IoT plays key role in promoting sustainability

Sheila Zabeu -

May 30, 2022

oneM2M is a global initiative that was launched in 2012 with the goal of developing specifications that ensure more efficient deployments of Internet of Things (IoT) and Machine-to-Machine (M2M) systems. These technical specifications can be incorporated into hardware and software to connect a wide variety of devices. The organization brings together more than 200 participants from various business domains.

In the specific field of sustainability, oneM2M points out that IoT technologies have two important roles. The first is about maximizing the adoption of solutions in use cases that aim at sustainability. Prominent users can help by sharing their successful sustainable actions so that others can learn from others’ experiences and follow suit. The second role is to make IoT technologies inherently sustainable.

In an article recently published on the IoT Business website, oneM2M pointed out that sustainability has been gaining space on the agendas of governments and businesses since the United Nations formalized its Sustainable Development Goals almost six years ago. Business leaders already see sustainability as a centerpiece of their daily activities and as one of the key drivers for business change.

In this scenario, IoT technologies can be considered essential building blocks for establishing sustainable actions by enabling the effective management of widely dispersed assets. Organizations now have at their disposal tools to improve their decisions about scarce resources and thus contribute to sustainability.

The article explains that some IoT use cases involve customized solutions that will never change, while others evolve over time according to new requirements, business pressures, or technological evolution. For an IoT solution to be sustainable, its design needs to take into account possible evolutions to ensure its longevity, reducing, for example, the risk that early deployments have to be scrapped because of poor procurement choices. In general, sustainable designs take into account interoperability, open standards, modularity, reusability, and scalability.

In terms of interoperability, the most straightforward approach is to simplify the combination of different technologies and components from different vendors. A more demanding approach will consider exchanging data between applications and operational silos. More demanding designs will emerge as collaboration across departmental boundaries and across organizations is required to enable better decisions. These benefits lead to the principle of scalability which aims to extend the potential of IoT solutions to more business critical use cases and encompass higher value assets.

Módulos de design ajudam a combinar subsistemas de IoT e assim garantir que tecnologias legadas possam ser incorporadas em soluções maiores e mais exigentes. Isso preserva parte do valor já investido sem reduzir a vida útil dos componentes. A modularidade também segue o princípio de ‘reutilização’. Ao criar bibliotecas de software e componentes reutilizáveis, outros desenvolvedores podem economizar tempo e elevar sua produtividade.

Além dos princípios de design sustentável, é preciso tornar os próprios componentes das tecnologias de IoT sustentáveis. Isso envolve projetos de hardware que melhorem a eficiência energética e tenham uma vida útil mais longa. As abordagens de consumo de energia, por exemplo, precisam minimizar os custos e recursos necessários para manutenção. Essas características de sustentabilidade dependem de modos de operação com economia de energia e comunicações inteligentes. Isso, por sua vez, depende de protocolos de comunicação que otimizem a conectividade e a transmissão de dados que, consequentemente, dependente de padronização.

On the Wave of Sustainability

NTT, a global provider of technology and business solutions, announced the launch of the new IoT Services for Sustainability platform that aims to help companies in their sustainability initiatives by reducing their carbon footprint through the intelligent use of the Internet of Things. These IoT solutions include:

  • Reading real-time data from any type of meter, such as hydrometers, electricity, and gas meters;
  • Water leakage management;
  • Predictive Maintenance that collects data from sensors to create predictive models for events of interest, including downtime, accidents, or component replacement;
  • Environmental monitoring that identifies, for example, the presence of pollutants in the air and water, and tracks temperature and humidity.

According to NTT, benefits provided by the new platform include reduced energy costs, faster emissions drop-off, operational excellence, and better work capabilities.

“IoT technologies are an important tool in the global fight against climate change. We know what actions are needed to ensure a more sustainable future and we have a robust set of technologies available to help deliver the desired impacts,” says Jeff Merritt, head of urban transformation at the World Economic Forum.