The World Bank issued a report yesterday showing that the number of mobile phone subscriptions in use worldwide, both pre-paid and post-paid, has now reached over 6 billion.
The report went on to reveal that more than 30 billion mobile applications, or “apps,” were downloaded in 2011 alone – these apps extend the capabilities of phones, for instance to become mobile wallets, navigational aids or price comparison tools. However the apps also have a cost associated with their use – they drain the phone’s battery.
Some of these apps are energy hogs – they require a lot of energy to run, and so they drain the phone’s battery quickly (maybe they are legitimately using the camera, the GPS radio, and the 3G network simultaneously). Other apps have bugs in them whereby they may not properly close out battery use after a particular function and they continue to drain the battery. Until now, there has been no way to identify which apps were the ones draining your battery’s charge.
I have written a couple of times here before wondering why there was no energy management app for smart phones. Now there is – Carat.
Why would Carbon Trust do that? After all, what does mobile network optimisation have to do with energy management? According to the newenergyworldnetwork story:
Rachael Nutter of CT Investment Partners said, ‘Energy consumption in mobile phone base stations is a significant proportion of the opex of mobile operators, as high as 50 per cent in the most extreme cases.
That’s the thing about sustainability – it doesn’t need to be seen as a cost center… rather it can, and should be, part of optimisation activities. Lower carbon, lower energy, cheaper mobile roll-outs. What’s not to like?
If you’ve been following GreenMonk for a while you should know we’re wedded to bottom up sustainability approaches – “from the roots up” as we call it, which is one reason we’ve sponsored, and contributed to the awesome UK HomeCamp community, founded by Chris Dalby, who now works at UK smartmeter firm Current Cost. Seems things are moving along there too.
One of the key players attempting to drive home automation as an activity for “civilians” is ZigBee. It just started working with GreenPeak, which specialises in ultra low power mobile silicon chips, designed to be used in battery-free devices. [See a theme emerging? ] No batteries isn’t just a lower carbon play though- it also means less heavy metals and toxic chemicals. What’s the news? GreenPeak is now Zigbee compliant.
Ironically enough, when I searched for a creativecommons attribution only shot of a smartmeter i found one from my colleague Michael Coté in Austin. His utility called it a smartmeter, but unless he has access to the data generated I don’t see how it deserves the name. But that’s a subject for a different blog, and indeed a line of Greenmonk research.
The really keen eyed among you may have noticed how many of the links above come from newnet news. No accident. I love the feed. Its like a shot of good news tequila every morning – something to warm your spirits.
I participated in the recent IBM Global Eco Jam and there were some fantastic discussions there.
One of the discussions surprised me though – people were still talking about unplugging mobile phone chargers as if that was a significant problem. It is not. On the contrary, it is a dangerous distraction.
Watch the video above. Seriously, do. I’ll wait.
The mobile phone chargers I tested all consumed 0.1W or less of electricity when left plugged in and not charging a phone. That is minute.
Sure, I get that if you add up all the millions of mobile phone chargers across the country, all those millions of 0.1W adds up to a significant load. I get that. I do.
LED spot light
However, if you change one 50W halogen bulb for a 3.6W LED alternative that is the equivalent of unplugging over 460 mobile phone chargers. And that’s just from changing one bulb. How many bulbs do you have in your house? How many houses are there across the country containing how many bulbs?
Or forget light bulbs. What about the electricity draw of other devices in your house when they are plugged in but not operating (this is called standby power!)?
Mobile phone chargers, for some reason, seem to have been picked up by people as the bad boys when it comes to standby power. That is a dangerous fallacy. Why dangerous? People who are trying to do the right thing are ensuring that they unplug their mobile phone chargers, potentially unaware that their microwave/printer/games console is consuming orders of magnitude more power than the phone charger.
Switchable power strip
Don’t get me wrong, sure you shouldn’t leave your phone charger plugged in, but it is likely that there are far larger standby draws in your home or office you should be aware of. Educate yourself. Find out which of your devices draws the most power
Against that backdrop I was surprised to hear today that Skype have decided to eviscerate their Skype Developer Program (SDP). The SDP is responsible for Skype’s APIs.
Paul Amery, the director, Lester Madden, Product manager, Romain Bertrand and others from marketing were all reportedly axed today. In one fell swoop Skype appears to have culled half of the developer program.
This would appear to be related to the Niklas’ departure. The new management obviously want to send out a message to developers that “We are not interested in Open dev”
Obviously Skype know something about the folly of building extensible platforms that eludes the rest of us!