Rising seas and burning forests. Climate change. Carbon emissions. These are all issues trending today in the press – and at last week’s UN Climate Change Conference (COP25).
The most pressing issue is for the West to reduce its carbon emissions. The urgency is partly because the West must help to offset the developing world’s own industrialisation and increased carbon footprint.
There is a way. Digitalisation could provide some of the answers. What if you could turn your data into a resource that promotes sustainability? You can. One way is through the Internet of Things (IoT). The IoT gives you the ability to collect valuable data from anywhere and in real time. This data can be used to make better-informed decisions and control processes, which in turn can minimise resource usage or waste.
The IoT delivers smarter, incremental solutions, as opposed to a “big bang” approach to environmental change (where industries are expected to make sweeping changes overnight). An example of this is data from new hybrid or electric cars. Data from devices in these cars provides valuable information about how they are driven, in what conditions, their maintenance requirements, fuel consumption, live traffic and alternate route information – multiple factors that can help minimise environmental impact.
Another example: By 2021, more than 5,000 London buses will be fitted with telematics controllers to monitor and analyse emissions in real time, providing valuable data for future study and action. This could have a major impact in the city, which recently introduced ultra-low emission zones to improve air quality for its eight million plus residents.
Water management is another example of how to reduce resource usage and wastage. IoT devices can monitor digital water meters, pipelines and pumps.
Using an IoT platform a water utility can detect and report leaks in real time, and act immediately to manage incidents. They can inform and report responsibly – to customers, municipalities and regulators. They can better target maintenance, preventing future leaks.
Forging a green alliance
No single company can provide a perfect one-size-fits-all solution to every sustainability issue, but a diverse IoT network can go a long way. The potential of industry collaboration is enormous. If power suppliers and individual consumers would work together to create smart grids, they could achieve a dramatic decline in greenhouse gases. Smart grids could help recover some of the six percent of transmitted power that “disappears” in Europe and the US every year.
Forecasts show that by 2030, the EU could generate 50 percent of its power from renewable sources. Smart meters will be vital in making this transition, along with the adoption of more IoT technology, such as smart buildings.
The possibilities of the IoT in providing sustainable solutions are almost limitless. The most important thing is for IoT technology to offer you freedom through adaptable automation, reducing day-to-day human involvement. It must be independent and enable you to change quickly so you can adopt emerging technologies and ensure maximum customer retention for years to come.
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Read The New Economy article in its entirety here.