Lexicon Systems, LLC Blog

lex'•i•con: the vocabulary of a branch of knowledge. Thoughts on environment, health & safety (EHS), sustainability and information technology to support them.


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The environmental impact of tablets

Industry analysts predict that tablet purchases will outnumber laptop purchases by 2013. The increasing use of tablets, both business and personal, has quite an impact on the environment. Their use results in lower ink and paper consumption, lower CO2 emissions, as well as lower water consumption during production.

Twenty-five percent of adults in the U.S. own tablets, compared to only 4%  in 2010. And 45% of tablet users say they have decreased printing. 

–morganstanley.com and appleinsider.com 

ID-10081890Uberflip, a Canadian company that helps organizations to deploy content on electronic platforms, identified four environmental sustainability trends related to tablet use:

A decline in printing. Although many people feel that they still require hard copies of just about everything, this is no longer the norm.  Printer manufacturers like HP are feeling the crunch as the demand for ink shrinks.

I work with more electronic documents than paper documents these days. I buy less paper and ink than I have bought in the past. When I need a paper copy, I print wirelessly from my iPad or notebook computer.

Eco-friendly devices. Over their lifetime, tablets result in lower CO2 emissions, notably when people use their tablets as e-readers rather than buying paper books. The CO2 equivalent emissions from a tablet are about 1/3rd that of a small notebook and 1/25th that of a 60-watt incandescent light bulb.

E-waste. The volume of electronic waste will double by 2025. To combat this, electronics manufacturers and big box retailers have implemented recycling programs. I took advantage of this free recycling service at least four times this year, giving up an old notebook computer, a desktop computer, a laser printer and an inkjet printer. I reused the computer hard drives, converting them into external hard drives with a simple enclosure kit.

Green business. More and more businesses use tablets to demonstrate products and services, and for sales transactions. My local grocery chain uses iPads to sign up customers for their loyalty coupon program, which has computer and mobile apps. This replaces printing and mailing costs.

A national electronics chain uses iPads to demonstrate how tablets connect to big-screen TVs to display streaming videos. The Apple store uses iPads that allow customers to compare products and view features. A sales technician is on hand to answer questions and complete the sale–by entering transaction information on an iPhone and then swiping a credit card. You get a small paper receipt and an electronic receipt by email. There is no cash register evident in the store (there may be one in the back for cash sales) and no waiting in lines.

See the full Uberflip InfoGraphic on Sustainability of Tablets.

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TIME’s “top 10 tech gadgets” list for 2012 has pleasant surprises

Most of us are familiar with David Letterman’s “Top 10” lists, the “best-dressed” and “worst-dressed” lists, etc. Time magazine released its “Top 10 of Everything 2012 with a whopping 55 lists in numerous categories. Here’s their list of the top 10 tech gadgets for 2012:

  1. iPhone 5
  2. Nintendo Wii U
  3. Sony Cybershot RX100 camera
  4. Raspberry Pi Model B
  5. Lytro light field camera
  6. Apple Macbook Pro 15″ with Retina Display
  7. Microsoft Surface with Window RT
  8. Samsung Galaxy Note II
  9. Nest thermostat
  10. Simple TV

The list includes two of the best smartphones, a new tablet and a notebook with a stunning display–no surprise. What did surprise–and intrigue–me is the innovation and ingenuity in three items on the list:

  • Raspberry Pi

    Raspberry Pi is a $35 computer. Yes, you heard this correctly! It’s stripped down to bare essentials; all you need is a monitor, mouse and keyboard.

  • Lytro cameraThe Lytro camera captures the direction of light rays, as well as color and intensity, letting the user refocus photos after they’re taken. It’s by no means a pocket camera, but it is affordable. 
  • Nest thermostatThe Nest learning thermostat incorporates simple form and function, with a touch screen display. Former Apple employees designed it.

You can view all 55 TIME Top 10 of Everything lists here.


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Green Quadrant® Environmental Management Software names market leaders

Verdantix  named IHS, Enablon and SAP as the leaders in the enterprise environmental management software market in its report, Green Quadrant® Environmental Management Software (Global) 2012. Enviance, Locus Technologies and BSI group are in the second tier.

Verdantix defines environmental management software as

enterprise-scale software that enables firms to capture, analyse and report data, and manage performance across their assets on environmental indicators such as air, green house gases, water, waste and toxic chemicals.

The U.K.-based research firm used their proprietary methodology to evaluate the capabilities of 12 firms in 19 areas. Other findings of note:

  • Overall spending on environmental management software will increase over the next three years in 60% of companies with revenues of $1 billion or more.
  • Spending on sustainability will increase in 2012 vs. 2012 in nearly 60% of companies surveyed.
  • Greenhouse gas, hazardous waste and water top the list of customer’s monitoring requirements.
  • Automated task management, notifications and workflows are important.
  • Customers want to integrate/interface other data sources with their environmental management system.
  • Customers prefer to buy from large environmental/sustainability software firms.
  • Two-thirds prefer that the software firm or an engineering/sustainability consultant implement the software.

For more information, see the full report.


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Enablon Sustainable Performance Forum 2012 attracted a crowd

I spent the better part of this week at an environment, health & safety (EHS) software user group meeting in Chicago. The Enablon Sustainable Performance Forum at the Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel drew a crowd of approximately 400 executives, EHS and sustainability professionals and service providers.

The plenary sessions were top-notch, with a keynote panel of executives from a national environmental association, a leading accounting firm, a Global Reporting Initiative non-profit and two global environmental consulting firms. Breakout sessions each day focused on four to five topics, also with pertinent talks, case studies and software demos.

SPF 2012 provided a great opportunity for networking and knowledge transfer, in the perfect setting—a LEED-certified “green” building.


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Emerging tech trends

Today I attended a Gartner Webinar on the top 10 strategic technology trends for 2012:

  1. Media tablets and beyond
  2. Mobile-centric applications and interfaces
  3. Contextual and social user experience
  4. Internet of Things
  5. App stores and marketplaces
  6. Next-generation analytics
  7. Big data
  8. In-memory computing
  9. Extreme low-energy servers
  10. Cloud computing