Earth Day 2022: Reflections on InterDigital’s Environmental Engagement
Since our founding in 1972, InterDigital’s research and innovation has enabled every generation of cellular wireless, from the earliest analog to 5G and beyond, and unlocked new capabilities for increasingly immersive video content on a variety of devices and services. We are committed to not only inventing the technologies that make life boundless, but also exploring innovative solutions to make our technologies, and the world around us, more sustainable.
We recognize the responsibility to consider the environmental impact of our industry to develop sustainable solutions for the experiences we enjoy today, and for those that will be unlocked in the future.
Innovations in wireless have equipped networks and devices to support ubiquitous access to significant amounts of data, a preponderance of which are comprised of very high-quality video. By integrating the Technicolor research and innovation team within InterDigital’s research program, we significantly expanded our research focus to develop solutions and drive standards contributions to wireless as well as video distribution, coding, standards, and more.
As a pure research, innovation, and licensing company, we do not manufacture products or host services; instead, we work to ensure our innovations contribute to improvements in operating efficiencies, systemic reductions in energy consumption, and the integration of more sustainable solutions across our industry on a global scale.
Throughout our strategic business engagement, we remain mindful of our sustainability posture and the environmental impact of our business decisions and operations. We continue to explore opportunities to improve the efficiency and overall carbon footprint of the systems we develop and collaborate with industry partners to secure the widest possible adoption and environmental benefit of these solutions.
We are committed to investing in best practices to track and reduce our carbon footprint, including environmental considerations, tracking, and reporting related to data center needs of energy and emissions efficiencies. In 2021, InterDigital consumed 752.1 MWh of electricity in our global data centers, 209 MWh of which was offset with Green-e Energy certified Renewal Energy Credits.
Energy Aware Media
We are proud of our industry-leading Energy Aware Media project, focused on the development of more energy efficient video delivery solutions. This research, led in collaboration with Ateme, Enensys, and INSA and with support from the European Commission, has spearheaded energy-aware innovations available to both customers and the broader research community. In our Labs, we have also developed media compression techniques using leading edge Artificial Intelligence-based technology, as we expect AI will play a larger role in future wireless and video technologies to improve the quality of the user experience while reducing the energy footprint of underlying systems.
In addition, we recognize the importance of infusing environmental awareness throughout our contributions to critical standards bodies like 3GPP, the Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS), the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), and the Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC). We have managed this through a variety of leadership roles across esteemed standards bodies, including serving as co-rapporteur of the ITU-R group on Energy Aware Broadcasting, co-chair of the Green MPEG group, and as lead rapporteur for efforts across ETSI SAI (Securing Artificial Intelligence).
Within our Labs, we have also explored zero-energy technology as an integral contributor to improve the long-term sustainability of wireless networks and consumer electronics devices. Devices that can harvest energy or hibernate in near zero-energy states will significantly reduce the need and impact of large capacity batteries in our environment. This innovation is critical in mitigating the energy consumption of the billions of smartphones and connected IoT devices enabled by future wireless networks. In fact, zero energy technology is expected to completely eliminate the need for battery replacement, thus dramatically increasing the return-on-investment and mass proliferation of Internet-of-Everything (IoE) devices.
We showcase our research through a variety of academic papers, proposals, and IP disclosures to amplify the innovative and sustainable impact of our work. Our peer-reviewed and public papers address emerging sustainable solutions like zero-energy technology and wake-up radio and have been published in top tier IEEE conferences like ICC and GLOBECOM. In 2021, InterDigital’s engineering team received the IEEE 802.11ba award for their leadership in developing specifications for wake-up radio, an energy and power-saving technique that reduces transceiver energy consumption and enables ultra-low duty cycles for different devices at large scale deployments.
As part of our sustainability thought leadership, we have published several white papers exploring how 5G, innovations in video, and the emerging IoT ecosystem might shape global energy needs and sustainability efforts in the information and communications technology (ICT) industry. One of our recent reports found that by 2030, the impact of IoT deployment is projected to save more than eight times the energy it consumes – helping to save 230 billion cubic meters of water and eliminate one gigaton of CO2 emissions. You may access all the papers and webinars here.
At InterDigital, we innovate technologies and develop solutions upon which the world builds communities. Our work helps drive wireless connections and enables new use cases and user experiences while delivering benefits to consumers, enterprises, and communities worldwide. As we remain committed to this goal, it is imperative that our work also considers the importance of sustainability and our environmental impact.
Learn more about InterDigital’s Environmental Policy here: InterDigital Environmental Policy.