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The power of networks - BT Connect

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An exploration of the reality and promise of global connectivity.

An exploration of the reality and promise of global connectivity.
Research and analysis from the team at BT Global Services.

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The power of networks - BT Connect The power of networks - BT Connect Document Transcript

  • The power of networksAn exploration of the reality and promise of global connectivity.Research and analysis from the team at BT Global Services.
  • First there were computers.They held the promise of a bright new future, but sat there blinking atyou. They were unconnected, and not a lot seemed to happen on them.Then came networks.They started off uniting big organisations such as universities,governments and companies. Then they united the world.Suddenly, people could connect online. They could talk, meet andshare. And the world began to change.We’ve lived with these changes, moved with them and tried to adaptto them, but have any of us ever stopped to really think about them?About what a network actually is and what it can do for our business? The power of networks 3
  • The power of more than oneHere at BT, we think about it a lot. We’ve talked to scientists Today, the parameters are changing. People hot-desk. Theyand academics to define what an intelligent network bring their own personal devices, like iPads and mobileis – and what the difference is between a machine and phones, into work. You decide to open an office in Delhi ora sentient being. Rio. Rather than having to keep rebuilding it, you need a network that can adapt to these changes.Take a neuron. On its own it’s just a cell giving off electricalor chemical charges. But when it’s connected by synapses In another special report, we go to Greece, where people’sto other cells, together they make the nervous system that parameters have also changed: an economy in crisis, acontrols the body. currency under threat, a lack of opportunities. It’s in this climate that more than 20 new networks have sprung upBy joining together they form an intelligent system. It’s the to provide alternative ways of trading. Which suggests thatpower of more than one. these people are looking for a system that’s more durable,It’s a power that’s felt by people all around the world when more reliable, more suited to their needs. A system theythey form networks in their daily lives. So in this white paper can trust.we’ve found networks we think are interesting: creative anddynamic networks that people around the globe have formed S is for Survivable and Sustainableto solve problems and improve their lives. And we’ve had top An intelligent network is one that recognises threats againstjournalists find out what makes them work. it, and finds ways of mending itself. It’s able to survive.We think these stories are good ways of illustrating different For this we look at how the established media joined forcesaspects of what defines a network – and what makes it an with social media during the upheavals across the Arab worldintelligent one. And we’ve asked our BT experts to respond last year. Faced with the threat of hostile governments, theyto the journalists’ reports and flag up the things they have worked together to get the story out and changed the facein common. of media forever. In the future, communications networks will be self-S is for Simple and Sensitive correcting. They’ll find any threat to the system or weaknessSo what are the attributes that are shared by intelligent in the way they’re running and cure it. But we’re not therenetworks the world over? yet. We all know that sometimes applications run too slowly,For a start, intelligent networks are simple. In our first report emails get delayed or phone calls don’t happen.we’ll tell you about one we found in China that’s exactly that. We can solve those problems. We can analyse how you useIt sends texts containing market information to farmers’ your data and help you give priority to the right traffic. Wemobile phones. Simple, yes. But when that information have professionals who’ll design your network to work bettercan mean the difference between a farmer selling his only – not by adding to it but by making it fit for purpose.crop and not selling it, then it can also mean the differencebetween life and death. And our final key attribute of an intelligent network is an important word in today’s world – sustainable. WorkingWe can make your network simple. We won’t sell you every together is more efficient than working alone. And wegizmo going – we’ll advise you how you can use what you found a great example of this in a scheme that’s unitinghave. One customer was surprised when we reduced the people in the socially divided city of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.bandwidth of their network by 75 per cent. But they were Time journalist Andrew Downie takes us there.pleased when it worked better (and cost less). Simple. Sensitive. Survivable. Sustainable.The next attribute of an intelligent network is that it’ssensitive. And by that we mean that it can adapt to change We call ours BT Connect.and understand what it needs to do, intuitively.For example, in the past you had a certain number of phones Claire Ritchieand desktop computers in your company. And you could build Report editora network that joined them up. Head of BT Connect marketing4 The power of networks
