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Down With Vampire Power

Sarah Thomas

5:05 PM -- IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) is working on an initiative to rid the world of vampire power, the energy lost when electronics are plugged in and not in use. The goal of the project, being conducted with an EU-funded group, is to reduce electronics' power consumption tenfold when active and make it negligible when in standby.

To achieve this lofty goal, "Project Steeper" will use nanotechnology to reduce power consumption at the transistor level to operating voltages of less than 0.5 volts, thus reducing the power consumption by one order of magnitude.

Admittedly, I wanted to write about this because Halloween is this weekend and I liked the vampire graphic, but it is an important issue either way -- and communications service provider-supplied devices are the worst-dressed vampires of all. (See Does Green Telecom Make Cents? and Sprint: WiMax Is Greenest Network Yet.)

Power from these devices when not in use accounts for 15 percent of all household electricity consumption, the EU says.

And, the benefit of low-power transistors isn't just in being eco-friendly, but also in prolonging battery life. It could also expedite the move to alternative energy, like solar and kinetic, for more efficient device charging.

I bet these are topics we'll hear more about at January's Consumer Electronics Show.

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

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12/5/2012 | 4:20:11 PM
re: Down With Vampire Power

A recent Washington Post article highlighted the fact that home energy usage is actually going up because of all the "always on" digital media in the home, including broadband modems (cable and telco), PCs, TVs, set-top boxes, media centers, etc., many of which are now never turned off.

Add to that the proliferation of surge protectors in the house and the energy vampires are running rampant.

Given that telecom providers want to paint themselves green, they are going to have to work with their CPE vendors in particular and address this issue.

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