The Internet of Things (IoT) is widely regarded as a technology that helps businesses become more efficient. Thanks to real-time and granular data collection, companies can get snapshots of their various divisions/processes and determine which ones are not working at a hundred percent efficiency. On top of data collection, IoT also enables companies to take action to prevent disasters remotely.
IoT has also been making a lot of waves in the consumer sector. Technologies like wearables, smart clothing, and smart home systems have gone mainstream, and people around the globe are using them to improve their lifestyles.
According to the latest data, there are about 7.74 billion connected IoT devices around the globe. And by 2030, this number is projected to reach 25 billion! Furthermore, the global IoT market is worth 388 billion U.S dollars and is expected to surpass 500 billion U.S. dollars by 2030.
Looking at these stats, it is evident that the corporate and consumer interest in IoT will steadily rise in the next couple of years. Businesses are especially going to invest heavily in IoT in the coming years. But not only to make their business process more efficient but also to become more environmentally responsible. And in this post, we will learn how IoT can help your business become more sustainable.
- IoT can help businesses cut down on their carbon footprint and become more environmentally responsible without investing a lot of money.
- IoT allows businesses in using resources such as energy and water more efficiently, thus leading to less wastage and environmental damage.
- With the help of IoT, companies can pin-point areas where resource wastage is taking place, like leaky pipes or power-hungry equipment that are running for no reason.
- IoT also helps companies predict potential breakdowns in the systems that can damage the environment and take actions.
- IoT can also make fleet management and food cold chains more efficient and disaster resistant.
IoT and Sustainability
In the past, technological advancements and sustainability have been on opposing sides. Whenever a new technology like IoT goes mainstream and is embraced by people, it harms the environment. A great example is the Industrial Revolution in the 18th century, which saw a dramatic rise in pollution as manufacturing goods became easier. As a certain technology becomes more popular, factories consume more and more resources, like raw material and energy, for manufacturing, thus putting strain on the environment. Furthermore, factories and businesses create a lot of industrial waste that ends up in rivers, landfills, and our atmosphere, thus causing an incredible amount of harm to our environment.
However, companies have learned from their mistakes in the past few decades. Many organizations have installed systems to decrease their negative impact on the environment. But putting these systems in place and then maintaining them requires a lot of money, and as a result, many companies aren’t interested in the idea of becoming sustainable.
But IoT changes all that.
One of the biggest draws of using IoT to become more sustainable is that it doesn’t cost as much as traditional systems. Advancements in wireless and IoT sensor technologies in the past few years have made it possible for companies to purchase various types of IoT-enabled sensors and devices at reasonable rates. This makes it easier for businesses to become more sustainable and undo some of the damage they have caused in the past.
How can Your Business become More Sustainable with the Help of IoT?
Using IoT for Smarter Waste Management
According to a report by the UN, 68% of the global population will live in urban areas by 2050. According to the World Bank, this will increase solid waste by 70%.
As our cities grow, we will face a drastic increase in pollution and waste disposal problems in urban areas.
Factories and enterprises don’t always create the same amount of waste every day. There are fluctuations, and as a result, the trash pickup schedule is not in sync with their actual demands. So, it happens all too often that the garbage pickup trucks make their rounds only to empty a half-full dumpster.
This is a terrible wastage of fuel and money and increases carbon emissions levels, which could be cut into half by making garbage pickup runs when they are needed. On the flip side, sometimes the dumpsters get full before the pickup date leading to industrial waste lying around, creating unhygienic conditions.
IoT sensors can help companies get real-time data about the trash container fill levels. With the help of historical data, companies can figure out the waste production frequency of each day and then decide the best time for the garbage pick up. This means the trash gets picked up exactly when it needs to. Furthermore, IoT sensors can pick up humidity and temperature readings from inside the garbage containers, thus revealing any toxic fumes that might be building up in the waste.
With the help of all this information, businesses can optimize their waste management processes and decrease their carbon footprint.
Using IoT for Smarter Power Management
As a company grows, its energy requirements increase as well. HVAC and lighting systems are essential for any office environment. And while they make it easier for the occupants to do their jobs, it puts an enormous load on the environment. Furthermore, big premises have many nooks and crannies where energy is either wasted or not used optimally. One of the biggest reasons behind this wastage until a couple of years ago was that a centralized policy governed HVAC and lighting systems. These policies made it so that all parts of the premises got the same energy allocation, even those that didn’t need as much energy as the others. This used to create the problem of overheating in some parts of the office and overcooling in others.
IoT sensors give companies control over smaller zones of the premises, thus allowing them to personalize cooling and lighting for particular areas, thus making companies more energy efficient. Furthermore, adjusting energy allocation according to premise occupancy can also help save more energy. For instance, if the official closing time of a department in an office is 8, but nobody remains after 6, then the company can save two hours’ worth of energy by simply noticing this trend and turning the power off early. Energy consumption monitoring is also made a lot more granular with the help of sub-meters that tell how much energy is being consumed in any given area. Any spike in consumption can reveal where the wastage is happening, and proper actions can be taken.
Read More: How Can IoT Improve the Retail Industry?
IoT Helps in Monitoring Air Pollution More Efficiently
Aside from the solid waste problem, the biggest challenge of urban life is air pollution. Air pollution is directly tied to population growth, leading to more cars on the streets, more factories working overtime to meet the demands, and higher energy demands, thus creating even more air pollution.
