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Sustainability, Innovation, and Partnership Series - Episode 1

#KingstonCognate introduces Prof. Sally Eaves and Neil Cattermull

Prof. Sally Eaves

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Prof. Sally Eaves is a highly experienced Chief Technology Officer, Professor in Advanced Technologies, and a Global Strategic Advisor on Digital Transformation specializing in the application of emergent technologies, notably AI, FinTech, Blockchain & 5G disciplines, for business transformation and social impact at scale. An international keynote speaker and author, Sally was an inaugural recipient of the Frontier Technology and Social Impact award, presented at the United Nations in 2018, and has been described as the ‘torchbearer for ethical tech,’ founding Aspirational Futures to enhance inclusion, diversity, and belonging in the technology space and beyond.

Neil Cattermull

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Neil has over 35 years of experience working with technology across multiple sectors and brings a unique perspective on easily understood technical strategies to technical and non-technical audiences. Technology analyst and social media influencer across emerging technology sectors. Leading industry analyst across multiple business sectors, including Cloud, Blockchain, 5G, storage, and many others, as well as CEO at the Future as a Service - enabling consumers of technology to make the right choice, one service at a time.

Reflect, reframe, and reimagine are Sally’s keywords for 2020 and looking at 2021 - how can we move beyond the pandemic to change for business and society? As we have experienced across the globe, technology and its accessibility have proven to be the vital conduit to support both critical impact and outcomes.

How can data centers meet the sustainability challenge?

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As explored in a previous article, data centers have proved both invaluable and resilient to the demands of the 3 V’s of Data: Volume, Veracity, and Velocity. And notably in a context of continual volatility brought about by the coronavirus pandemic and the accelerated move to distributed working, learning and entertainment at scale. But as our global data and power consumption ever increases, what about the sustainability impact? Reducing energy consumption across all industries is an imperative to achieve net zero and limit global warming to 1.5°C.

For data centers, this has two core components - operations and design. For operations, this includes ‘Smart Tech’ monitoring and predictive capabilities using sensors, AI, and automation across key performance areas, notably temperature control, cooling, and power distribution/protection. This enables heightened levels of real-time remote visibility and optimized actions to anticipate needs and reduce overall consumption.

For design, this includes the development of modular energy-efficient data centers using recycled materials, reclaimed water, and alternative sustainable energy sources - for example wind, biomass, tidal, geothermal, and solar. Finally, public transparency including active reporting on the measures taken is vital alongside influencing overall supply chain activity (e.g., on the sourcing of materials). At Kingston we disclose our environmental and social impact.

How to optimize your IT infrastructure - evolve, build, or replace?

Many businesses today are navigating within the juxtaposition of ‘doing more with less’ - needing to keep tight a rein on cash flow and costs, yet also needing to innovate. Every situation is different, so the overarching advice is always to personalize strategy to your specific business context along the incremental to transformational innovation continuum - and to continually reflect and review this.

With capital to invest - and its noticeable that many organizations have ‘stepped-up’ to offer more flexible finance options - this investment in innovation will reduce operational costs both short term and over time. For example, the DC500 SSD can reduce license and capital costs by up to 39%, improving productivity from AI, machine learning, and big data analytics to cloud computing, software-defined storage, operational databases (ODB), database applications, and data warehousing.

Equally, and embedding in circular economy value principals, we can also optimize what we already have and get ‘more life’ out of existing technology infrastructure. As an example, memory and SSD upgrades offer cost-effective means to significantly increase laptop and PC performance. Everyone is aware of the benefits of migrating from HDD to SSD, and we are now seeing the next SSD evolution from SATA to NVMe. Kingston’s entry-level SSDs are 10x faster than a spinning hard drive. With this approach, you can enable cost-optimized incremental innovation that grows when you do.

What are the key pillars of tech partnership?

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Overall, there are 5 key pillars behind strong enduring partnerships, namely Trust, Cost, Performance, Flexibility, and Innovation. As part of this, longevity can be pivotal to develop not only trust in the technology itself, but also the people, culture, values, and relationships behind it. Indeed, this goes to the very heart of human-tech partnerships. In today’s context of continual change across economy, society, and environment, the nimbleness or ambidexterity to adapt, both in attitude and capabilities is critical - alongside the capacity and willingness to personalize experiences. In fact, this has probably never mattered more.

Individuals and organizations alike - from a 1-person start-up to a rapidly evolving large enterprise - need support to navigate the noise, to distinguish hype from reality, and hope from fear or resistance to change. Drawing on Sally’s personal experiences with Kingston Technology, and underpinned by free highly accessible services such as ‘Ask an Expert,’ this approach really comes to the core - it is centered on facilitation, guiding people through the choices available and personalized to you, your business, and your specific context. The very ethos of a trusted partnership.

Concluding, in this ‘Tech Foresight’ exploration of how we can move beyond business continuity to resilience, adaptability, and growth, embedding sustainability by design emerges as core, alongside the five pillars of trusted partnership and organizational agility across culture and capabilities alike. To support the dualities of innovating but controlling costs, and increasing simplicity at a time of rising complexity, having the right technology infrastructure is critical - and we have seen that can be achieved with both incremental and transformational approaches to innovation, tailored to business context every time.

Watch this video to find out more from industry experts on sustainability.

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