Antonio Grasso is Founder and CEO of Digital Business Innovation Srl. Antonio is regarded as one of the top digital transformation influencers and researchers on artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, the Internet of Things, blockchain, and sustainability. The opinions expressed in this article are his and not those of Cisco. 

Three years ago while I was attending Cisco Live in Barcelona, I finally noticed the subtle bridge in the Cisco logo. Increasingly, it is also ferrying us towards the Internet of Everything, the network that will allow us to move beyond connecting with each other to a connection with objects, businesses, organization processes, and data.

As we continue to evolve into a digital civilization, we should be mindful of the energy it takes and the environmental trade-offs that come along the way. Although we appreciate global leaders’ efforts to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, we should take a proactive role and add some “green nuances” to our daily business decisions. The actions we perform—no matter how insignificant they may appear on the surface—carry impacts. In determining which actions to take and how best to reduce emissions, we should be proactive and recognize that we are working toward the same vision.

Today, we have the opportunity to act based on our collective conscience, but we also have the certainty that failing to act decisively and strategically may put the future in jeopardy. 

Change begins with small steps

While doing research for this article, I kept coming back to the idea that small steps can give way to major achievements. According to a study by Cisco Meraki, if 1,000 ports were shut down for 12 hours, it would save 43,500 kWh of energy per year (or a cost savings of over $20,000 USD). Beyond this, through automating controls and proactively monitoring the temperature of data centers and workplaces, it can trim operating costs and carbon emissions by anywhere from 20% to 50%.

Smart spaces, green efficiency

Making the workplace “smart” by leveraging connected Internet of things (IoT) devices can contribute to energy savings and reduced emissions by monitoring the environment and calibrating for efficiency. It can also offer a healthier and more intelligent work culture. 

You may be thinking, that sounds wonderful in theory, but wouldn’t it be an organizational challenge to implement?

A case in point

As exemplified in this case study by WPP plc—the British multinational communications, advertising, public relations, technology, and commerce holding company—managing everything through a single, cloud-based dashboard can be simple and highly effective. It can help the organization reduce its energy emissions from technology while also measuring its carbon footprint to help optimize efforts for implementation in the future.

WPP plc employs over 109,000 people in 110 countries. They understand the need for both organizational efficiency and sustainability and have challenged themselves to:

  • Foster a dynamic workplace through the transformative power of information technology 
  • Achieve net zero scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions by 2025, and scope 3 by 2030
  • Create agile and flexible management practices for resources and office spaces

To achieve these ambitious targets, WPP partnered with Meraki to achieve impressive results. The team deployed Meraki MT environmental sensors, Cisco wireless and mobility solutions, and Cisco Catalyst 9000 switches. With these tools in place, WPP has been able to:

  • Create flexible office spaces with complete workplace mobility
  • Oversee smart facilities management
  • Prototype new technologies and work styles

Digital, green business transformation

The success of WPP plc demonstrates that achieving sustainability measures can strengthen both efficiency and competitiveness.

The more automation and organization that is built into infrastructure and processes, the more efficient they become—and that can ultimately transform an organization’s bottom line and also the consumption of resources and overall sustainability impact. 

It is possible to combine digital innovation and sustainability. Arm yourself with the will, structure, and partnerships to make it happen!