The Internet of Things, also known as IoT, has helped many sectors to improve the communication between its devices and also to coordinate them effectively, either in big companies or in the domestic environment. These technology skills turned into a major ally in the fight against climate change, because they can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions particularly in the uses of energy. For the economist and entrepreneur with a focus on innovation and technology Arie Halpern, the IoT has tools that can optimize our way of dealing with the energy. “A partnership between this sector and the Internet of Things can improve the safety and efficiency of energy use,” says Arie Halpern.
Technologies associated with the Internet of Things could help reduce the emission of greenhouse gases in 9.1 billion tons until 2020, according to a report from AT&T and Carbon War Room. Most of that reduction would happen through improvements in the infrastructure of electric power companies, reducing fuel consumption in transport systems and improvements in the constructive systems.
In the first case, the “Smart nets” could reduce the emission of CO2 by 2 billion tons, while the transport sector could diminish 1,9 billion tons, since the IoT would be able to enhance the efficiency of airplanes, trains, trucks and boat travels, thus reducing the consumption of fossil fuels. The construction sector is yet another area that could help in the reduction of emissions: using M2M technologies, 1,6 billion tons of CO2 would stop being emitted by just improving the efficiency of refrigeration and ventilation systems, lighting and security systems.
According to Arie Halpern, the development of technology and its adoption is just the first step towards the disruptive process of the power sector. “As people and companies start adopting the IoT, technology will open space for the society to change its way of dealing with energy, which will be the real disruptive breakthrough in the industry,” he says.
But all this evolution brings along financial and environmental costs. The Business Insider Intelligence estimates that the initial costs of the smart energy grids would be around $100 billion on a global scale. Meanwhile, the financial benefits are expected to surpass this figure, reaching US$ 160 billion. The BI Group also predicts that Asia should be the continent to lead the transformation to Smart Energy Grids, followed by Europe, North America, South America and Africa, respectively.
in terms of the environment, Gartner’s green technology specialist and Vice President researcher, Bettina Tratz-Ryan, draws attention to what will happen to these devices when they reach their useful life. Gartner’s estimate is that, until 2020, 26 billion of IoT devices will be scattered around the world. The challenge is to define a strategy for the correct disposal of this material so that it does not harm the environment in a manner perhaps as serious as the problems that it may help solve.