SooGREEN: one more step towards environmentally friendly digital services

The world has been deeply transformed by digital technology and this intense digital activity has an inevitable consequence: an increase in energy consumption. That’s why Orange has been working for more than 10 years to optimise its networks and equipment. A new milestone was reached in 2015 with the launch of SooGREEN, an international collaboration, through which Orange aims to achieve end-to-end service optimisation. Gwenaelle Delsart, Project Coordinator, and Azeddine Gati, Orange Labs Department Manager, tell us more. 

An international research project

For 10 years, Orange has been careful to limit its own network energy consumption. Each component of equipment or network segment is closely studied with optimisation in mind.

In 2015, we realised we needed to go further: targeting operational optimisation by improving services. A car can be ‘economical’ but it is with eco-driving that we fully exploit the potential. That’s why we launched the SooGREEN initiative, an end-to-end approach to optimise service use.
Gwenaelle Delsart, Project Coordinator

SooGREEN is a collaborative research project launched and managed by Orange involving 16 partners in 5 countries – operators, equipment manufacturers and reserachers. Its goal is to reduce network consumption while guaranteeing the same quality of service.

Orange has committed, within the framework of COP21, to reduce network consumption per customer use by 50%. SooGREEN is one way to achieve this commitment and also meet customer expectations. More people want to ‘consume responsibly’ by choosing suppliers who take into account climate change issues.
Azeddine Gati, Department Manager at Orange Labs

An indicator for comparing solutions

One of the first outcomes of SooGREEN is an energy efficiency indicator that measures end-to-end service use in terms of energy consumption.

We want to standardise an international measure to share good practice and compare different solutions, networks or services. This index also enables us to evaluate hypotheses: ‘Does network virtualisation save energy?’ and challenge service providers ‘What is the consumption of services such as YouTube or Twitter on my network?’ or even ‘How would 5G connectivity benefit markets?’ It’s about how to make the best choices and eco-design the services of tomorrow with our industrial partners.
Azeddine Gati

Orange’s strength in this programme lies in leveraging numerous resources and experts: Orange Lab Networks and its radio specialists and modelling experts, Orange France for real-world network testing, and Orange Morocco and Orange Slovakia who provided data to feed the study.

Objective: zero consumption for zero traffic

SooGREEN has also led to other concrete actions such as the development and standardisation of 5G equipment monitoring, the use of mobile communications to relieve fixed networks, or the use of smart grids as a link between communication and energy networks. Its ultimate goal, however, remains ‘zero consumption for zero traffic’.

In the first generations of networks, the equipment was always on: energy consumption was identical and maximum regardless of the traffic. This is no longer acceptable! That’s why we’re optimising our equipment through the widespread use of the standby mode. Orange has stabilised its consumption this year, despite the increase in traffic and network expansion. Similarly 5G will be designed to integrate this same optimisation based on traffic. The next step is to pool equipment during low traffic periods, at night or in winter in a seaside resort for example. After ‘eco-driving’, it is ‘carpooling’ that’s required.
Gwenaelle Delsart

A priority right from service conception

Finally, SooGREEN has highlighted the overall burden of services. Beyond the consumption of networks, it's also in the algorythms of digital services that the concept of energy saving has to be included.

Nowadays a designer or developer aims only for service speed or ergonomics, not energy optimisation. We have to change that! Orange is already optimising its services right from conception. Now we need to educate our partners, schools, universities and of course service developers.
Azeddine Gati