These emissions are the main cause of many serious forms of lung and skin cancer. And as the population shift to the urban areas ramps up in the coming years, things are sure to grow dire. The biggest example of this is Delhi, the capital of India, where the smog is so bad that people can’t see two feet in front of them sometimes. On top of being extremely hazardous to humans, air pollution is also responsible for global warming and adversely affects natural resources such as water and plants.
To battle the rising air quality problem, companies are taking many steps. Thanks to the low-cost air pollution sensors, companies only have to spend a fraction of what they used to on their air quality monitoring systems. The data collected by these sensors give companies a snapshot of their entire facilities and which areas are causing the most air pollution. Furthermore, thanks to powerful AI tools, companies can predict where the pollution will go and who will be affected by it the most. This data also helps companies pinpoint the location of possible leaks that might be emitting harmful greenhouse gasses into our atmosphere.
IoT Helps with Smarter Water Management
Water is a precious resource that we are running through at an alarming rate. Water pollution and wastage are big problems in urban and rural areas. In fact, according to MIT researchers, by 2050, more than 50% of the world’s population will be living in water-stressed areas. According to data, around 85% of properties waste 35% of their water by leaks. Furthermore, 20%-30% of drinking water is wasted by leaks on municipal levels. IoT and wireless technology, however, can help us in this situation for smart water management system.
Thanks to low-cost sensors, it has become incredibly affordable and easier for companies to collect data from valves, joints, and even entire water treatment facilities. The real-time data triggers a warning when a leak is imminent. These sensors can also analyze the pH level of water to check its quality, trigger warnings when the containers are about to be full, etc. Also, companies can install these sensors in critical areas where leaks are common and save a lot of water.
Fleet Management Becomes More Streamlined with IoT
Due to the rising concerns over air quality, companies have had to take a long hard look at how they manage their fleets. Trucks have to make long journeys to move goods across long distances, leading to a lot of fuel wastage and pollution. And in an attempt to cut back on the emission levels of their fleet, companies are turning towards IoT solutions.
IoT sensors are hooked inside the trucks where they sit and collect data. The data is then transmitted back to the server using wireless technology. These IoT sensors allow companies to get data like location, fuel consumption, remaining fuel, miles traveled, idle time, harsh braking, harsh acceleration, etc. With real-time tracking, fleet managers, or AI-based custom fleet management software or tools, can change routes dynamically depending on traffic and weather conditions. This prevents idle fuel wastage while the truck is stuck in traffic. Optimal route creation helps companies cut down on their fuel consumption and emission levels. Furthermore, IoT sensors also keep track of harsh braking, harsh acceleration, and rough driving instances, all of which cause fuel wastage. Companies can take the required measures and ensure that the fuel is optimally used by studying these trends.
Read More: How Can IoT Enhance Your Business Growth?
IoT Helps in Cold Chain Monitoring
According to the data, about one-third of the food produced globally is wasted, and most of this loss happens in the supply chain process. Many factors have to be considered to keep the food from going bad while moving it across long distances, including temperature. That is why the improper temperature in the food cold chain can lead to a lot of food going bad.
While moving food, the right storage temperature, humidity, and other such values are all recorded and conveyed to the concerned people. But when these values are being managed by people, the human-error factor comes in. All it takes is one data entry mistake, and the entire shipment is ruined. Furthermore, between the source and the destination, the food has to pass through multiple parties that use different systems to keep track of these values. This gives room for a lot of mistakes to be made.
IoT-based smart cold chain supply systems offer complete visibility from start to end. With the help of temperature sensors, food can be stored at optimal temperatures while being moved. And the moment the temperature goes above or below the threshold, an alert is triggered. The relevant people can then take action to make sure that the food is not ruined.
Smart Farming Using IoT
Due to the rise in human population, the agriculture sector faces steep challenges. Due to the increase in demand and dwindling resources like water, fertile soil, and land, the global farming industry is under a lot of pressure. Unfavorable weather conditions and extreme and sudden meteorological phenomena such as storms and floods further add to the dismay of the farmers as they watch their hard work get ruined. But this problem is about to get much bigger. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, global food production will have to be increased by 50% by 2050 to feed the expected human population of 10 billion! This means we have to take a hard look at our farming practices and find ways to make them more efficient and streamlined. We have to learn how to produce more food with fewer resources and less environmental impact.
With the help of IoT sensors, companies and farmers can get real-time data for soil conditions and other essential factors for good crop yield. Then, using this data, an analytics platform creates a plan to execute various farming processes such as seeding, irrigation, etc. These IoT sensors and analytics platforms ensure that each process is carried out at the best possible time. Other factors like weather conditions are also factored in to make sure that each farming process is executed to perfection. Using IoT sensors, farmers and companies can also keep an eye on the health of their cattle and take necessary measures as soon as an illness is detected.
IoT, in conjunction with technologies such as AI and ML, can help us increase our food production by telling us the optimal time to conduct various farming processes and thus make sure that no resource is wasted.
The Internet of Things can change the way we do business. While IoT helps companies to become more streamlined and provide better services to their customers, it can also help them become more sustainable. The drop in the production cost of top-notch IoT sensors and wireless devices has made it possible for companies to make environmentally responsible business processes.
If you are looking to develop an IoT-based application to meet your sustainability goals, Matellio has years of experience creating the software tissue between IoT sensors and businesses. We develop custom AI-based IoT device management software and analytics platforms that help companies keep track of all their IoT and wireless sensors and use the data captured by those devices to gain valuable insights.
To learn more about our IoT development services, book a consultation with our IoT experts today!
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