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The Internet of Things’ (IoT) Potential as a Catalyst for Environmental Good

By Alistair Fulton, Senior Vice President and General Manager at Semtech

The theme of this year’s Earth Day was “invest in our planet” – a fitting call to action for individuals, communities and organizations that, as a collective, contribute to human-caused climate change. According to the latest IPCC report:

  • If the Earth warms at 4℃, water scarcity and droughts will affect up to 4 billion people
  • Projected flood damages may be up to 2x higher at 2℃ warming
  • 58,950 wildfires burned 10.1 million acres in 2020

To manage our urgent climate issue, we must strike a balance between economic or productivity growth and reducing harm caused by that growth. This balance is delicate. This equation is not easy-to-solve; however, if we cannot invest in solutions that achieve “more from less,” then we cannot curb climate change at the pace our environment demands.

Much of the conversation has been focused on long-term answers involving energy, recycling, deforestation, and more – rightly so. But, how can we move the needle in the short term and mitigate minor inefficiencies that snowball? Realizing the potential of the Internet of Things (IoT). The IoT is a system of technologies that provides data, analytics and insights to improve process efficiency, increase productivity and reduce waste. Traditionally, IoT’s potential has been limited because it was too hard to build, implement and scale.

This is no longer the case. Time, resources and smarts have gone into making this technology more accessible. Examples include maturation of cloud-based IoT platforms, lower power reliance of sensors, and changing global standards that allow technologies to work better together. Here are three examples of how the IoT is having a real, measurable impact on the fight against climate change:

  1. Water Conservation: Smart sensors fitted into water management systems, smart homes and buildings enable real-time monitoring of water usage to detect leaks and limit water
  2. Sustainable Farming: Farmers and ranchers can measure environmental conditions that influence crop production, track the health of livestock and create efficiencies that reduce environmental impact.
  3. Flood Monitoring: Sensors integrated with the IoT autonomously monitor rising sea levels, which are increasingly valuable in coastal regions with a high risk of flooding.

IoT is not the sole answer to our climate challenge, but this technology has untapped potential as a catalyst for social and environmental good. Investing in the right IoT is the answer to measuring our impact on the environment in real time, and the minor inefficiencies that equate to long-term climate problems.

by Editor

Thursday, May 5th, 2022 at 07:51
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