Sustainability Goals and IoT

Sustainability Goals and IoT

It seems paradoxical but adding billions of devices may actually help the world towards achieving sustainability goals if done correctly!
The excitement around Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) with tens of billions of devices expected in just the next few years impacting a wide range of industries has led to the use of terms like “Industry 4.0.” IIoT is clearly going to be revolutionary for many industries. However, very few people have stopped to consider how IIoT will help or hinder sustainability practices.

Some aspects to consider going forward:

  • Device lifecycle: with tens of billions of devices expected we should do our utmost so that the devices have a long-life cycle, are adaptable, and/or can be re-used so that we do not needlessly waste resources or pollute the planet with old IoT junk. While good device design practices are important, such as battery life, software services based on open standards like Lightweight Machine-to-Machine (LwM2M) including over-the-air firmware updates (FOTA), device management, and robust application-level data management are also key to these efforts. Ensuring devices are reusable and have long-life spans is an important design practice as regards sustainability.
  • Reducing systemic waste: measurable, data-driven gains in productivity are the main impetus behind IIoT. If the productivity sought includes more efficient using and re-using resources, IIoT has the potential to reduce industrial waste. We could imagine a world where the improvements in manufacturing and logistics due to IIoT allow us to move from a predominantly single-use economy to something more balanced.
  • Data-driving sustainability: Finally, according to the World Economic Forum analysis, “84% of IoT deployments are currently addressing, or have the potential to address, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as defined by the United Nations (UN).” 

IIoT can help us improve our ability to act quickly and intelligently in many sectors like agriculture, construction, energy, automotive, cities, health care, transport & logistics (T&L), manufacturing; however, these gains should not come at the detriment of the planet or its citizens by needlessly creating more waste. Good design practices should allow devices to have long lifecycles, be re-usable, and not waste energy.
Good software services like those provided by IoTerop’s IOWA, based on the LwM2M standard, help enable these qualities ensuring your IIoT solution will evolve with your organization’s needs.

The impact of IoT Standards on Energy Consumption and Device Lifecycle

In his white paper “5G, IoT, UN-SDG … OMA LwM2M, IPSO” published on the OMA Specworks’ website, Padmakumar Subramani of Nokia IoT illustrates how IoT built on LwM2M standard can help support United Nation’s sustainability goals providing us the tools to, if we choose, build a more just world.

On one hand, devices will allow us to make better decisions, reducing waste. On the other hand, IoT built on standards like LwM2M will support key services extending device lifecycles and reducing energy consumption.

For example, LwM2M’s use of CoAP (Constrained Application Protocol) over networks reduces energy consumption both on devices and networks. This doesn’t sound hugely important until a remote, mission-critical device has started running out of energy, requiring intervention and downtime. In addition, standardized semantic and interoperable exchanges favor the emergence of “intelligence on the edge”, where the decision making is not compulsorily relayed to data centers but rather to the objects themselves. Data centers and cloud services have a significant impact on the planet, deporting eventually the intelligence to the edge will help to reduce significantly the energy needed to power IIoT.

Push the Limits of Obsolescence with IoTerop

While hot, trending technologies change rapidly, you can actually improve your existing IoT solution making it more sustainable and protect it going forward by adopting LwM2M standard.

How? IoTerop works with many companies to migrate onto IoTerop’s IOWA. IOWA provides robust services providing security, manageability, and interoperability that allow organizations to move forward in all confidence.

With IoTerop, IoT is simple and more importantly sustainable.

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