Can The Use Of IoT Technology Help In Sustainability?

This World Environment Day, efforts must be made to address and tackle the issue of climate change at a global scale and on a serious note. Coming to think of it, can IoT help in saving the environment?

Besides the depressing news of the continuous upsurge in the number of positive cases, several pieces also highlight the importance of climate change, and how important is it becoming with each passing day. Yet, on the other hand, a lot of articles talk about how technology can play Cupid in this regard, and how can the environment be saved. It would be wise enough to say that the change is happening already, like for instance, a lot of environment-focused data collection has emerged out as a priority for many developed nations. Notable among them would be the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that are deploying IoT sensors to monitor evolving conditions.

Additionally, IoT has helped massively in trimming waste relates to the practice of large oil and gas companies that employ hundreds of people, in order to drive a string of sites in a single day, just to check a variety of metrics like tank and pressure levels. Leading companies in this sector are working with such oil-and-gas corporations that have deployed IoT sensors that would help enable such metrics that could be monitored centrally. 

Likewise, service industries too have been inculcating IoT on their daily lives. A common and a recent practice has been reducing truck rolls, that has become an IoT enabled use case. It’s well known that truck rolls not only burn up gas but are expensive as well. Last year in November, at the Smart Home Summit, a scholar had shared a similar perspective on IoT and resource utlisation. 

Alok Bardiya, Head – Internet of Things (Business Unit), Tata Communications, opines, “According to the World Economic Forum’s report from Exponential Climate Action Roadmap, it was found that expanding the use of digital technologies could reduce carbon emission by at least 15% – almost a third of the critical 50% reduction needed to curb climate change by 2030.

Technologies such as IoT, AI, Machine Learning and Robotics have been accelerating operational efficiencies and more so playing a critical role during this pandemic too.  World Environment Day is a reminder for us to strive and make a positive impact on the environment by leveraging these technologies.  IoT, due to its real-time nature of data collection, analysis and further actioning has proved to deliver significant environmental improvements in a host of areas. We believe, IoT has the potential to deliver noteworthy results in terms of environmental monitoring, waste management and energy conservation.”

Talking about curbing climate change, Microsoft had already mentioned that they would be going carbon negative by 2030. However, at the end, advanced technologies like IoT, data analytics would not only help in shedding light on such global problems, but also help in devising more sustainable strategies to be successful in the future. Talking about energy conservation Bardiya continues, “Energy conservation for instance, is where IoT has shown some very promising results and can span a range of sustainability use cases. Smart streetlight solutions are helping conserve energy, reduce costs, thereby ensuring the implementation of sustainable energy initiatives.

IoT is about monitoring/measuring, analysing and then acting. And it can thus span a range of use cases where we want to save resources. Agriculture is a great example – accurate soil moisture sensing can not only save water but also energy, as water can now be pumped automatically only when needed. At Tata Communications, we have implemented smart lighting solutions across over 10 cities in India and have seen around 27%  energy conservation for one of our projects. Apart from lighting, smart metering solutions for utilities like for gas, water and energy also make sure that energy and resource consumption can be monitored and optimized. All of this ensures our natural resources are used sustainably, so that we can all do our bit to improve the environmental footprint.” 

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