While sustainability efforts are incredibly popular with customers, they come at a cost. Vendors will push out sustainability metrics so that they can talk sustainability while pushing the cost of any serious efforts off until later years. At Cisco Live this year, Cisco once again showcased that it’s incredibly focused on sustainability efforts because it understands these efforts are on the list of customers’ top five priorities. Cisco also understands that if it were to get caught just giving lip service to the related efforts, it would burn trust and likely lose a significant number of customers to vendors who took sustainability more seriously.
Thus, Cisco has been one of the firms most focused on making a real difference for nearly two decades. Given data center servers consume around 2% of all the electrical energy in the U.S. alone and that energy consumption is around 30% of recurring data center cost, finding ways to conserve data center energy would seem to provide not only a strong sustainability argument for a Cisco solution but a strategic economic advantage as well.
Let’s talk about some of the sustainability initiatives Cisco focused on at Cisco Live this year.
I’ve been following Cisco’s sustainability efforts for some time now and have been impressed with the work it has done with smart office buildings, WebEx (allowing workers to work from home), its unique CDA (Country Digital Acceleration) program, and aggressive efforts to deal with homelessness near any of Cisco’s corporate sites. At Cisco Live events, it isn’t unusual to loop attendees into efforts that address some of the more troubling sustainability problems where the event is being held.
Cisco takes sustainability very seriously, and this comes from the top, where Chuck Robbins, Cisco’s CEO, almost always puts sustainability first and foremost in his keynote speeches. He gets it, and his passion for the topic has spread broadly across Cisco.
At Live this year, Cisco took it a bit further.
Sustainability at Cisco Live 2023
Cisco aggressively looped sustainability across its various product categories at Cisco Live 2023. For instance, with Webex, it announced Carbon Emission Insights, which monitors energy use across Webex devices so that energy impact from meetings, messaging and video can be assessed and better managed. It would help if it also captured potential energy savings resulting from using Webex to make the reports more comprehensive and better drive sustainable behavior like avoiding jet travel.
The Cisco Nexus Dashboard has been enhanced to provide a powerful, intuitive interface for cloud and data-center networks. This addresses the essential need for visibility and control to optimize and better secure complex corporate networks with plans to expand this capability across the Cisco Networking Cloud, making it far more impactful in the process.
The Cisco IoT Operations Dashboard allows customers to access securely, real-time metrics on their equipment regardless of where it resides, even if it resides in challenging, far-off environments. This allows them to remotely detect and troubleshoot issues, lowering response times and, through related optimization, lowering the carbon footprint of the analyzed operational elements.
Cisco is leading in the use of energy networking through the aggressive use of DC PoE (Power over Ethernet) tools that can be more efficiently and centrally managed, along with power lighting, security cameras, and other low-voltage devices. Through its partner Energybox, Cisco has expanded its energy management and control solutions to include larger systems like heating, air conditioning, and large-scale lighting.
Finally, Cisco reiterated that energy management across all of Cisco’s products was a long-standing focus and part of its path to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions across its value chain (Scope 1,2 and 3) by 2040.
Again, at Cisco Live, the company made a massive effort to showcase its sustainability focus. Cisco is one of the most sustainable technology companies I cover and truly believes that building sustainability into its plans isn’t just critical for the planet; it is critical for Cisco to maintain and grow revenues and profits.
Working globally, Cisco is one of our greatest tech sustainability champions, and it showcased again why this remains the case at Cisco Live 2023.