IoT Can Guide Climate Solutions

IoT Can Guide Climate Solutions

When it comes to addressing the climate crisis at the necessary scale, approaches such as "clean tech” or nature-based solutions (NbS) are often pitted against each other. And, companies’ objectives to maximize profits are often at odds with their environmental justice goals. But, the Internet of Things (IoT) solutions, which accumulate and aggregate data to promote efficiency and profits, provide options that can achieve emission reductions by reconciling what were once seemingly contradictory goals.

In a recent piece for Newsweek, Alistar Fulton, VP and GM of Semtech’s Wireless and Sensing Products Group, suggests these solutions are key. He cites that information about the surrounding environment, collected by a network of sensors and used alongside enterprise data could drive informed action. What does this mean for climate change specifically? It means that IoT solutions answer the question of how to produce more from less by helping enterprise consumers identify waste, develop process improvements, and monitor efficiency gains.”

Simplilearn: Internet of Things | What is IoT? | IoT Explained in 6 Minutes | How IoT Works, August 24, 2020.

Why This Matters

In recent years, the general public and the private sector have grown increasingly interested in technological approaches to solving climate change, but studies show that "clean tech,” such as direct air capture, is not a silver-bullet solution. Plus, these new technologies are often expensive, unpredictable, or do not yet exist at the necessary scale. However, IoT is becoming increasingly efficient, democratized, and cost-effective, and can offer companies a high ROI. Amid the demand for technological solutions and the need for climate action, IoT data can provide a roadmap toward both economic profitability and decarbonization.

Axios: How tech can help the world fight climate change, May 10, 2021.

FT: Carbon Capture | The hopes, challenges, and controversies, April 5, 2022.

Building A Network

Historically, IoT solutions have been most commonly used in the retail industry. But now, even profit-driven legacy industries -- "hard to abate” industries reliant on fossil fuels, like energy -- can look to IoT data to discover and target inefficiencies. According to a recent report, IoT solutions alone have the potential to reduce global carbon emissions by up to 15% by 2030.

To realize the full extent of IoT solutions requires companies to start somewhere. Fulton leaves companies and consumers with a few words of advice: "if you're not already having conversations about the ROI of IoT and the positive fiscal, operational, and environmental impact that decarbonization initiatives can have, start now.”

Ericcson: Can IoT technologies help mitigate climate change?, September 15, 2021.