  • Our analystsAt BT, networks are our business.And we want to share our knowledge of networks with you. Alongsidethese journalists’ reports about networks from around the world, you’llfind some analysis from our BT experts on the qualities that make ournetworks intelligent. So let us take you on a tour of the four ‘S’s…Simple SurvivableAndrew Dell, our director of integrated services Toby Weir-Jones, from BT Assure, tells usand assurance, is a big believer in standardised about how we make our networks secureservices to keep costs down. by preventing man-made threats from destabilising our networks.Adrian Smith, our technical director for networkinfrastructure, makes the case for convergence, Adrian Comley, our general manager for IParguing that carrying applications over one Connect, gives us an insight into how ourreliable network will make your life simple. networks can survive natural disasters.And Graeme Stoker, our director of onlinestrategy, introduces you to ‘My Account” portal Sustainablea new and simple way of seeing how your own Simon O’Neill, one of our strategists, talksnetwork is performing. about how BT networks can help save the planet, explaining concepts such as virtualisation and smart metering which canSensitive lead to huge efficiencies.Dan Poulter, our senior product marketingmanager, is concerned about your applicationsrunning smoothly and wants networks to be And finally… an intelligent futuresensitive enough to adapt to change. with intelligent networks Alan Wardy, from our innovate and design unit, elaborates on the exciting future of technology and how, despite living in an era of data overload, smart decisions can save us time and money. The power of networks 5
  • 6 The power of networks
  • SimpleHow a market informationnetwork has given China’sfarmers a lifelineWhen Chinese farmer Qi Minglin harvested Saved by the beep A solution arrived with an unceremonious beep froma bumper crop of potatoes last autumn, Qi’s battered mobile phone. He read the 70-characterhe wasn’t in the mood for celebrating. text message, which named a supermarket supplier in a“I thought of suicide,” he later told local neighbouring province who needed about 20 tonnes of potatoes. Qi called the contact number in the message andmedia. “So I could forget the potatoes that negotiated a price, which wasn’t as high as he’d hoped butsurrounded me.” helped cover his land rental costs.Qi’s home county of Wuchuan in Inner Qi’s text message came courtesy of Nonxintong, a service that connects millions of farmers across China, enablingMongolia is a farming area where locals them to sell their produce directly to suppliers. Eighty perdepend on growing potatoes for survival. cent of Chinese farmers now use mobile phones, accordingAfter prices reached unprecedented highs in to China Mobile, the country’s largest phone service provider. By subscribing to Nonxintong (the name is formed2010, Qi thought that growing more tubers from three Chinese characters which mean ‘countryside’,would be a guaranteed money-spinner. He ‘information’ and ‘connect’), farmers receive updates onrented extra land from his neighbours and prices, subsidies and potential buyers for their crops. An estimated 50 million Chinese farmers currently subscribeplanted his biggest ever crop. to the service, making Nonxintong one of the most widely used networks in China. Few Chinese farmers have reliable internet access. Before Nonxintong launched in 2004, they relied on local newspapers for information on prices and government subsidies. But costly newspaper subscriptions are beyond the financial reach of most farmers. “Usually, farmers had to go to the village government offices to read newspapers,” said Zhao Youjiang, head of Nonxintong’s Henan office. In contrast, a Nonxintong subscription costs just two yuan (about 30 US cents) each month. “The information carried by Nonxintong is also more timely than any newspaper report could be,” adds Zhao. The power of networks 7
  • Keeping it simpleThere are three million Nonxintong subscribers in the centralChinese province of Henan and the service is managed froman apartment block on the edge of the provincial capital,Zhengzhou. Inside the office, ten university graduatessit at computers, checking the internet and updatingspreadsheets. They also answer calls from firms demandingagricultural products, and send out the details to farmerslike Qi.Nonxintong has adapted to the needs of its rural customers.The company realised that some farmers were havingdifficulties subscribing to the service, so it launched its ownSIM card which comes with Nonxintong pre-installed. “Theservice activates every time a farmer turns on their mobilephone, so it’s much simpler to use,” said Zhao.Given the often low levels of education amongst Chinesefarmers, it’s essential that Nonxintong’s messages areconcise. “All the information is