Goodbye to Waste: How IoT Will Play an Integral Role in Creating a Sustainable World

by | Feb 3, 2020

It is both an exciting and confusing time in the energy sector as new innovations and improvements to renewable technologies arise constantly. As a global community, we tend to focus on the grandeur of newly developed tech, meanwhile disregarding the current infrastructure issues we face due to the massive costs that a complete revamp would entail. Our current power grid, water utilities, and transportation infrastructure all pose serious problems as the demands for these resources increase. As of now, cities are growing faster than ever in both size and population - and so is the magnitude of the waste that they produce year after year.

IoT environmental sustainability could potentially solve all of the problems that come with aging infrastructure without the astronomical costs associated with rebuilding from the ground up. By integrating IoT into our current, and future infrastructure, data can be collected in real-time that reflects which areas of a system need to be addressed and prioritized to reduce waste. This article outlines the sustainability that would come with implementing new IoT technology into the ongoing systems that our cities, and our world, rely on:

Sustainable Energy
  • IoT would enable cities to have a “distributed micro-grid” in which devices could connect to the closest available energy resource, thus reducing the losses linked to electricity traveling over long distances, while also prioritizing the use of a renewable source.
  • Smart meters provide a consistent flow of data that shows where high usage is occurring and gives utility providers the information needed to address the problem.
Sustainable Water
  • IoT devices embedded in pipes can monitor flow to allow quick recognition of a leak, thus reducing the massive amount of clean water that is lost every year.
  • Devices can also provide data on the water quality so that areas within a city that are sub-standard can be addressed first.
Sustainable Transportation
  • IoT can be utilized to reduce fuel waste by embedding sensors into both cars and the pavement which could give live data to drivers on the available parking spaces near them.
  • Sensors would provide real-time data to analyze traffic patterns and assess the areas with the most prominent traffic problems.

The article provides specific recommendations on how to optimize the effects of implementing IoT into the infrastructure of our cities. The first major suggestion to point out is that there is no need to wait to begin this process. City officials can begin plans to implement IoT devices within public buildings which would lay the foundation for the private sector to follow. Another important point is that the relevant sectors need to collaborate and cooperate in their implementation of IoT technology. There is absolutely no need to collect redundant data when it comes to developing a more sustainable world. By working together, money and resources can be saved, and larger data samples can be produced which would enable more accurate insights.

Lastly, the article calls for IoT initiatives to be actively inclusive of citizens. It is crucial that the public sector first focuses on enabling people to understand and use the data provided by new IoT technologies to increase their own conservation efforts.

With the insane amount of losses in energy and clean water that we suffer as a planet, it appears to be a common knowledge that the systems operating within our cities need to change. There are countless ideas that could prospectively achieve this goal, but implementing IoT technology into our infrastructure would not only be the fastest way to begin living in a more sustainable world, but also the most cost-effective, which is something that all parties - both public and private - can get behind.
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