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Easy Being Green: Why the Internet of Things Will Help Sustainability

September 26, 2016 • TECHNOLOGY, SUSTAINABILITY & ETHICS, Internet of Things, Social Impact

By Joy Tan

 The Internet of Things is just one of the technologies that is re-shaping the world. It is not only perceived as a tool to efficiently improve work, but it will also deliver maximum economic and commercial benefits – like making the world better and more sustainable.

 

The Internet of Things (IoT) refers broadly to the system created by physical objects that are connected to the Internet. Industry 4.0, a part of the IoT, usually refers specifically to manufacturing in a factory setting. Huawei reckons that about 55% of the IoT will consist of manufacturing, utilities, and smart cities, while the remaining 45% will involve consumer applications such as home appliances and vehicles, including driverless cars.

The IoT will contribute to agriculture and crop management by taking the data from connected objects and using it to improve farm performance‚ a trend that has been underway for more than a decade now.

Because connected devices provide data on how people actually use them, companies will have a rich new source of information about how to better manufacture, operate, and service nearly everything they make. Data from connected objects will also save businesses a lot of money. Last year, Huawei’s Global Connectivity Index, which looks at how countries use technology to foster economic development, asked what would happen if efficiencies created by the IoT made supply chains, manufacturing processes, and other workflows 1% less expensive. Annual projected savings ranged from US $350m in some industry sectors to US $1.2b in others.

Beyond making processes more cost-effective, the IoT will also improve sustainability in a number of areas. One key sector with potential for dramatic improvement is agriculture and crop management. The UN estimates that to meet growing demand for food, worldwide farm production will have to rise by 70% between now and 2050. Since most arable land is already being cultivated, the only way to meet that target is by achieving higher crop yields.

The IoT will contribute by taking the data from connected objects and using it to improve farm performance, a trend that has been underway for more than a decade now. In 2001, John Deere, a maker of agricultural machinery, began putting global positioning systems on its tractors. GPS showed farmers which patches of land they had left untilled, while helping them avoid going over the same ground twice. This lowered fuel costs by up to 40% and helped farmers use fertiliser and herbicides more efficiently. The IoT will improve things even further by digitally linking tractors, tillers, and harvesters, then collecting the data gathered by farm equipment and integrating it with information about weather forecasts, soil conditions, irrigation schedules, and overall farm performance.



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About the Author

joy-tanJoy Tan is President of Global Media and Communications at Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd., where she leads a diverse team of communications and media affairs professionals globally. Her team is committed to communicating Huawei’s innovation and best practices as a global technology leader. She has global expertise for over 15 years in marketing and communications for various industry sectors like telecommunications and energy.

 

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