Computing award for sustainability “far beyond own footprint”

Posted on August 12, 2008


Last week the winners in the Computerworld Excellence Awards were announced. For the first time there was an award for Sustainable ICT. I thoroughly enjoyed being a judge for this award, along with Peter Noble of IRD and the govt3 programme and Claudia Vidal of Uniservices.

Here’s the judges’ report from the paper version of Computerworld:

All the entrants in this initial year of the Sustainable ICT category at the Computerworld Excellence Awards have set a standard in the industry and we trust they will provide leadership to other organisations. In all the submissions, improved sustainabiiity has been a byproduct of ICT projects, with some good outcomes achieved by “stumbling on sustainability”. The finalists have all achieved tangible and sizeable sustainability outcomes. These range from more sustainable ways of running the business operation, which delivers benefit to their organisations, to delivering sustainability benefits to customers.

Being ICT-sustainable makes good business sense: you can generate savings, and or streamline operations, and or improve the quality of life. Organisations should not only examine their internal workings, to make themselves more sustainable, but also examine how they can move to enhance the sustainability of their customers and suppliers.

The winner first winner of the Sustainable iCT category has used technology in an innovative way to boost sustainability. Aiways New Zealand has demonstrated the potential of ICT to dramatically affect sustainability far beyond its own footprint.

The judging panel felt this move, from just making the operations of the business more sustainable to delivering sustainability as a business outcome for customers, is not only significant but also provides clear leadership for future sustainability programmes in organisations.

The CAM (Collaborative Arrivals Manager) reduces aircraft fuel emissions by reducing waiting time while airborne. This customer-driven initiative uses an interactive web application that manipulates demand for take-off and arrival so that delays occur on the ground rather than in the air. It used to employ a “flow controller” to help airlines prioritise flights at such times, but the constant ringing-around this involved was time-consuming. Now, the new online system allows airlines to bypass the flight controller and manipulate landing slots themselves, using drag-and-drop functions on a website. The system helps airlines pick their most important flights, such as those with international connections. It also means that delays now happen on the ground, not in the air, thus saving fuel.

Perhaps the coolest thing is that the same project also won the independently judged Excellence in the Use of ICT in Customer Service.