leaders, senior government officials, academic and international institutions and global media will converge in Montreal to discuss how the world can continue to benefit from the information technology and communications technologies.
The WCIT 2012 Organizing Committee invites WITSA members' to subscribe to the WCIT 2012 Monthly Newsletter.
You are requested to subscribe to this newsletter and encourage your members to also subscribe:
Spotlight Will be on ICT at Canada 3.0 2011 Digital Media Forum in Stratford, Ontario, May 2-4
Canada’s premier national digital media event – the annual Canada 3.0 digital media forum – will have a strong focus on industry, including an address by Canada’s Industry Minister Tony Clement, when the event is staged here May 2-4. Minister Clement will speak to Canada’s place in the global digital economy on May 3.
The Canadian Digital Media Network (CDMN) organizing Canada 3.0 2011 says the forum will examine how ICT (Information and Communications Technologies) can advance Canada’s productivity.
Other News and Events
Award of Excellence for Comptrollership in the Public Sector
Created by Certified Management Accountants of Canada (CMA Canada) and the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA), the Award of Excellence for Comptrollership in the Public Sector is an annual awards program that recognizes the success of federal public servants who have made significant contributions to financial management and/or comptrollership within the Government of Canada.
The award recipients will be announced at special ceremony to be held on Tuesday, May 10, 2011, at the Fairmont Château Laurier in Ottawa. They will receive national recognition of their achievements and their innovations will serve as a model for how other public sector entities and individuals can enhance their financial management performance, and meet accountability objectives to the highest possible standards.
For more information or to purchase tickets to the event, visit: www.comptrollershipaward.com.
Work Placements (Unpaid) to Support Your Projects
Since 2008, Polycultural Immigrant and Community Services has been helping immigrant professionals from a wide variety of fields, including IT, to get connected to employer networks. Through our Enhanced Language Training / Transition to Employment, over 300 professionals have received a linguistic and cultural orientation, as well as an orientation to Canadian workplace culture and employer expectations.
Part of the Transition to Employment is an unpaid work placement of 4-12 weeks. It would be their pleasure to connect you with qualified internationally-trained IT professionals (programmers, networking professionals, and engineers). They can pre-screen and offer interview space, according to your needs.
Let them know when they can connect you!
Contact Sean Lockhart or Jennifer Davies
416-261-4901 x 224 or 416-233-1981
Technology Growth Initiative (TGI) - Business Boot camps Spring 2011
Who: The TGI and boot camp event is primarily for start-up companies in the ICT, Cleantech and LifeSciences sectors.
What: Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada (DFAIT) and the Trade Commissioner Service (TCS), along with its partners Miller Thomson and KPMG would like to cordially invite you to participate in the Technology Growth Initiative (TGI) Eastern Canada Business Boot Camps Spring 2011.
Where / when:
London, Ontario – Friday, April 29
Toronto, Ontario – Monday, May 2
Ottawa, Ontario – Tuesday, May 3
Register to attend one of the boot camps and/or apply to pitch:
Canadian ICT Partnering Mission to Hong Kong – April 12-17, 2011
The Consulate General of Canada in Hong Kong, in partnership with The Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) and The Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office (HKETO) in Canada, invites Canadian companies to participate in the International ICT Expo scheduled for April 13-16, 2011, at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre in one of a variety of capacities:
All of the Canadian delegates will also be invited to join a business program specially designed to increase their access to partnership and business opportunities in Hong Kong, Mainland China and the region.
Click here for more information: ictexpo.com
2011 Canadian Telecom Summit – May 31 to June 2
For three full days (May 31 - June 2), The 2011 Canadian Telecom Summit will again deliver thought-provoking insights from the prime movers of the industry. The Canadian Telecom Summit gives you the chance to hear from and talk with them in both a structured atmosphere of frank discussion and high-octane idea exchange and schmooze in a more relaxed social setting of genial conversation over espresso or cocktails.
The Canadian Telecom Summit reviews where we have been as an industry, provides an understanding of the dynamics that propel it and forecasts future trends & expected developments.