Five ways the IoT is helping the environment

Connectivity, sensor technology and all things IoT are helping create a greener world

First published on February 10, 2017

After a successful pilot program undertaken by Gemalto, leading engine technology and telematics provider Ashwoods Lightfoot and Exeter City Council, the prospect of efficient, greener driving for everyday road users is becoming a reality.

But it's not just driving that's feeling the environmental benefits of the Internet of Things' extensive reach, and the tech world is beginning to see IoT devices increasing energy efficiency in homes and on farms.

Here are five ways the IoT is helping to reduce strains on the environment…

1. Green on the go

Intelligent, autonomous cars can usher in a new era of green driving by allowing cars on the road to communicate and process what other vehicles are about to do. This allows traffic to move at one speed with only a few meters between vehicles, reducing the fuel inefficiency brought on by the speed and gear changes of human-operated vehicles. IBM'S Watson IoT Platform has been used to create a driverless car called Olli. The Watson IoT platform analyzes the vast amounts of data that comes from the sensors in the vehicle, allowing it to accelerate, decelerate and change lanes without driver input. 

2. Connected wildlife

IoT has been used to bring species back from the brink of extinction, with great success. The Iberian Lynx was re-established in Spain after using IoT technologies to track and monitor the few remaining wild lynxes. Using collars for geomapping their location and habits, together with connected drones, which were much less invasive when tracking the animals, scientists and wildlife experts were able to help re-establish the species.

3. Waste not, want not

Leaving lights on, heating a house that's empty or heating up water that no one is going to use are all big wastes of energy. But smart and connected homes can prevent unnecessary energy use. There are programs already available, like the Loxone Smart Home, that allow users to turn lights on or off and control the temperature and boiler activity when out of the house. Not only that, cars are also able to connect to homes, creating a wider array of efficiency-saving options.

4. Sensing change

Sensors are more sophisticated than ever and can now be carried around by people with ease. There are a range of sensors that measure air quality and warn users through apps on their smartphones when the air is at dangerous levels, or likely to cause asthma. This is not only helpful for the user, but can also raise awareness of pollution and high emissions in populated areas. Similar devices are also used for working with radiation and miners. It's a good way of driving communities and governments to combat rising pollution levels.

5. Smarter farming

Using smart sensors, farmers are able to reduce the amount of waste they produce, as well as monitor their agricultural processes depending on weather, humidity, sunlight and other external factors. It's also possible to reduce the amount of water used to hydrate growing crops when a sensor discovers that the moisture levels in the soil are just right. An IoT approach can help reduce waste and increase energy efficiency in the farming world.​

TAGGED IN iot; internet of things; innovation