When and how we upgrade our computer software used to be in large part our own decision. Today, it’s increasingly decided by software vendors themselves, who have automated this process through downloads. Automated software upgrades can increase energy use in different and unexpected ways, without any action from the user.
Before the advance of networked devices and automated software upgrades, the energy use of an appliance was rather predictable, because the features of such devices were static. Now, manufacturers can unilaterally decide to send out an upgrade that increases data and also energy use for all devices.
More and more consumer products are controlled by networked software: what does this mean for energy demand, and exactly who is responsible for increasing consumption? Although increased energy demand will be attributed to consumers, in fact they have little control over it.
Read more: Rebooting Energy Demand: Automatic Software Upgrades, an article I wrote for the UK’s DEMAND Centre. Picture: eBay.