conveyed in under 70 Chinesecharacters,” says Zhao. Within that limit, each messagecarries information about what the buyer wants, and howmuch of it, along with a phone number for discussing prices. SimpleNext stop – the citiesThe subscribers are also a source of information. “We have a Andrew Dellnetwork of people all over the country, who give advice onpest control and market supply,” Zhao said. That network Director, integrated services and assuranceincludes more than 3,000 ‘da hu’, or farmers with largeramounts of land, including orange growers, vegetable Our customers are demanding more from us – they want afarmers and even beekeepers. Those sources provide single solution that we’re accountable for.Nonxintong with more than 50,000 new price quotationsevery day. In the past there’s been a lot of ‘bespoking’. Large customers often wanted customised international networksQi Minglin wasn’t the only Inner Mongolian farmer to – or even domestic networks. I think, from an industrybenefit from Nonxintong, which according to local media perspective, if you’re going to survive then you have toenabled the province to shift an extra 100,000 tonnes be able to move from a bespoke network to a much moreof potatoes. By pooling farmers’ knowledge, linking standardised model, otherwise your costs start to go outwith existing networks and adapting to local conditions, of the park.Nonxintong has seen the number of subscribers grow byup to 20 per cent each year. The next step for the networkis China’s cities, says Zhao, which have been plaguedby food safety problems: “We want to expand into thecity, allowing residents to exchange text messages aboutcontaminated food.”8 The power of networks
  • But in order to get them standardised, you need a very Graeme Stokerrobust set of open source software, a robust process set andcommon IT platforms. Director, global online strategyThe big thing for us is being able to interact with ourcustomers online, in real time, so they can order things Our clients are large corporations and their multi-milliondirectly from us, see their own network perform online and pound networks are big, complicated beasts that spanmake changes over the internet. many countries and have lots of complex links.It’s all about understanding how the system is able to My job is to simplify all that. To make sure that customersre-route to Cloud, so it’s a much more intelligent can see more of their network and have more control overperformance from the network, and how that’s it, and all from their chosen online device – be it desktopcommunicated back to the customer. PC or iPad.Ultimately we standardise that service globally so that Just like in the story from China – the only informationwe have a single contract, a single agreement and a the farmer needed was to know where he could sell hissingle set of solutions and service levels. All the response potatoes. What we’ve come up with is a new product totimes will be the same, so we can build a simpler, more deliver network information as the customer wants it – the”coherent solution. My Account” portal. This also gives customers the means to manage their business: fixing faults, tracking usage and paying bills. In research, we’ve found that while our customers want to Adrian Smith have a BT person available to call if things go wrong, they Technical Director for Network Infrastructure also want to be able to sort things out by themselves. And “My Account” portal is part of making that happen.BT believes in convergence – all applications being carried The features have been chosen to benefit as manyover one network – ultimately because it will make things of our customers as possible, to make it as easy ascheaper, but also because it makes things simpler. possible to manage the complexities of these expensive network investments.We are at a point where convergence is happening andIP-based technology is delivering that convergence. Our We can set up an individual profile for each user so thatjob is to let our customers do as many things as possible they can see what specifically interests them. So theover that infrastructure and to grow a global platform on network administrator can keep a view of the whole system,IP-based technologies. while the Asia-Pacific support specialist can look at the network in China, and even drill down to a specific siteWith more and more companies using the internet not in China.only to communicate between their corporate sites butalso to host their applications, having secure and reliable The portal is likely to be used most by support specialistsinternet as a key part of your corporate infrastructure is who are looking for network updates every couple of hours,increasingly important. and want to track incidents, run network diagnostics and resolve escalated incidents. It will also be useful for projectSo at BT, we invest in one simple core network, which can managers who might want to start and track orders forcarry traffic very fast. And if something goes wrong it can telecoms, assess bandwidth usage and review bills. A seniorswitch to another router so the network keeps on flowing… network administrator, responsible for router configurationand flowing. and IP settings, is likely to use the portal several times a week. While an administrative assistant might use it once a month to check bills, rates and inventories. And the global infrastructure manager would be looking once a quarter for summaries of performance. More capabilities can be added as technology develops and as we find out more about how our customers are using the product. It’s all about giving customers access to manage their networks as simply as possible. The power of networks 9
