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November 1, 2010

NightWatchman aims to soothe sleepless PCs

Remote shut down saves energy and money, firm claims


PC power management firm 1E has announced the launch of version 6 of its flagship NightWatchman platform, aiming to solve a problem that costs UK businesses £300m every year.

NightWatchman version 6.0 introduces a web-based dashboard that offers IT admins an overview of where energy is being used at the company and where savings are being realised.

The dashboard can be used to automatically power down PCs that have been left on overnight.

1E, which pitches itself as an energy efficiency company, says that up to 40% of PCs are left on overnight and over weekends and half do not go to ‘sleep’ during that time. Leaving PCs running overnight costs the UK around £300m a year, 1E’s study claims. The NightWatchman software can save on average £25 per PC per year, 1E says.

Sophie Chang, 1E head of software told CBR that one of the key developments in v6.0 is the reporting capabilities. She said that because electricity prices are different across the world – and occasionally, like in the United States, within countries as well – companies need to make sure that they are getting the right information about savings. "You can’t work it out using averages," she said, "as the data will not be right. Laptops use different amount of energy as do desktops, so multinationals need to know how much it all costs."

Version 6.0 also features enhanced sleepless client detection, the firm said, which is said to make it easier to establish when a machine has been kept in a sleepless mode rather than shut down. The software can check to see if the PC is running for a specific reason, such as a complex process that has been left to run overnight, or has unsaved work still open. An IT admin can then remotely hook up to the PC and shut it down or put it in energy saving mode.

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The update to NightWatchman features integration with WakeUp, which lets users kick start their machine when not at the office, which is ideal for home workers, Chang said. It also adds Mac capabilities to the main dashboard.

"PCs and peripherals consume more energy than any other ICT group. Buying more energy-efficient PCs is a good start, but the most substantial reductions in energy consumption result from transferring the PC to lower power states when they’re not in use," said Terrence Cosgrove, principal research analyst at Gartner. "Therefore, we believe that by 2012, more than 50% of midsize and large organisations will centrally manage desktop power states."

NightWatchman is running on 4.6 million PCs around the world and has cumulatively saved its customers £350m in energy savings, representing savings of 5.6 million megawatts of electricity or 4 million metric tons of CO2 emissions, 1E says.

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