Is Internet Of Things (IoT) A Panacea To All Our Climate Woes?

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The industrial Internet of Things (IoT) can help us combat climate change. The adaptations necessarily measure the impact of the simultaneous effect of the industrial consequences along with human activities via the predefined sensors that can respond to multiple drifting parameters ranging from air to water quality. Furthermore, the algorithms can also predict the indirect and the supplementary effects which stream from the primary impacts of climate change.

Alex Gluhak, the head of technology (IoT), says,

“The internet of things is the digital skin of our planet. By measuring the real state of the world through sensors, we become aware of existing issues and can track them over time as we use specific interventions to combat these issues.”

The incorporation of big data and machine learning algorithms takes into account several recombinant factors such as flood levels, river waters, and wind speed, land erosion, the activities of seismic and motile creatures to give a statistical overview of the future climate shifts according to the location under consideration.

Can industrial Internet of Things (IoT) help us combat climate change? Image courtesy to LeeWayHertz 2020

The industrial IoT is one of the nascent technologies developed to address the increasing carbon footprint of processes. It does so by minimizing the use of natural resources, including raw materials, electricity, fossil fuels and water. On an additional note, the technology if scaled up accurately, can reduce the waste generation significantly; thus accelerating the steering of the circular economy. Quantifying the assertion, various reviews claim that when amalgamated with other digital applications (such as 5G and artificial intelligence), the IoT can reduce the world’s carbon emission by more than 15%.  

The farming industry has already experienced the transition to precision agriculture, which uses a minimal amount of water, fertilizers, and pesticides to improve crop yield and decrease the waste of natural resources. IoT sensors in the soil and environment, alongside the use of algorithms or “grow recipes,” can improve the management of farm resources.

The manufacturing sector is also shifting to sensor-based environments for ordering product—automatically cutting down excess production. The technology is also being used to monitor energy consumption; thus aiding to highlight the inefficient pieces of equipment. Not only has the process elevated the effectiveness of the manufacturing process, but the errors and the factor of safety can also be predicted accurately to reduce waste generation and promote the safety of the factory.

The Logistics market can be made more process-efficient by improving the delivery routes; thus reducing the transportation and the overhead charges. The industrial IoT can also be harmonized to track the energy consumption of the types of equipment; thus autonomously enabling to detect the leakages and the loopholes in the gas pipes and the water channels in an operating industry.

However, there is a flip side to these beautiful technologies. Technologists believe that fabricating IoT and its associated devices require resources that might be detrimental to the environment.  Currently, there is already a lot of research on energy harvesting for IoT devices to get rid of batteries entirely or replace them with biodegradable materials. It is believed that any device that improves both efficiency and productivity can thrust and enhanced level of production and consumption. It is, therefore, imperative to optimize the parameters keeping the cost in the backdrop.

It is indeed a novel development in the area of sustainable science to use IoT to reduce carbon emission and use the resources more judiciously. However, the technology alone would not be of any worth. It must be synchronized with proper policies and thoughtful usages to maximize its potential and to make sure the carbon footprints do not percolate into the ecosystem via any supplementary means.

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