  • 10 The power of networks
  • SensitiveJoining forces to beathard times in GreeceWhen Irene Sotiropoulou first pitched her Luckily one professor at the University of Crete was prepared to be Irene’s supervisor. And the emergence of another 24idea to research non-monetary exchange non-monetary exchange systems in Greece in the past threesystems in Greece, she was seen as a years has suddenly made her PhD thesis a hot topic.maverick. At the time, back in autumn 2008, “The increase is really amazing,” she says. “As a researcher I’mthe country had just two examples of these excited as I’ve been here just as all the things I am studying have started happening.”kinds of transactions made without euros.One of several professors who refused to Sign of the timestake her on as a student said it wasn’t a topic The question people keep asking Sotiropoulou is how muchfor an economist to study. the economic crisis has driven the growth of these schemes. There’s no doubt that times are tough in Greece. In 2011, the gross domestic product declined by 5.5 per cent. To meet government targets there have been pay cuts, public spending cuts and tax increases. Many small businesses have closed and the number of homeless people is on the rise. Unemployment has tripled in some regions and stands at around 20.9 per cent of the working population. And on top of this, unemployment benefit is only available for one year. It certainly sounds like a fertile environment for parallel economies to develop that aren’t based on euros. These systems are designed to break the trap that people without a job or income can fall into of not having any cash to buy anything. Instead of money changing hands, a barter system lets people do a direct swap of goods or services – I give you a singing lesson, for example, and you give me some bread. By introducing an alternative currency, or a way of ‘banking’ your goods and services, you avoid the need to find someone to swap directly with. Instead you can hold your balance to pay for something when you need it. The power of networks 11
  • Trading on an old art “It gets people working on things together,” says Christos Papaioannou, a co-founder of the Exchange and Solidarity Network, which covers the Magnesia region on the eastern coast of Greece. “Trading is a very old art, especially in villages. It’s a natural thing for people to do and this is just another way of doing it.” Papaioannou’s network uses an alternative currency called ‘TEMs’. He repaired some computers for someone in his scheme and was paid in TEMs. He then used these to buy some olive oil from another participant in the scheme. Other people in the network offer household repairs, hairdressing and all kinds of lessons. Local products are also available, such as eggs, jam, olives and soap. All the offers are made through a website. You can post an advert and search for what you want to buy. The price is established between the two parties. Papaioannou says that if you know the person, both of you tend to be kind to each other in setting the price. One TEM is roughly equal to one euro to make it simpler. And as the scheme progresses, the website can show more information about exchanges in terms of prices and statistics. Changing life for the better Papaioannou, 37, says he heard about these so-called ‘local exchange trading systems’ when he was studying engineering in the UK. He then joined forces with 10 or 15 people who all knew each other in the port city of Volos to set up their own scheme. In his eyes, people who have joined the scheme did so “not just as a response to the economic crisis, but also through a desire to improve their lives. There’s a movement around the world of people who want to change some things”. It’s unlikely that anyone is living entirely off the Volos network just yet, but Papaioannou says it’s still a work in progress. He’s conscious that the network needs to get people more involved to make it work. At the moment the team is looking for a place to set up a regular market and someone to help with administration (who’d be paid for their work in TEMs, of course). He’d also like people to do voluntary work for the network, such as cleaning and repairs, as well as for the town and local countryside. “These networks are a parallel world,” says Professor George Stathakis, from the University of Crete. “They survive because they function in a space that the welfare state can’t handle, and because they provide income and jobs for people who most need it. “They are very viable, bring a strong sense of community and are easy to manage. And because the schemes are kept to a small area, the people taking part more or less know each other.”12 The power of networks
