Reach Out and Green Touch Someone

by Richard T. Stuebi

A few weeks ago, the legendary Bell Labs, now the R&D engine behind Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU), announced the launch of a new global initiative called Green Touch.

The goal of Green Touch is to “create the technologies needed to make communications networks 1000 times more energy efficient than they are today.” To put that in perspective, the Green Touch roll-out press release noted that a thousand-fold reduction in energy consumption would power the world’s communication networks for three years with the amount of energy now consumed in one day.

Given the likely continuance of exponential demand increases for bandwidth around the globe, the need to make communications technologies radically more energy efficient will be critical — or else.

The founding members of Green Touch are a who’s who of high-technology, including enormous telecoms like AT&T (NYSE: T) and China Mobile, academic research labs such as MIT’s Research Laboratory for Electronics and Stanford University’s Wireless Systems Labs, and industrial labs (not only Bell Labs but Samsung’s Advanced Institute of Technology).

Green Touch is seeking additional collaboration partners, so if you’re interested and can contribute materially, it should be a fascinating table at which to sit.

Richard T. Stuebi is a founding principal of the advanced energy initiative at NorTech, where he is on loan from The Cleveland Foundation as its Fellow of Energy and Environmental Advancement. He is also a Managing Director in charge of cleantech investment activities at Early Stage Partners, a Cleveland-based venture capital firm.

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