Using open innovation to meet ambitious carbon emission targets

The ICT sector faces big challenges in lowering their carbon footprint and there are many initiatives to make technology more energy efficient. The JISC has created a separate Green ICT programme for ICT projects that address these issues.

In Oxford (where OSS Watch is based) one of these projects has been quite successful. The Low Carbon ICT project has developed several tools to lower the carbon emissions at the University of Oxford. One of these is the creation of Wake On LAN software project to remotely manage desktops in a computer network. By remotely shutting off computers at night, institutions can save a lot of energy.

The University of Oxford has recently reconfirmed that it is serious about lowering their carbon emissions by signing up to the 10:10 initiative. The University’s 10:10 target is to reduce carbon emissions by between 3 and 10 per cent compared to 2009-2010 levels by 31 March 2011.

In order to meet this challenge it is very important for the University of Oxford to work together with other universities and the private sector. A lot of innovation is needed and all institutions face this challenge. The model of open innovation, whereby ideas and solutions are shared as widely as possible, is perfectly suited to make sure a good solution developed at one university is used elsewhere. This model, perfected in open source software projects, is already working well for the Wake On LAN software that Oxford has developed. The same software is now also in use at Liverpool University and they are developing it into a national service for other HE/FE institutions in the UK.

To foster open innovation in the Green ICT sector OSS Watch has recently submitted a project proposal for a call on open innovation. Together with Sirius, PC Power Down and Data Synergy we aim to bring together academic and commercial partners to create innovative Green ICT solutions on an open platform. If funded, this platform will be based on our existing public registry of open source software projects, which currently already contains over 1500 projects.

Open innovation will also be a central theme of TransferSummit/UK that takes place on 24/25/26 June in Oxford. The TransferSummit provides a forum for business executives and members of the academic and research community to discuss requirements, challenges, and opportunities in the use, development, licensing, and future of open source technology. Registration is now open and if you work on academic projects don’t forget to contact us for a discount code.