Keeping Ontario’s research and education community green – doing more with less

ORION is surrounded by BIG ideas every day. In this kind of innovative environment, we can’t help but find ourselves thinking about the BIG picture as well. ORION is committed to the future of our research and education community, our province and our environment.

As scientists, educators and technology experts, we are well aware of the possibilities that can come from any given action. So when we decided to upgrade our power systems to ensure our members continued to have access to the world’s fastest and most reliable research and education network, we thought beyond the obvious. How could we meet our leadership objectives while reducing the carbon footprint of ORION and our connected institutions?

Our solution arose from a successful collaboration with our partner Alcatel-Lucent. ORION’s recent upgrade to their state-of-the-art equipment made it possible to deliver the same lightning-fast, 100Gb per second network connection our members have come to expect, and doing so fuelled using significantly less power. ORION has reduced our power consumption by 50 per cent – from 20 amps or more, to only about 10 amps.

How does ORION’s recent upgrade reduce the carbon footprint of our members?

For years, video conferencing has been used to facilitate “virtual boardrooms” all over the world. While the technology has allowed for increased collaboration, it has also been plagued by inconsistent video and sound quality. Citing frustration, users have been inclined to opt instead for costly, inefficient face-to-face meetings.

Doing more with less.

ORION’s 100Gb network has changed all that. Our “real” videoconferencing provides a seamless face-to-face experience. It’s lightning fast, highly secure and so efficient that users don’t even notice it’s there. Videoconferencing has never been more effective or reliable. Our members save time, money and frustration.

Everything happens in “real” time; the need to travel for meetings is significantly reduced if not eliminated and their carbon footprint is reduced.

The University of Guelph uses videoconferencing for PhD defenses, consortia meetings, connecting with our regional campuses, interviewing students and faculty, and a host of other daily needs. At a time when no one has any time and even less money, videoconferencing has helped Guelph make the most of every minute.

– Michael Ridley, Former Chief Information Officer (CIO) and Chief Librarian at the University of Guelph

ORION helps our members stay “green” in other ways as well. By providing access to a robust and highly secure cloud computing option for data storage and back-up, ORION eliminates the need to personally manage and power their own data centres.

Many institutions currently archive their data in massive data supercentres that require huge amounts of energy to power and cool – a costly option.

According to, “a 10-megawatt data centre can use the energy of a small town at a cost of around $300,000 a month.” Switching to a cloud-based data storage solution – like the ones offered by ORION Nebula partners – can result in significant savings and drastically reduce power consumption.

We all have an opportunity to do ‘more with less’.