Lights, camera, green action: Make real sustainability progress in your media solutions
May 11, 2023
The push towards net zero by 2050 continues: over 90 per cent of the world’s GDP is now covered by commitments to reach this objective. More than 900 companies have made pledges, including media and entertainment giants such as Walt Disney, Netflix, BBC, and Amazon Studios.
However, with rising inflation and a pessimistic economic outlook, a recent Gartner study found that 39 per cent of tech CEOs would choose to reduce sustainability investments in the face of increasing macroeconomic headwinds. Although sampled companies and verticals are not named, the study encompasses multiple industries in North America, EMEA and APAC, suggesting it reflects a general sentiment that also applies to the media industry.
Sustainability goes beyond bottom lines
That sustainability measures might be first on the chopping block is a great cause for concern, especially here at HPE OEM Solutions. We see the green transformation of the media industry as a priority. It is important that media OEMs and service providers continue to innovate and make technological breakthroughs, but not at the detriment of the environment.
Moreover, consumers are practically demanding sustainability credentials, especially among the Gen Z crowd. According to a Deloitte survey, 64 per cent of Gen Z respondents are willing to pay more to purchase an environmentally sustainable product. At present, they constitute 20 per cent of the US population; a market share and influence that will only continue to grow. Becoming more sustainable in their operations and solutions is the only way to ensure media OEMs remain relevant.
Here are some actionable ways media OEMs and solution providers can start operating more sustainably today.
Method 1: Run your services on energy-efficient servers
Media streaming services rely heavily on data centers to give consumers on-demand access to movies, TV shows, concerts, live gaming, sporting events and music. It has been estimated that data centers use as much as 3 per cent of the world’s electricity.
This is only one part of the equation. Ultimately, it is the energy efficiency of the servers powering data centres that decide overall energy consumption. However, most servers are rarely used to their maximum capacity—even the most efficient servers only run at 50 per cent of their full power—leading to “zombie” servers that drain electricity.
Enter the HPE ProLiant RL300 Gen 11 server. It features the Ampere Altra and Ampere Altra Max processors, which provide an industry-leading 80 to 128 cores per socket for higher compute density and extreme scale-out capabilities with lower levels of power consumption. This makes them ideal engines for real-time encoding and services, as well as deterministic real-time ad serving. Imagine getting 2-3x performance and density within the same rack power budget!
Consider integrating the HPE ProLiant RL300 Gen 11 server into your current or next media solution to eliminate underutilised rack space, expand compute without a significant energy budget increase and ultimately, keep your customers happy.
Method 2: Save energy by eliminating overprovisioning
It’s a fact: downtime for a media business is costly. One in six consumers is likely to switch streaming providers if an alternative service can provide better live streaming. To avoid downtime, overprovisioning has been a long-accepted practice to ensure continued performance, availability and capacity. Unfortunately, overprovisioning also drives operating costs up. Research shows that, on average, 15 per cent of global IT budgets are squandered on misaligned infrastructure—a price no longer justifiable in an energy crisis.
The HPE GreenLake platform addresses this tricky situation by operating on a pay-per-use model, which allows customers to accurately match capacity to consumption. This eliminates wasteful overprovisioning, avoids the risk of under-provisioning, and immediately solves the problem of idle servers.
It’s also possible to quickly scale up or down to meet business demand—and with predictable pricing. Some customers that have transitioned to HPE GreenLake from traditional purchase models report a more than 30 per cent reduction in energy costs. As a media services provider, this means you can channel more financial resources into solution innovation and go-to-market activity.
Method 3: Have a lifecycle strategy to reduce waste along your supply chain
In 2021, the amount of electronic waste was estimated at 57.4 million metric tons, up from 53.6 million metric tons in 2019. Although the media industry did not contribute solely to these figures, no doubt it has played its part.
Electronic waste, a health and environmental hazard containing toxic substances such as lead and mercury, is generated by all hardware updates. The good news is, you can mitigate the carbon footprint of electronic waste.
Transition to hardware-as-a-Service
Many media OEMs are transitioning to hardware-as-a-Service (HaaS) models. HaaS is a leasing agreement where hardware belonging to a technology service provider is installed at a customer’s site(s). A service level agreement (SLA) then defines the intervals of hardware upgrades.