  • Sensitive Dan Poulter And it’s not only about how the application works, but also what other demands are being put on your network. We’ve Senior product marketing manager seen application performance brought to its knees because it runs at the same time of day as most employees use theAt BT we do everything we can to make sure our networks network to access the internet. By redirecting that internetcan cope with change. We know that for businesses the traffic off the corporate network and back to the internetpriority is to have their applications running smoothly, Cloud, application performance got back to the levels theall the time. So we need to make sure our networks are business needed.sensitive enough to adapt to any changes in demand. But rather than wait for these events to happen, youA lot of our customers are completely dependent need to be able to see them coming. So we’re working onon application performance to operate, and if those prediction technology which can forecast traffic patternsapplications stop working or slow down it’ll cost them dear. and when they might change, so that these spikes inWe’ve seen examples where a retailer simply couldn’t sell demand can be dealt with.anything because its POS systems were ‘broken’. Another You can also use The Cloud to take the load of data-heavywhere a manufacturer ground to a halt when its distribution files such as videos and complex presentations, to free upcentre became jammed with idle trucks because the your server and bandwidth. This gets us into Cloud-based‘system’ couldn’t tell them what to load and where to go. web management service.In both cases we were able to spot the problem in thenetwork. At the retailer, a particularly vigorous anti- In the future a lot more Cloud-based services will develop.virus server was to blame, and for the manufacturer the We have special Cloud monitoring software so that we canbottleneck was at the print server that produced the see what performance is like from different providers, andpicking lists for the warehouse. we publish that for our clients.These were simple network problems that we could spot All of this is designed to make sure our networks areand fix, saving our customers a serious amount of money. sensitive enough to respond to changing demands. The power of networks 13
  • 14 The power of networks
  • SurvivableThe news network growsThe recent events in the Middle East have But up to this point its often been an uneasy relationship. Trained journalists bristled at the idea that anyone could pickbrought together the two media worlds – up a video camera and call themselves a reporter. Then socialold and new – as never before, and showed media started stealing the old media’s territory by breakinghow this united network of news gatherers news stories before them and taking their audience – many young people today get their news from Facebook and Twitter,can respond to challenges. Here was a story not the TV news or newspapers.that was being driven by the people on the The old news networks responded by making use of ‘user-ground, through their digital media, and the generated content’ often in the shape of home videosestablished media adapted to the challenge and blog posts. But news organisations were still reluctant to really trust these reports that often needed a lot ofand shared their stories. work to verify.The old, established media has seen the new, In return many of the social media people tended to see theirsocial media gain ground from the modest established rivals as slow, arrogant behemoths, who never listened to them anyway.blogs that appeared in the late 1990s, to the But that standoff was shaken by the recent events in theemergence of Twitter and Facebook as real Middle East. In the face of a spiralling story from locationsinformation tools. that were difficult to get to, the old and new media clubbed together to form a new, more powerful network of news gatherers. New allies One of the first examples was the airing of protests from Tunisia on the satellite news broadcaster, Al Jazeera. The protests were in response to the story of a young Tunisian, Mohamed Bouazizi, who set himself on fire in frustration against police action. A video of one protest led by Bouazizi’s mother, was posted on Facebook. The new media team at Al Jazeera spotted the video on Facebook and broadcast it on their TV channel, and the protests spread. “It was the airing of these videos on Al Jazeera, even after its office had been shuttered, which brought those images to the mass Arab public and even to many Tunisians who might otherwise not have realised what was happening around their country,” wrote Marc Lynch, an expert on Middle Eastern affairs at George Washington University, on his blog. The power of networks 15
