Greater Manchester fire service seeks savings with power management software

Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) is rolling out power management software that it said will help it save thousands of pounds in operating costs.

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Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) is rolling out power management software that it said will help it save thousands of pounds in operating costs.

The software, Verdiem Surveyor 6, is being rolled out across the fire service's Cisco network. It enables users to centrally manage and control the energy used by devices including PCs and Macs. It works in conjunction with Cisco EnergyWise, a technology that reports the energy use of IT and facilities equipment.

"We have just implemented a new network and as part of that, we started to do some work on how the network uses energy and where we can change the network to change the energy usage," said Damian Parkinson, director of information and communication technologies at GMFRS.

Prior to roll-out, GMFRS conducted a two-month pilot at its headquarters in Swinton last September, where it has around 250 to 300 PCs and printers.

It implemented Cisco's EnergyWise software and began by monitoring the energy use of its PCs and IP phones.

"We found 70 percent of PCs were left on at the weekend," said Parkinson.

GMFRS therefore decided to apply policies to the network to force PCs that were not critical and not being used at the weekend to close down.

This resulted in energy cost savings of £14,000 at the headquarters alone, which Parkinson said could increase to around £30,000 once the PC shutdown policy is implemented across all the fire service's 50 sites across Greater Manchester. It has around 1,200 PCs in total.

"We are [now] starting to look at IP phones and other devices, like printers and multi-function devices, and where we can apply a policy we will," he said.

GMFRS is also able to turn devices back on so that they are ready for use by staff when they are needed.

"Some of the PCs are being used all through the night [by staff]. We are starting to monitor those sites to see if we have patterns of usage," Parkinson added.

The fire service plans to complete the software rollout by May. Other IT projects taking place at the organisation include an upgrade from Windows XP to Windows 7 and Microsoft Office 10, due to finish in April.

GMFRS is aiming to meet its goal of reducing carbon emissions by 25 percent by 2014, in addition to achieving £2.73 million savings in operating costs through its environmental strategy. Its other policies contributing to the cost saving include implementing motion-sensoring lights, voltage power optimisation and the organisation also uses telemetry monitoring to monitor the amount of water used at different types of fires.

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