Bell Labs, Alcatel-Lucent’s (NYSE:ALU) research and innovation arm, announced the launch of Green Touch, an initiative to improve communications networks’ energy efficiency, today. With the help of founding members AT&T (NYSE:T), chipmaker Freescale, hardware maker Samsung Electronics and more than a dozen others, the group has vowed to create technologies that will make communications networks 1,000 times more energy efficient than they are today.
Bell Labs announced the consortium today with backing from the world’s energy leaders. The organization said that within five years, Green Touch will have the reference network architecture and demonstration of key components required to realize its lofty ambitions. According to Alcatel-Lucent, an thousand-fold reduction is equivalent to being able to power the world’s communications networks, including the Internet, for three years using the same amount of energy that it currently takes to run them for a single day.
The new consortium, which also includes academia and government labs, will hold its first meeting in February to establish a plan to achieve this goal, as well as first-year deliverables, member roles and responsibilities. The group will open up membership to all members of the information and communications industries. Competing vendors such as Nokia Siemens Networks and Ericsson are also exploring ways to more efficiently power cellular base stations and cut down energy usage. So while Alcatel-Lucent won’t be the only company to launch a green initiative, it is hoping to be the most comprehensive.
“If you are willing to embrace open collaboration, if you are willing to embrace the brains in the world and bring them together and let them work on an issue that seems insurmountable, speculator things can happen….The real issue is that this will be a vast amount of innovation that will be used in our industry and far beyond,” said Alcatel-Lucent CEO Ben Verwaayen, at a press conference today. “That is the lesson we’ve seen from the innovation so far.”