Interview: Innovative IT solution can cut desktop computing energy cost by 35-50%

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In this next interview under the ‘Sustainable Technology Series’, V. K. Kripanand, Founder of See Beyond Technologies talks about InfraSecure, their innovative desktop energy reduction  product which was also recognized at the Parivartan Sustainability Summit earlier in the year.

V.K.Kripanand is one of the founders of See Beyond Technologies Pvt Ltd. and has over two decades of experience in various aspects of the IT industry related to software development, software engineering and systems engineering.  His company is a product development outfit, with a mission to build products and solutions in the areas of GREEN IT, software estimation, project management, and knowledge management.   In the recent 4 years, Mr. Kripanand has been passionate about environment and carbon footprint reduction and has spearheaded many initiatives and product innovations in areas of energy conservation. 

How important a role do you think the IT industry can play in helping India Inc become sustainable?
IT sector is taking a front runner position today to help organizations become sustainable.  Web conferencing, tele-presence, virtualization and GREEN IT initiatives are already helping organizations reduce travel and carbon emissions and move to a path of greater sustainability; and improved productivity.  As we move along, I am sure newer technologies and breakthroughs will further help organizations build a better foundation on sustainability.   IT plays a very important role today in every organization and so to say, it is the backbone of the business and it is going to become stronger by the day.   As we speak today, see beyond technologies is participating in a Virtual Trade Show to attract Value added resellers in a fair conducted by CRN, a publication from the UBM Group.

Can you tell us a little about the product infraSECURE- how exactly does it work?
infraSECURE is a desktop energy reduction toolset.   One of the key challenges that organizations face is the fact that IT has penetrated everywhere and it is the lifeline for many businesses.   In such a scenario productivity takes precedence over everything else.   An IT savvy organization spends close to 55% of its energy consumption on lighting and cooling.  The balance 45% is spent on computing needs.  Out of this 85% of the energy costs are due to desktop computing.   A lot of users do not turn off their computers when not in use. infraSECURE has a flexible power policy management capability with which organizations are able to effectively implement centralized power policies that let productivity and GREEN IT co-exist.  Based on the centralized power policies and exceptions defined to the policy, organizations can tap the benefit of productivity and at the same time add value to their bottom line and save on energy costs from desktop computing. infraSECURE ensures all desktop computers when not in use are in an almost zero power mode (hibernate).
Based on the power policy, desktop computers have an agent that intelligently saves power when users are not using the computer and reports back the energy savings to the central server.  

Why should companies deploy this product- what are some clear cut advantages of InfraSECURE as a product?
Organizations that have hundreds of desktop computers should deploy this product as energy reduction is a primary driver for them. infraSECURE is not only an energy saving product, but also optionally adds value as a desktop asset management and software compliance tool.   Organizations benefit because infraSECURE can add value in the following areas:
• Intelligent power templates to help productivity and GREEN IT co-exist
• Zero e-waste generation: the solution can be deployed on existing infrastructure
• 300 tons of CO2 reduction per annum can be established for an enterprise having 1000 desktop computers
• Simple to deploy and Easy to use management interface
• Architected with the key concept of deriving maximum power savings based on a intelligent feedback mechanism
• Quantifiable/ measurable reports for CTO/CFO to substantiate the reduction in power uptake
• Optional component to help in Assets Inventory, Compliance, Assets Management and Control

How much energy can we expect to save on an average by using infraSECURE?
Organizations that have deployed this solution are able to see a dip of 35-50% from their desktop computing energy costs.   A typical thumb rule approach to this calculation, though infraSECURE will provide actual data, is that the average non-productive time of a desktop computer in an IT savvy organization, is approximately 8 hours – which is 1/3rd of a productive day.  An interesting factor to note is that an average desktop computer consumes close to 3 electrical units in a 24 hour window if not turned off or put to low power mode.    A 33% decrease is easily achievable, which translates to conserving 1 electrical unit.  However, if the organization has leaner periods where the computers may not be used, this number will go up.   The most important aspect of this solution is the consistency on the energy savings that has been demonstrated.   We have long time customers who adopted this solution and are able to derive energy savings of 35% and above consistently.

What was the drive for conceptualizing such a cutting edge technology- client demand/market opportunity or something else?
A close friend of mine, Capt. Dayalu Arasappa is very passionate about environmental projects and has always been discussing his environmental initiatives and the outlook of sustainability with us.   A casual conversation where he mentioned that people are not turning off computers in his campus, highlighted a latent pain, led us to think hard on what can be done to change that.   In a very short time, we realized the potential and jumped straight into the opportunity.   Substantiating this inspiration was also our immense love of the land to save it from its power crisis and colossal wastage of power which resulted in building various solutions for conserving energy on a broader sense. Our product research and development work is on-going in the areas of energy conservation on utility lighting (a smart technology applied to use electrical appliances only when in-use), ATM power utility (designed for banking and financial industries, it blends the infraSECURE and utility lighting technologies) and so forth.

How long did it take to build infraSECURE – concept to finished product?
We had our first release ready in about 8 months time.  However, we went on further to strengthen the product based on further inputs from prospects and other implementations, which took another 8 months to come out with our more matured 2nd release.

How successful has the technology been in the market- both in terms of getting access to new markets as well as client feedback?
Client feedback till date has been excellent.   One of the most impressive features of the solution is that it is completely non-intrusive.  We have never had situations where customers had to ever complain about productivity loss or performance issues.   We can proudly say that all our customers are happy to use the solution and are deriving benefits on a daily basis.   We have also been able to apply this solution to more than one industry segment.  We have customers in Education, BFSI, IT/ITES, Retail and Healthcare sectors.

Are you also considering partnering with PC manufacturers to install infraSECURE in the OS before it reaches into the market?
This is a difficult proposition though we are trying to get this going.  Most organizations have different IT policies and in no way most of the hardware manufacturers are able to add value in that scenario, be it an end point solution or an anti-virus solution.   A similar situation exists for our solution as well.   One other key factor is that this solution is meant for the corporates and thus we are not targeting individual users, though eventually we hope to find a way to measure the power consumption in personal computers as a whole. For now, our approach has been to take the solution to the Corporate IT Management Group and sell the concept.

Can you mention some of the clients/case studies where infraSECURE implementation has been successful?
We have TESCO, MindTree Limited, ITC Infotech, KPIT Cummins, Infinite Computer Solutions, Doha Bank, Health Prime Services, Eurokids International and many others who have subscribed to this solution and have been successful.   I would specifically like to mention the case of MindTree who are a large user and have deployed this solution so far across 10000 computers in their network and have been able to bring down their energy quotient on desktop computing by 35%.

What is your marketing strategy for the product?
We are taking the direct marketing and the channel route.  Our marketing strategies for infraSECURE has been also architected to be green as much as possible.   We are not trying to spend dollars on marketing, increase the travel quotient and nullify the sustainability that the solution brings to the nation and the globe as a whole.   We are encouraging local partners who are inclined to selling a sustainability solution approach to their end customers and help us get our reach to markets out of where we operate.   We have a successful model of the same going in the Middle East market and have customers using the solution, without any of our executives ever traveling to the Middle East.

This interview has been conducted by Pramita Sen from the India Carbon Outlook team.

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Author: Pramita Sen