Through HaaS, media OEMs share the responsibility of hardware maintenance, repair and upgrades with HPE. Consequently, OEMs can access quicker asset refresh cycles, keeping them flexible, agile and competitive.
Video delivery solutions provider Harmonic is one success story of a move to HaaS. By partnering with HPE OEM Solutions and using long-life HPE ProLiant servers, Harmonic could provide its customers with a quality solution for up to four years instead of the typical 18 months. Furthermore, with HPE’s global warranty, local service technicians handle all on-site repairs and replacements for Harmonic customers, allowing the company to maintain high levels of customer satisfaction.
If a hardware asset can no longer be upgraded or maintained, HPE OEM Solutions would send this product to our in-house asset recovery and recycling services to ensure it is disposed of correctly to avoid environmental harm, which brings us to our next point.
Recycle outdated hardware and purchase upcycled tech
A circular economy focuses on the entire lifecycle of each IT asset, aiming to extend its lifespan and maximise its output. This improves resource efficiency, increases productivity and creates new income streams. To reap these benefits, it is essential that media OEMs and service providers have a technology partner that implements circular economy practices.
HPE operates two Technology Renewal Centres (TRCs). Our Andover facility in Scotland is the largest IT manufacturer refurbishing facility in the world at 23,200m2, dealing with three million IT units every year. 85 per cent of these are remarketed for a second life and almost all the rest are recycled.
In this way, media OEMs and service providers are not only being environmentally responsible, but also gaining more lifetime value from their IT asset investments—resulting in valuable cost savings that can be reinvested elsewhere. In 2021, HPE gave more than $400 million back to its customers through asset lifecycle initiatives.
Method 4: Ensure your security systems are robust and top-of-mind
Surprisingly, there is a direct link between security and sustainability. If infrastructure powering sustainability measures—for instance, AI systems grouping parallel workflows to reduce bandwidth—go down due to one or multiple cyberattacks, it will negatively impact sustainability results. Moreover, the increasing adoption of remote access, multi-cloud platforms, hybrid operations and connected TV networks (such as FAST channels) lays the media industry wide open to cybercrime, the deadliest being data hacking and piracy.
Even so, having spoken to many players in the industry, it appears that security is a diminishing concern, an observation backed by industry research. In 2022, Gartner found that interest in extended detection and response (XDR) technology, which enables faster threat detection and holistic cyber protection, grew in all industries except media and transportation. Mindshare in XDR in the media industry declined by half, from 14 per cent to 7 per cent.
And yet, the only way to protect customer data and ensure the long-term value of live and 4K content—areas of significant investment—is to keep them secure. For example, hackers stole some unreleased, high-profile Netflix shows in 2017. When their ransom demands were denied, they uploaded the content to a series of file-sharing sites. Media OEMs and service providers need to help secure workflows to a higher degree than ever before.
Working with HPE OEM Solutions means investing in the highest levels of managed security. The HPE Trusted Supply Chain secures supply chain operations through their design, manufacturing and delivery stages, to protect applications and data before each HPE server is even deployed. In turn, the HPE ProLiant servers are protected by the silicon root of trust, our patented technology that makes it impossible to insert any malware, virus, or compromised code that would corrupt the server boot process.
Similarly, HPE GreenLake is driven by a zero trust-enabled architecture from edge to cloud, which detects whenever something is malicious or insecure, and continuously learns and adapts to help media OEMs and their end customers stay ahead of emerging threats.
We can help you green screen time
Meeting rising sustainability goals is the topic of the hour, but it is difficult to make these changes alone when you have other core media business functions. Having the right technology partner that can help you make tangible sustainability improvements while accelerating solution innovation is of utmost importance.
HPE OEM Solutions is a leading provider of sustainable solutions in multiple fields, including the media industry. We are committed to becoming a net-zero enterprise by 2040, and our annual Living Progress report keeps us accountable. We are proud to say that 50 per cent (and growing!) of our solutions have built-in sustainability and efficiency features.
Get in touch if you want to build more sustainable media solutions at hpe.com/solutions/oem.
This is a sponsored article.