Friday, December 04, 2015

How IoT will help Sustainability

Any one who has a car today will have experienced a traffic jam and once a while, while waiting in the traffic jam, there will be a thought: How to eliminate this traffic jam and help environment by better use of technology?

Several of today's startups are working on latest technology that may do just that.

In my previous post I had mentioned about How IoT is helping build sustainable buildings. But there is more to technology built on top of IoT which will profoundly change the way we live - and thus reduce energy consumption by increasing energy efficiency.

Cars are the BIGGEST users of energy today. It is no wonder, a lot of innovation and new technology is being developed to improve energy utilization in cars. Some of the innovations that we have already seen are:

1. Hybrid Cars that run on electric motors and fossil fuel engines
2. Electric Cars that can be charged from Solar panels
3. Uber's network of cars, where Internet connects the drivers to customers
4. Google's self driving cars

Now the stage is set for the next revolution:  A network of connected cars, connected buildings and smart traffic management systems.

The idea of self driving electric cars integrated with Uber like technology will enable commuters to share rides - thus eliminating waste. The idea of one person driving alone in a car will soon be history!

To enable such a system where self driving taxis can be hailed via smart phones will require lots of new technologies driven by IoT in form of Smart/Intelligent cars, Traffic monitoring systems on roads such as cameras, Vehicle speed detectors, Intelligent traffic monitoring and management via smart traffic lights, Smart parking spaces  & recharge points - which broadcast empty slots to self driving cars, Air quality & pollution monitoring and broadcasting system - which will guide hybrid cars to switch over to electric mode in polluted areas, Commute demand management systems - which will automatically determine the best possible commute options,  etc.

I am sure there will several other technologies that will emerge in the next decade.

On November 30th, amidst the backdrop of the COP21 Climate Change Conference in Paris,  a group of high-powered tech executives announced Monday the formation of the Breakthrough Energy Coalition and its intention to push investment to pioneering climate change technologies, there can be some real change in energy efficiency in the enterprise with technology available today.

IoT and the always connected network forms the backbone of this new technological breakthroughs - that will create build a sustainable world. IoT forms the eyes, ears & senses of this new technology, while the wireless networks from the interlinks that connects the people, the business and the cities together and provides relevant information for insights on what needs to be done to reduce energy consumption in real time.

Linking vehicles, commuter traffic and air emissions to air quality is giving traffic management the right data to manage for optimal efficiency: Reduce operational cost, greenhouse gas emissions and the environmental footprint.

The key value will come from raising the efficiency. Today people who drive their cars & big SUVs around normally use it for 5% of the time and at 20% of the capacity - i,e ~99% of all the available transport capacity in cars & automobiles are being wasted!

This will have to change and technology sector will drive this change to create a sustainable cities.

Similarly, almost 100% of sunlight falling on cities are being wasted! Developing more effective and efficient solar photo voltaic panels can eliminate the need for fossil fuels in cars.
New technology can change the way we consume energy and lead us to a path of greener and a sustainable future.

Closing Thoughts

Today, cars form the biggest polluters in the planet, and with new technology based on IoT and connected world and renewable energy, we can change the way we commute and this will help in a big way to reduce pollution and create a sustainable world. 

1 comment:

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