  • News organisations change their gameInside Tunisia, Egypt and Libya the demonstrators wanted Survivabletheir stories to reach the outside world and get picked up bythe international press. And the international news networks Toby Weir-Jones– looking for eyewitness accounts from places that their ownreporters couldn’t get to – were ready to pick up their films, BT assure, strategy and investmentsreports and comments. News organisations sifted throughuser-generated content trying to verify locations and reports. For me survivability is about making sure that man-madeThey used file-sharing websites such as bambuser.com so that problems, such as hackers and criminal activities, don’tpeople could stream footage from their mobile phones or PCs. bring down the information networks that are so vital toThey worked with citizen journalists on the ground. And they our customers.trawled Facebook and Twitter for people to interview. To do network security properly you need to invest inThe news media broke their usual policy of non-cooperation real-time monitoring and understand how your rawwith rivals and actually shared material. At one point the only data behaves.footage emerging from the Syrian city of Homs was comingfrom a 23-year-old British-Syrian activist and video journalist For example, it’s the power of knowing that on Mondaycalled Danny Abdul-Dayem. His footage was broadcast on morning it’s normal for X number of people to say theynews channels such as CNN, Al Jazeera and the BBC, as well as have forgotten their password. But it’s not normal onbeing posted on YouTube. Wednesday afternoon to see a spike in failed password attempts, so that would lead me to suspect there’s someAmid the recent events in the Middle East, the newly enlarged other problem.network of news gatherers demonstrated new ways ofreporting when circumstances on the ground meant it was So if we see a thousand or more failed passwords for amost difficult to do so. There are still issues to be resolved bunch of people who work in an office five hours ahead,between the social media and the established media, but for where it’s no longer morning, then you can be morea while they were united by a bigger goal – and now there’s proactive. We focus on capturing these kinds of patternsno going back. of activity and grouping them together. If you’re watching someone try to exploit your web applications, you want to be able to home in on that one person’s activity in that time window. There are lots of good technologies, which we work with, that are able to do that.16 The power of networks
  • Adrian Comley General manager for IP Connect and BT Connect applications It’s not just man-made problems we have to look out for, but also natural disasters. One of the most dramatic challenges we’ve faced recently was the devastating earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan in March 2011. We had five main cables, or trunks, go down. We re-routed traffic to another core backbone – that’s a network that provides paths for the exchange of information between different sub-networks. As a result there was no loss of service to any of our customer bases – the only thing they might have seen is a slight increase in transmission time. And essentially the customer impact was zero.Security used to be perceived as an unpleasant, difficult This isn’t the only time BT’s network has been tested bything that the IT department was tasked with. But to do natural disasters. We also experienced an earthquakesecurity well the whole company needs to be involved. in Southern Taiwan earlier in 2011 – several cablesFor example, you could require everyone to have long and failed but were repaired quickly. Despite large tremorscomplex passwords which improve security. But that would affecting Kaohsiung City, customers’ network experiencemean more people would forget them more often, and lead was unaffected.to a higher number of calls to reset accounts – so that’s a Taiwan also suffered Typhoon ‘Morakot’ in August 2009cost. The challenge is to weigh up effectiveness and cost so when three trunks went down and traffic had to bethat the measures you take are realistic financially. re-routed. But if you were a customer you saw virtuallyThis is where intelligent networks come in. If the network no change in your network service.is aware that someone is re-routing all of the company’s For us, these major unexpected events provide thetraffic on to some address on the internet that seems benchmark test of how secure and reliable our networkspeculiar, then the network can help flag this up as an are. Our networks are designed to cope with such shocks…unusual event. Much of our effort is going into the nuts and and so far we’ve been proved right.bolts of how to make networks intuitively understand whatthe norm is, and spot deviations from that. But don’t just take our word for it. In a recent survey of global IT providers – the ICT Ocean Report in SeptemberJust as our reporter described how news organisations 2011 – customers rated us as number one for networkoperated during the revolutions in the Middle East and reliability and network availability.found new ways to get their stories out under pressure – asurvivable network is one that recognises threats against itand finds solutions.And as the service provider, we can bring it all togetherby highlighting the risks and isolating the problems,while making sure we provide the smooth transmission ofapplications and investing in future technologies. The power of networks 17
  • 18 The power of networks
