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IBM debuts AI-powered carbon calculator for the cloud


July 28, 2023 - IBM debuted an AI-powered dashboard for tracking carbon emissions used by its cloud computing services, saying that the new Cloud Carbon Calculator can be used to help enterprises with compliance and reduce harmful carbon emissions.


The calculator can be accessed via IBM’s cloud dashboard, where it provides a range of graphs and charts to track total carbon emissions created by a customer’s use of IBM’s cloud, breaking it down on a per-service, per-department and per-location basis.


The ability to identify carbon emissions in a granular way should let customers identify particularly CO2-heavy workloads, areas or departments and change their cloud profile in order to minimize emissions, according to IBM. The main idea is to identify emissions “hot spots,” which the calculator does via machine learning and algorithmic functions developed in partnership with Intel.


It’s designed to be particularly helpful for customers looking to leverage AI, which is highly dependent on cloud-based services, according to IBM Cloud general manager Alan Peacock.


As part of any AI transformation roadmap, businesses must consider how to manage the growth of data across cloud and on-premise environments,” Peacock said in the company’s announcement. “This is especially critical today as we see organizations face increasing pressure from investors, regulators, and clients to reduce their carbon emissions.”


Sustainability and general environmental concerns are climbing the list of top priorities for business executives, according to IBM. Fully 42% of those polled by the company in a recent study identified the environment as the top challenge for the next three years. Coupled with the wildfire growth of generative AI applications, a method of tracking CO2 emissions generated by the cloud promises to be a key part of the toolkit for IT departments looking to support environmentally focused improvements to any company’s operations.


Other studies have underlined the importance of sustainability, as well, and not just in the cloud. A report from Gartner Research found that the proportion of companies with a data center infrastructure sustainability program is set to grow from roughly 5% in 2022 to 75% within the next four years. Furthermore, that survey also found that sustainability isn’t merely a cost sink that businesses need to address, it’s actually a driver of new income. Roughly 42% of respondents to the Gartner survey said that making environmentally responsible choices has helped to drive business growth and differentiate them from competitors, and 29% said that it has helped create industry partnerships.


IBM’s cloud calculator is available now. It's free to use for IBM Cloud users.

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