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2Go Version 4, Digital Transformation

Are you missing a shortcut on your road to Net Zero?

Many organisations around the world have signed up to the drive for Net Zero. Increasingly, governments and major organisations are insisting on including commitments to carbon reduction within their operations, as they strive to meet aggressive targets to achieve Net Zero.

In the past couple of years there has been a major surge in popularity of net zero emission targets. At the time of this article, over 360 major companies having already signed up to the “Business Ambition for 1.5°C” initiative. This seeks concrete ways to ultimately achieve a zero-carbon future by 2050.

As a result, it is becoming ever more important for businesses, both large and small, as well as government bodies, both central and local, to work on their decarbonisation programs. Indeed, Atos, a major global system integrator, has recently acquired EcoAct, the leading decarbonisation strategy consulting company, to assist their clients with creating and achieving a sustainable decarbonisation program. Many organisations are already working hard to drive out or offset their carbon emissions.

So what’s all this about “a shortcut”?

Many organisations are, quite correctly, taking a hard look at their carbon footprint and ways they can reduce this, whilst still maintaining their operations. The obvious areas to look at are:

• Reduction in the use of fossil fuels
• Increased use of renewable energy sources
• Improvements in buildings such as building management systems and smart metering
• Changes to sourcing and manufacturing practices to reduce the level of inventories and space utilised whilst also improving efficiency and reducing power demands

Responses to many of these areas have, of course, been severely impacted by the global pandemic. The wholesale change in working practice, which various lockdowns have imposed on our economies, has revealed something which can act very positively to help organisations achieve their net zero goals – people can be trusted to work remotely!

Setting aside, for a moment, the very real concerns about mental health issues from the sense of isolation and stress caused by trying to work from home rather than travel into the office, there are some significant benefits to be gained from including, within your strategy, the ability for all of your staff to work remotely, should they and you wish to do so.

We have all experienced the sharp reduction in commuting traffic, caused by the various lockdowns and the unplanned move of the workplace from the office to the home desk, but what would it look like if we continued to work this way?

There are an increasing number of studies being published which deal with the effect upon staff of being given the opportunity to work, wherever and whenever they wish. This can include a number of positive contributions to the organisation’s efforts at carbon emission reductions.

The reduction or elimination of commuting has a number of side-effects, not all of them immediately obvious. For example, many would argue that the reduction in commuter traffic has made a significant short-term reduction in the use of fossil fuels as people leave their cars in the drive and cut out the daily drive to and from work – a positive impact.

However, that same reduction of commuting has also led to problems with the funding of more energy efficient means of transport such as electric buses and, shortly, hydrogen powered trains. These, by their very nature, are a more effective means of reducing the carbon footprint of the passengers concerned, who elect not to drive.

Working from home has also shifted the balance of power consumption over the past couple of years. Energy-efficient office buildings, often using renewable energy sources, are designed to house large numbers of employees and are being rendered less efficient, as a result of the smaller number of workers currently coming into work.

There is also a potentially negative impact in that the remote workers are, of necessity, using their domestic power, not necessarily generated from renewable sources, to heat/cool and light their working environment. However, this typically means heating/cooling the entire home rather than just the area taken up by the worker, so could mean that, overall, they are creating more carbon emissions rather than lowering them.

It has been suggested that a hybrid arrangement, where:

1. staff work in offices during the winter months, when the more energy efficient heating and ventilation of offices has more effect, coupled with

2. working from home in the summer, when there is less domestic power needed to heat and light homes, could result in an ideal balance.

Perhaps there may even be a movement for employers to meet their employees power costs whilst working from home. This assumes that the employer ensures that the domestic supply is also from renewable sources – this could have a substantial benefit to both employers and employees alike!

Whatever the arrangement of the remote working environment though, there are some further obstacles to carbon reduction which also need to be addressed such as:

Is it practical for staff to work remotely?

There are still many functions, especially in the manufacturing arena, which still call for the physical presence of workers. These are unlikely to be able to be productive if forced to work from home. However, systems could be improved and/or automated to allow for remote monitoring and intervention.

Are staff capable of working remotely?

This is not just a question of personality or of trust, but also brings into play such issues as:

1. availability of equipment,
2. capacity and speed of internet and mobile connections,
3. suitability of home premises to provide a working environment,
4. security and levels of access to critical business systems.

Can remote workers be as productive as office-based workers?

There is a school of thought that suggests that, far from being less productive, the freedom to work, wherever and whenever they choose, creates an atmosphere within which employees become more rather than less productive. With careful selection of how they can work remotely rather than should they work remotely, this productivity can be even further enhanced.

How can we enable workers to work remotely?

