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Turning green with professional-grade PCs

Climate change negatively impacts our society, leaving businesses to find new ways to optimize business operations to reduce CO2 emissions

Sponsored Feature With governments around the world implementing policies and regulations aimed at achieving net-zero goals, many organizations are under pressure to figure out ways to optimize operations and make their energy use more sustainable.

Consequently, several businesses have set their own sustainability goals, such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improving energy efficiency practices and increasing the use of renewable energy sources.

While these sustainability targets are laudable, a recent UN report has shown that they have not been significant enough in reducing greenhouse emissions and addressing sustainability goals. This situation is more telling in the IT sector, where a great deal of emissions come from PC manufacturing; the use of laptops, desktops and physical servers in offices; and the way those devices are recycled.

Besides the high carbon footprint from PC manufacturing, data centers also contribute to high carbon emissions due to the high volume of electricity they need to power large networks of computing and storage resources. An IOP Science Environmental Research shows that data centers account for around 1.8% of total electricity use in the United States, contributing approximately 0.5% of total US greenhouse gas emissions.

Given this situation, more companies are looking beyond renewable energy targets and power management of their PCs to meet sustainability goals. The attention is shifting towards emissions related to PC value chain, which includes emissions from PC manufacturing and recycling. As a result, enterprises committed to meeting sustainability goals face the challenge of assembling PCs and electronic products with enhanced sustainability features. In view of these challenges, the question that comes to mind is, 'how can enterprises cut down their carbon emission whilst also meeting their business goals'?

One of the best ways businesses can reduce their carbon footprint is to take every necessary step to ensure that IT equipment, including PCs and desktops, are designed to be sustainable. This approach will involve procuring devices manufactured sustainably, that are energy efficient and ensuring they reuse/recycle devices responsibly. This is where the Intel vPro® platform comes in.

Enter Intel vPro

So how can Intel vPro help enterprises reduce CO2 emissions, cut down energy spending, enhance sustainability commitments and improve productivity? Let's find out in detail.

Intel describes vPro as the business computing foundation that makes PCs professional-grade, with the differentiating factors between Intel vPro and other PC management tools being business class performance, enhanced security, and modern manageability features. It is a set of hardware-based technologies built into Intel® Core™ vPro® processors designed to help organizations improve their PC performance, security, stability and manageability. Features baked into the Intel vPro platform include Intel® Active Management Technology (Intel® AMT), Intel® Endpoint Management Assistant (Intel® EMA), and the Intel® Stable IT Platform Program (Intel® SIPP). It also houses other capabilities, such as advanced wireless and a number of hardware-based security technologies included via Intel® Hardware Shield which are exclusive to the platform.

Intel vPro has been around for over 15 years and is a platform built specifically for business clients, especially as it relates to laptops and desktops that people use for work and how to make them energy efficient and ensure enterprise-grade security and manageability. A recent Forrester report revealed businesses that invested in Intel vPro-powered PCs recorded many benefits. These included a reduction in annual IT spending and security-related incidents for example, as well as an improvement in employee productivity. Forrester also cited a telecommunications company that estimated it had avoided 2,000 truck rolls that would have involved engineers driving to remote locations, which has a direct impact on sustainability.

The Intel® Stable IT Platform Program (SIPP) also provides stability for IT managers by making sure that PCs constantly update to the latest drivers and latest OS releases, says Roberta Zouain, Business Clients Platform Manager at Intel. Heads of IT departments can leverage these features to schedule software updates, security patches and other maintenance tasks outside of business hours when business activities are typically lower, for example.

Manageability and sustainability goals

A major benefit here is the ability to remotely access and control a computer, even if it is powered off or in sleep mode. This is made possible by Intel AMT, which allows IT administrators to access the computers BIOS, remotely power it on or off, and control it as if they were sitting in front of it – very useful for performing tasks such as software updates, troubleshooting, and maintenance.

"A key component is Out-of-Band manageability which enables organizations to manage their PCs remotely even if the OS doesn't boot, avoiding unnecessary trips to the office." explains Zouain.

The ability to remotely diagnose and repair problems within a computer or fleet of computers provided by Intel AMT can help IT managers apply fixes to a range of system issues like repairing corrupt applications, and drivers, and running OS upgrades.

As an illustration, consider a scenario where an employee's PC is infected with a virus when they are not in the office. The IT department then has two choices: dispatch an engineer to physically fix the problem, which can be quite time-consuming; or utilize Intel vPro to access the device remotely, perform updates and reset it to proper functioning without having to leave their desk. So, deploying Intel vPro also eliminates the need for the engineer to physically visit the location where the computers are set up, which can reduce costs and CO2 emissions.

Intel AMT enables efficient energy management of PC fleets, both inside and outside firewalls, via a web interface. The host wake-up feature also allows you to set an alarm clock to wake up the host processor when it is in sleep mode or powered off. With these features enabled, organizations can conserve network bandwidth and energy use by enabling power on/off scheduling for multiple PCs that might otherwise have been left on 24/7.

The manageability features on Intel vPro also allow IT managers to turn devices off and on wirelessly, something that other suppliers' tools don't always support. "Intel's solution can turn PCs off and on remotely and can work over wired or wireless networks; most competing solutions in the market use Wake on LAN, which requires a wired (Ethernet) connection." adds Zouain.

Security features deter unauthorized access

Intel vPro also provides advanced security features to help protect sensitive data and systems. For example, Intel AMT supports encrypted communication, secure boot, and secure remote access, which collectively make it difficult for unauthorized users to access sensitive data or systems and help to prevent malware and other security threats from compromising the system.

In conclusion, Intel vPro has the potential to help organizations reduce their carbon footprint and meet sustainability targets while simultaneously providing a wide range of tools and capabilities that make it easier and more cost-effective for IT administrators to manage and maintain large numbers of personal computers. Whether you're looking to streamline your IT operations, increase security, improve performance, or cut down energy use, Intel vPro can help you achieve these goals.

Sponsored by Intel vPro.

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