From supercars running on F1 tracks to humble cold storage, Net-Zero has become a buzzword in the twenty-first century. All major economies and corporates have pledged unprecedented support to reduce the carbon footprint and greenhouse gas emissions from the world. IoT-enabled digital solutions can help in identifying avoidable emissions and accelerating the transition to a net-zero global economy. The combination of IoT, AI, and Analytics can improve operational efficiencies in many industries and reduce greenhouse gas. As per a recent study by a leading telecommunications company, it is suggested that IoT-enabled solutions can help reduce carbon emissions by around 15% by the year 2030. This blog delves into potential scenarios where IoT-based digital solutions can build a sustainable future.
Energy Efficient Workplace
Multistory buildings and commercial workspaces need a lot of electricity for their operation. These buildings use several IoT sensors to control the HVAC. This can lead to optimized resource management and reduced maintenance costs. Data collected from the sensors can be processed and AI-enabled solutions can make changes to the temperature, based on humidity, outside temperature, air quality, building occupancy, dynamic energy prices, etc. Corporates like Microsoft and AT&T have already started to use IoT-based technologies to make their office complexes more energy efficient with the goal to reduce carbon footprint.
Just like offices, home electricity consumption can be optimized by using sensors, a connected analytics system, and smart thermostats. Bosch is one of many companies that produce a bunch of smart thermostats which allow households to regulate their energy use. Similarly, Hive has introduced a range of smart devices, including a smart plug that can be turned off remotely, for optimization of domestic energy usage.
Agriculture is one of the largest contributors to climate change, which accounts for a quarter of human-generated greenhouse gas. It is the world’s second-largest emitter after the energy sector. IoT technologies make it easier for farmers to reduce firm waste and optimize the usage of water and electricity. Precision farming uses connected sensors to test soil and water levels and enables site-specific field management. This is very important since soil fertility and firm management differ dramatically. This technology helps identify accurate fertilizer needs, moisture deficiency, etc. and gives precise amounts of care for different parts of the field. The World Economic Forum estimates that if 15% to 25% of farms adopted precision agriculture, global yield could be increased by 10-15% by 2030, while greenhouse gas emissions and water usage could be reduced by 10% and 20% respectively.
Optimized Energy Distribution Models (Smart Grid)
Smart grid technologies use real-time data inputs to control the production of electricity and distribution. They use real-time data for power usage to predict the demand. Data coming from IoT sensors coupled with machine learning algorithms and AI-enabled analytics can make renewable energy solutions far more efficient. Ericsson Research projects that the smart grid could alone cut greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 4% by 2030.
Reduced Truck Rolls
Utility, Telecom, and Service industries require a lot of field technicians to maintain the assets and manage the installation. This requires a lot of travel. The usage of smart sensors can provide real-time data about the assets, which can help automate many of these routine inspections. This leads to fleet optimization and reduced truck rolls and eventually reduces carbon footprint.
The transportation industry is a major contributor to the global carbon footprint. The CO2 emissions from transportation are estimated to increase by up to 60% by 2050. Using IoT sensors, fleet operators can monitor driver behavior, idling, and driving conditions. This can enable companies to optimize routes, perform predictive maintenance, and lower fuel usage to reduce carbon emissions.
IoT applications can also play a role to streamline traffic management, providing intelligent accident detection, and enhancing trip scheduling to achieve maximum operational efficiency. As per a study by the U.K.-based telecommunications regulator Ofcom, it could achieve a 15% reduction in congestion with the usage of IoT, which could translate into a savings of nearly $1 billion a year including a huge reduction in emissions from cars.
Switch to a Paperless Environment
Many IoT devices can be used as energy-efficient alternatives to paper. One such innovative method is the use of Electronic Shelf Labels (ESL). These can be used as smart industries label containers, products, and storage units by replacing traditional paper with an interactive LED screen. Such setup can be integrated with self-checking and paperless billing as well.
Temperature Control in Supply Chain
Smart environment monitoring systems can help businesses monitor and remotely control room temperature, humidity, light, etc., for sensitive goods. This translates to fewer wastages and lower transportation needs and emissions. This is particularly useful for cold storage and cold chain operations.
Air Pollution Monitoring
IoT-based environmental monitoring systems can combat and provide real-time air quality data. IoT sensors can also be used to detect hazardous gas leaks in several industrial infrastructures. These solutions can help businesses monitor facility-wide emissions and take preventive measures to reduce their environmental footprint.
IoT needs three major things to thrive – reliable sensors, widespread internet coverage, and a strong computing system to analyze the data. The best thing about IoT to explode now is the right timing. The silicon revolution has already made the sensors very reliable and affordable. The number of people having good internet coverage has grown by 2X in the last 10 years. Now more than 5 billion people have internet access. Gaining computation power quickly and with low CAPEX is super easy due to the emergence of cloud platforms. And that has resulted in 20 fold increase in IoT devices in the past 10 years.
With the technology and infrastructure in place, every organization and industry should make the necessary moves for a greener, sustainable future. Net-Zero should not just be a buzz word, rather should become the way of operation for a better future.