Whilst large numbers of staff have recently been rapidly coming to terms with video-conferencing (Zoom, Teams etc.), online software tools (Office 365,, etc.) there are still many applications, in use in organisations today, which do not lend themselves easily to being used remotely. As a result, only portions of the organisation’s operations are currently capable of being used remotely.

The solution to this challenge has been known for some considerable time. It is variously known as remote access software, virtual desktop infrastructure or even by the brand names of some of the suppliers such as Citrix, TeamViewer, VMWare and others

However, the deployment of such systems masks the opportunity to take the “shortcut” mentioned in the title of this article, which is to go one step further and provide Mobile Universal Access – just like remote access but better!

Why does this constitute a “shortcut” to decarbonisation?

Well, let’s take a look at how a typical IT environment is structured.

The organisation may already have moved all of its IT infrastructure into “the cloud” using such systems as Amazon Web Services, Azure, Google Cloud or even IBM Cloud but this is the exception rather than the rule. A recent Statista report quoted that, even with the effect of the pandemic, the proportion of US retail which was online was only 14% and another revealed that take up of cloud services in some sectors is even lower.

We will assume, therefore, that this “typical” organisation has a mix of some online systems and some legacy applications which cannot be accessed via “the cloud”.

This hybrid approach requires an organisation to maintain two different types of delivery mechanism: better!

On Premise

This describes the provision of networked servers residing in one or more datacenters which are either directly owned and controlled by the organisation or provided as a physical location by a third-party vendor, to the organisation

Cloud based

This describes the provision of “cloud computing” where all provision is outsourced to the cloud vendor e.g. AWS and there is no physical location involved as far as the organisation is concerned.

The cloud-based delivery mechanism is easy to access. All you require is a connection and a browser. You can work with any software which you are allowed to access, within this capability.

We’ll focus in for this section however, on only one aspect, which is the relative carbon footprint of desktop vs laptop vs tablet.

The table below shows the relative CO2e outputs of three alternative “computing” platforms. These are extracted from the product carbon footprint statements from a leading vendor of desktop and laptops and a leading vendor of tablets.

From this it is evident that replacing desktops with laptops based purely upon carbon footprint would reduce CO2e by some 25%. Replacing laptops with tablets would reduce CO2e by some 91.5%!

The “shortcut” referred to in the title is, therefore, that the organisation should strive to replace as many desktop and laptop computers with tablets. In an ideal world, replacement all of their desktops with tablets could achieve a reduction of 93.5% for every machine replaced!

But how can we use “XYZ” application on a tablet?

For many, this is seen as the major obstacle to taking advantage of the massive savings in carbon emissions available through moving to modern tablet devices. For many organisations this is considered a “deal breaker”. The application whilst business critical, may either be a legacy application, or one which is bespoke, and, thereby, not easy to deliver onto a tablet!

Whilst using “cloud-based” applications on a tablet is straightforward, this is not true of “on- premise” applications. These may require more complex arrangements, such as mobile app development, to enable them to be used on a tablet.

In carbon reduction terms this is a wrong turn!

A Gartner study, published a few years ago, estimated that, in order to replicate the capability of their installed base of enterprise applications, the average large corporation – employing more than 500 staff – would require in excess of 2,000 mobile apps to be developed.

A further study, conducted by Kinvey, reported that the “average” mobile app development project took approx. 18 weeks from start to finish (and also cost in excess of $250,000!).

Some 16,000 organisations in the US alone could be described as a “large corporation”. It is evident that the carbon emissions involved in trying to develop all of the mobile apps predicted to be used by these organisations, runs into millions of tons of CO2e!

As a rough estimate, the calculation would go something like:

2000 developers (assuming 1 developer per app) * 8 hours a day * 5 days a week * 18 weeks =
1.44 million man/hours * 150W power consumption per desktop = 216MWh

This amount of consumption equates to in excess of 50,000 kgCO2e for just 1 of the 16,000 organisations !

Luckily, there is an alternative approach:
• which requires no mobile app development,
• is fully data secure, as no data is stored on the tablet,
• and enables organisations to rapidly deploy ALL of their critical business systems for use on tablets within days,
• and sometimes within hours!

The 2Go Universal Mobile Access software solution ( can provide full use of any of your systems on Apple or Android devices. It even works on smartphones as well. It can be implemented, either within your datacenter or using the network of 2Go servers already established around the globe, within the Amazon Web Services network or similar systems from other cloud vendors.

So, for an immediate shortcut on your road to net zero, why not implement 2Go and transition all of your staff to tablet based working in place of desktops and laptops? Not only will you save substantial amounts of carbon emissions but you’ll also save money too!

If you’d like to discuss any of the details within this article, feel free to reach out to us at where we’ll be happy to explain a very different approach to remote working.

David Monks

Responsible for the day-to-day operations at iNovar. David's current focus is to scale 2Go through partnerships with System Integrators and Consultants.

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