  • SustainableA recycling scheme thatbrings communitiestogether in Rio de JaneiroThe people of Rio de Janeiro are proud that Making rubbish count By placing recycling bins in and around favelas, she istheir home town is known around the world uniting slum dwellers, society ladies, schoolchildren, majoras ‘the marvellous city’. But even Rio’s most corporations, utility companies, government agencies andenthusiastic fans admit that another, less local charities behind one big but very simple idea: the recycling of rubbish in return for credit towards utility bills.flattering nickname also holds true. “What’s my dream of a big network?” said Mayrink,That other name, ‘the divided city’, was community outreach officer for Light, the Rio powergiven to Rio because of its schizophrenic company that sponsors the project. “It’s big companies. It’s peaceful favelas. It’s the pool of community leaders andgeography and sociology. The chic south some of the local government departments that look afterside of Ipanema and Copacabana is split by the environment, rubbish disposal, conservation and socialhundreds of favelas (shanty towns) and the work, for example.suburban blight that surrounds them. “They’re all in this network together to transform Rio using things we don’t want. They’re working together toFernanda Mayrink is putting a network transform Rio through rubbish, making something from thein place to pull those two parts of the recyclable goods we throw away.”city together. How it all began The project is called Light Recicla (Light Recycles) and has its roots in Fortaleza, a big city on Brazil’s northern coast. In 2007, the electricity firm there set up a network of bins to collect recyclable goods such as paper, plastic bottles and cooking oil. In return, the company, called Coelce, gave participants money off their electricity bills. The project was a huge hit. And today, five years after it began, almost 400,000 people have the credit card that lets them swap rubbish for credits. Coelce has taken in more than 12,000 tons of recyclables and given away US$800,000 in credits. The power of networks 19
  • It’s expanded outside Fortaleza to other nearby towns Organic growth for the futureand cities, too. And mobile units tour more distant areas In just six months, Light has taken in 171 tons of refusepicking up rubbish. and 1,850 litres of cooking oil, and given back 34,000 reais“It is one of the most gratifying projects we have going,” (US$18,790) in credits.said Odailton Arruda, the project manager. “We know it “Today it’s been six months since we started and I am veryworks because we get lots of visits from other governments happy to say that the idea’s worked,” Mayrink said. “Otherwanting to see how we do it, and then we hear from the areas want it. Companies want to be partners. Right now, Isoftware company that did our IT systems that other places have about 5,000 participants but I expected to have more.are replicating it.” I think that if I have 8,000 to 10,000 that will be great. “It’s better to have those people who will come and leaveBreaking down old barriers rubbish every day. I want people who will take part, andImproved security conditions in Rio have helped Light that only works if others do the same.”Recicla get off the ground in the city’s favelas. Residentsbring their recyclables to a collection point where they areweighed. They get a set value per kilo that is transferredto their Light account via the credit card they slip into ahandheld machine.Mayrink says a key part of the Light Recicla deal is unitingthe favelas and the asphalt, as the neighbourhoods thatsurround them are called. Two eco-points have beenplaced just outside the community so the more well-heeledcan collaborate.Local businesses, fee-paying schools and even somecondominiums near the favela bring their recyclables tothese points and donate their credits to favela charities. It’sa remarkable turnaround given the mutual suspicions thatlong existed between the two worlds.20 The power of networks
  • Sustainable Simon O’Neill Market strategy and development, and sustainabilityThe latest developments in communication networks hold alot of promise for building a better, greener world.One major advance is the flexible working revolution.Thanks to conference calls and teleconferences,employees can stay connected at home – cutting back onbusiness travel.But home-workers still consume energy. At BT, we’vebeen looking at the amount needed to power this digitaltechnology. Broadband is a non-stop service, so the linesthat run between an exchange building and someone’shouse consume electricity all the time.To tackle this, we’ve trialled a product called “cool broadband”. BT’s piloting this technology in the UK, for domestic use.It’s simple and cheap to implement: by putting a small device In my vision of the future, you’ll walk into your apartmenton the line card inside the exchange building, the broadband or your house and your eco-meter on the wall will controlline becomes on-demand. So it only consumes electricity all of your devices. It’ll do your washing at the rightwhen someone’s using it. The customer doesn’t notice, and temperature, control the average room temperature, turnsaves huge