For the most part, the advancement of technology has provided us with new innovative solutions and inventions, making day-to-day life more manageable while also increasing our quality of life. From the invention of plastic to the discovery of crude oil refinement, many technological breakthroughs are still as relevant to society today, as when they were first identified – but it’s become increasingly apparent that this has come at a price to our environment. So, in this article we ask, how can eco-friendly IoT reduce environmental pressures?
The growth of the IoT market is looking solid for 2019, with the investment in devices and data set to hit $1 trillion by 2020 and 1.3 billion connections predicted to be in place by the end of the year. Innovation in new eco-friendly IoT and sustainable technology is also on the increase, as emerging eco-IoT solutions aim to tackle big issues such as CO2 emissions, global warming, rising sea levels, plastic pollution, food shortages, and the devastation of wildlife and their habitats. Here, we take a look at just a few examples:
Illegal deforestation is one of the many ongoing environmental battles that countries struggle to eradicate. This is largely due the lack of resources available to track rogue loggers in vast landscapes, combined with an ever-expanding population in need of space for housing and timber products.
In recent years however, environmentalist groups have been tackling this issue head on by placing small IoT devices onto trees in high risk logging areas that can alert authorities when the device has been compromised – that is, when the tree has been cut down. Some devices even include highly sensitive tech, that detects sounds associated with logging machinery, well before the trees are destroyed. Simple yet powerful, these tree devices provide authorities with vast amounts of data, building a pattern of high risk logging sites and better preparing them to prevent future forest devastation.
The humble honey bee is essential to the pollination of our flowers, crops and production of honey, but sadly in recent years bee populations have been in rapid decline worldwide. To narrow down exactly why bee populations are crashing, scientists are experimenting with small sensor “bee backpacks” that are fitted onto the backs of individual bees.
With RFID technology and rechargeable batteries built into the backpacks, the bees act like living IoT as data can be recorded and transmitted back to a central system which is located by the hive. Not affecting the bees’ ability to carry on with their business, these mini IoT backpacks allow scientists to build a larger picture, based on the data collected, of hive activity. This is enabling us to identify any unusual activity which could possibly impair the hive, for example temperature changes, air quality and physical interference. Developing a better understanding of the behaviour of bees, thanks to the input from IoT, exposes the damaging affects some not so eco-friendly inventions such as pesticides and intensive farming can have on hive stability – and ultimately can help us to protect this species.
Carbon emissions pose a significant threat both to our environment and to our health, with multiple factors being the source of the problem. Vehicle emissions, factory ejection, chemical and crude oil spillage, fuel consumption and coal production are just a handful of man-made invention side-effects and consequences.
Looking at transport alone, the number of vehicles on our roads has increased dramatically, resulting in higher levels of fuel consumption and carbon emissions. While electric cars are the future, petrol and diesel vehicles still service the majority, and the technology for 100% clean fuel is still years off. Newly developed eco-friendly IoT devices, that integrate with existing vehicle systems, offer drivers the ability to reduce their carbon footprints though. Telematic devices, diagnostic sensors and accelerometers fitted in transportation vehicles can monitor engine and location data in real time. This can be used to help decrease mileage with better route planning, therefore increasing driving efficiency and lower expulsion, as well as to alert drivers when maintenance work is needed before the vehicle breaks down, decreasing the risk of additional emissions or oil spillage.
Full integration of eco-friendly IoT technology into the management and sustainability of environmental factors is looking promising for the future, as new collaborative ideas offer fresh approaches to solving man-made issues.