In the past, thinking about actions’ or inventions’ impact on our planet was not a thing, so today we are the ones who have to deal with global environmental problems. Gladly, we have some tools to help us to become a more eco-friendly society. The Internet of Things (IoT), one of the main Industry 4.0 features, is one of the examples: decisions regarding IoT are not only sustainable themselves, but they also try to tackle the problems previous generations caused and, apparently, IoT is good at it.
In this article, we will look at some globally widespread problems and give a few examples of how the Internet of Things can help us to minimise them.
WHAT ARE THE MAJOR PROBLEMS?
Some of the main global issues and biggest concerns include vast quantities of Carbon Dioxide, polluted water and enormous usage of non-renewable energy sources:
HOW IOT TACKLES THE PROBLEM
IOT AGAINST CO2
Transport represents about 30% of global energy-related CO2 emissions. Because of that, transportation and logistics companies are in search of solutions to lessen the CO2 quantities.
Mike Holdsworth, director of transport at Inmarsat Enterprise, notes that IoT could have a considerable impact on the emissions of logistics companies today as, for instance, CO2 emissions can be exacerbated by faulty equipment, engine damage, and poor route planning. IoT can address these issues by gathering real-time data from the engine and automatically notifying with instant alerts of damage or faults.
“This information can be used to limit engine wear-and-tear and increase average miles-per-gallon, indirectly reducing overall emissions and minimising wastage by extending the lifespan of each vehicle.”, says Holdsworth.
Mike Holdsworth concludes that transport organisations that will utilise the IoT over a satellite connection and make immediate strategic adjustments will have a distinct advantage over their competition in achieving environmental sustainability.
As written in the World Economic Forum‘s Guidelines for Sustainability, it is estimated that Industrial IoT alone can add $14 trillion of economic value to the global economy by 2030. Nevertheless, the advantages as regards people’s interests extend beyond the monetary savings as we can see how the IoT solutions contribute to people at a local and a national scale:
WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM REPRESENTS HOW IOT BENEFITS MULTIPLE STAKEHOLDERS:
“As a generic example, let’s take a smart building energy solution deployed in commercial and residential complexes which leads to a substantial reduction in energy bills for the owners. However, the benefits extend beyond the monetary savings: IoT solution providers benefit from the commercial results to the solutions deployed, governments at local, regional and national level eventually will benefit from the collective energy savings which equate to energy production and, ultimately, the broader society will benefit from the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.“
IOT AGAINST WATER POLLUTION
Many areas are continually prone to poor water quality all over the globe. It seems that we understand that polluted water leads to deaths of water habitats and possible diseases of the people using it, however, we ought to consider the negative impact it has on business people, too.
Take the tourism sector – minority will visit a water-focused tourist attraction is the water is smelly, dirty, unsafe to swim in. The same goes for the real estate industry – prices of properties will go down if the water that attracts people is unpleasantly looking.
WATER QUALITY SENSORS FOR SAVING THE WATER
Internet of things enabled real-time water quality monitoring systems. These provide us with real-time information so that we would not be late with our decisions in tackling particular problems. In other words, deploying IoT can lessen particular companies’ negative environmental impact by providing solutions against water contamination.
Industrial IoT‘s water quality sensors can measure and monitor any factors, like:
Water quality sensor‘s data are used for decision-making on a variety of management issues:
Automated water monitoring with the Internet of Things can save our water by using reliable technology and helping businesses to do it cost-effectively.
IOT AGAINST NON-RENEWABLE RESOURCES
Wind turbines, solar fields or geothermal plants are extremely complex constructions. For them to stay efficient and work at full potential, IoT is used to enable better operation control and improve the safety of the energy-producing place. For instance, wind farms should be able to adjust to the harsh and changing environment. IoT-enabled sensors that provide up-to-date information on weather, environmental conditions and turbine health help automate the management of wind farms, optimise maintenance and thus reduce the cost drastically.
However, even if renewable energy sources are maintained properly, storing that amount of energy still becomes an obstacle for ditching non-renewable resources for good. Gladly, that is where the Internet of Thing‘s distributed system‘s greatest opportunity lies.
Distributed systems are systems whose components are located on different networked computers. These systems communicate and coordinate their actions by passing messages to one another and thus can act as one. Where a centralized energy storage system may be too expensive for one unit, a distributed system might be collectively approachable for a larger group of people. Giving up storage systems that require fossil fuel can lessen not only CO2 that was mentioned before but also other gases which are released once we use non-renewable energy sources.
A great example of storage systems can be Tesla‘s Powerwall, a battery that powers your home even when the sun is down. During the day, solar collectors generate electricity and with the help of Powerwall, you can store the excess solar power and use it when needed. In addition, with the Tesla Mobile App, you get full insight into the power consumption in your house. According to Tesla, in case of a power failure, the Powerwall can still supply a building for more than 7 days.
The potential for further reduction of fossil fuel energy is huge, however, it requires the contribution of many people if we want to make a positive impact that counts.
The internet of Things is one of the three most impactful technological advancements we will see before 2030. Digital McKinsey estimates that by 2025, the Internet of Things will have an economic impact of about $11.1 trillion per year. Moreover, IoT can be the biggest source of value, surpassing mobile Internet, advanced robotics or Cloud technology. If the presumptions are true, with our input and the help of the IoT, unsustainable decisions will never be our choice again.