Australia and New Zealand Banking Group wants to junk up to a third of its fleet of 29,000 desktop computers in favour of thin-client machines as part of a green push to extend its technology purchasing cycles and reduce energy consumption. The bank says it has entered evaluation trials with a range of thin-client technology suppliers as part of the technology overhaul within its 800-branch retail network and the looming relocation to new corporate headquarters in Melbourne's Docklands.
Unlike most Australian retail banks that have sought to steer customers away from making transactions at branches, ANZ has pursued an aggressive bricks and mortar expansion and plans to open 80 new branches in two years.
ANZ's head of technology for retail banking, Stephen Planincic, says the bank is now at a stage within its planning cycle where it is between 12 to 18 months away from upgrading its present branch desktop fleet.
"We have a program evaluating thin-clients and we are keeping all our options open," Planincic says, declining to name specific suppliers.
Unlike conventional desktop computers that utilise their own chips to process information, thin-client machines primarily use processors that are hosted externally on central servers.
One advantage of the technology is that it uses as little as five watts of electricity - a consumption rate that allows terminals to be powered solely through network connections such as power-over-ethernet rather than being plugged into mains power.
Sun Microsystems is one technology provider that has indicated it will shortly offer network-powered clients as it tries to entice large corporations towards greener computing.
ANZ's green computing push closely follows an announcement from May, when the bank said it had committed to becoming carbon-neutral by the end of 2009 - through purchasing carbon credits to offset its greenhouse gas emissions - at an additional cost of about $5 million a year.
The bank's new A$512 million corporate headquarters will conform to a six-star energy rating. Located at 833 Collins Street, the building is the largest single office development in Australia and will house 5500 ANZ staff in 83,550 square metres of office space from 2010.
© Fairfax Business Media
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