amounts of electricity. Which saves huge amounts the lights on and off and make sure you are using as littleof carbon. electricity as possible. Then it’ll feed that information backThen there are the ways we use the digital technology itself to the sub-stations.to reduce the amount of energy people. For example, we’re Smart metering could have knock-on effects for theused to getting electricity readings on our bill just four National Grid, too. At the moment the Grid holds an excesstimes a year. But “smart meters” can give readings every of electricity just in case there is a surge in demand that30 minutes, so it’s possible to identify what different parts could overwhelm it. If you can balance supply and demandof the building are doing, and control it all centrally. It’s a using network intelligence and smart technologies, yourevolution in the way we manage energy. can reduce the amount of electricity that’s produced at a national level by tens of percentage points –massively reducing our carbon emissions. These are just a few of the ways that networks can help us look after our planet better. And here at BT, we want to be at the heart of a better tomorrow. The power of networks 21
  • Looking to the futurewith intelligent networks Alan Wardy Here’s an analogy that I think neatly shows the possibilities of all this. In a classic train network, the trains run on a Head of corporate ICT practice, BT innovate and design: schedule. Each train leaves from a set place and arrives at research and technology a set place. Information networks are built in a similar way but they don’t have to be.What I’m really interested in is how intelligent networks So imagine if instead the trains went to the places wherecan help with some of the world’s big problems. People and the people were. Then imagine if data did the same andmachines are generating vast amounts of data and it’s what went to the places where it was wanted.we do with that data which is crucial. And I think all this can be applied to bigger issues as well.For example, people are sending 50 million tweets For example, the global agricultural industry wastes nearlyevery day and uploading 20 hours of video per minute 60 per cent of the 2,500 trillion litres of water it uses eachto YouTube. year, and 30 per cent of the food purchased in developedMachine-generated data will dwarf those figures within the nations ends up going to waste.next few years – with sensors recording everything from the If we could analyse the point in the day where that watermovement of cars and planes to our daily shopping habits. is wasted, could we make consumers change their habits?Location-based devices on smartphones are creating If we know that much food is wasted, can we change retaildata all the time. While all our devices are becoming distribution to minimise it?increasingly connected and they’ll be streaming petabytesof data per day. Because of smart data, algorithms and the sensitivity of networks, we are now aware of these kinds of exact details,And all of this data can be useful, but only if it’s and we can use that information for the benefit of peopleanalysed  correctly. everywhere. Now we have the data, we can make it work.Intelligent networks can assess all the information in the And with our global, resilient networks, you can trust BT toworld – and direct the relevant bits to you. be the data provider of the future.From a technical point of view, this is all about what comesafter the internet protocol. In the past all information onnetworks has been governed by the way the informationis tagged with a label saying where it comes from, andanother label saying where it’s going to.Now we are looking to make networks more sensitiveto the information around them and the context of thatinformation, without having to make people ask for it.So at the moment, if you’re in your car with a navigationdevice then you might ask it for information about trafficon your journey, and the device then contacts its serversmany miles away to find the answer. In an intelligentnetwork all that data would come to you. And anyone elseon that particular motorway with that device in their carwould be given that information without having to ask forit. The information will find you.22 The power of networks
  • Joined-upthinking from BTAt BT we’re excited about networks and we Our job is to give you the infrastructure to makehope this white paper has shared some of that those leaps. Infrastructure that will handle theexcitement with you. day-to-day – and give you the platform for more. More efficiency, more effectiveness andOur real life reports from China, Greece, the more innovation.Middle East and Brazil show how networkscan lead to better solutions… and often bring Our experts are dedicated to taking you there. Theyunexpected benefits. have the knowledge to make a network that works for you, and to take your business to new levels ofOnce people are connected, new things can performance using the latest technology.happen. New ideas can emerge. Data can bejoined up. New thinking can take off. Let us connect you with the future. BT Connect. The power of networks 23
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