COP26: AI key to cutting energy demand
Written by: Richard Hook | Published:
AI energy management software is central to many CSP strategies to shrink their environmental footprint (credit: Flickr)

A new report from Nokia and GSMA Intelligence released to coincide with the COP26 Summit has revealed that the telecoms industry sees artificial intelligence (AI) as key to cutting energy demand from rising internet traffic.

Research group GSMA surveyed 103 communication service providers (CSPs) for the Nokia-commissioned report and found that the overwhelming majority said rising energy demand and costs are “critical issues to their operations and their customers”.

AI energy management software is central to many CSPs’ strategies to reduce their environmental footprints according to the report’s authors. Alongside this, 83% of CSPs surveyed agreed with the statement that “energy efficiency is a major network transformation driver that will grow in importance as 5G is operationalised by industry and as energy costs rise over the next three years”.

A rise in television and movie streaming, video conferencing from remote working and online gaming via 5G require more energy consuming telecoms equipment and bandwidth capacity, as well as large amounts of data stored in “energy consuming data centres”.

Close to half of the companies that took part in the research said they expect to achieve energy savings of 10-20% over the next two years using AI energy solutions including using zero-touch automation, off-site network troubleshooting visits, IoT sensors and wider use of smart meters in homes.


Volker Held, head of cloud & network services at Nokia, said: “Reducing its carbon footprint is an important challenge for the telecommunications industry, given rising internet traffic trends and its implications for energy consumption.

“This research from Nokia and GSMA underscores the shared concerns of our industry and the variety of solutions and services that Nokia is working on with communication service providers to address this shared responsibility. AI solutions hold the promise of realizing quick and substantial energy efficiency gains and ensure we fully live up to our environmental and social responsibilities.”

In an adjoining white paper, Nokia and GSMA claimed that the four top carbon-emitting industries (manufacturing; power & energy; transportation; and buildings - which are responsible for 80% of global carbon emissions) could enable a reduction in these through implementation of mobile and digital technologies over the next 10 years.

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