The Network Under Your Nose

We don’t need massive, dedicated server farms to power the internet. You already carry a perfectly usable cloud in your pocket.

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Think of an average American household. Now imagine the energy that family uses across any given year by turning on lights, cooking food and watching TV. Multiply that by 17 million and you get the equivalent annual energy usage of the cloud computing industry during 2018.

It’s growing too. The exponential rise in connected digital services is upon us, with 5G around the corner and the juggernaut arrival of the much-hyped ‘internet of things’. Yet cloud computing can respond only by building bigger and bigger server farms.

To be fair, these larger data centres were more efficient than smaller traditional computer centers in their day. But we now live in a more waste-conscious world – and a world where technology has moved on. Why should our digital services be hosted on energy-hungry, dedicated machines in stadium-sized factories?

Edge reuses the hardware all around us to build the future cloud. A set top TV box, for example, is plugged in 24/7 but only in use for a few hours each day. On its own, it doesn’t provide much power, but when you join together the millions of devices installed in homes all over the globe it becomes an incredibly powerful resource.

We canvassed 2,000 members of the Edge community and the average disk space usage across laptop, desktop and mobile devices was 52.56% – leaving a massive amount of storage going spare.

Or, indeed, wasted.

The biggest beneficiary of this optimisation in hardware use? The planet. Not only do the factories and server farms gradually fade away, but we also make use of devices already manufactured – saving energy by building one product instead of many. More than that, reusing those devices already in our homes, pockets and offices means the internet is stored much closer to where it is consumed – and less energy is used to send and retrieve the data we need for everything from online shopping to streaming movies.

If you’d like a positive story to tell about the digital carbon footprint of your business, get in touch with a member of the Edge team and ask about onboarding. You’ll be in very good company.

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