Internet of Things Could Defend Against Climate Change

Climate Change

By cutting down the amount of waste generated and power used by businesses and individuals, the Internet of Things can make a positive impact on climate change.

Key Points:

  • When we don’t focus on making systems efficient, we consume power excessively.
  • Almost 2 billion gallons of gasoline is burned annually by people whose cars are stopped (traffic jams, intersections, etc.).
  • The Internet of Things is not just an investment opportunity but a structured chance to make a difference.

What do you get when you put together cloud computing, big data analytics, mobile technology, and social networks? A. The “third platform,” a platform that was essential to the development of the emergent Internet of Things (IoT). Often called machine to machine (M2M) communication in technical circles, this broadening of computing to objects throughout the physical world includes mobile apps that monitor your health, cars talking to each other, and homes changing light and climate control based on the current location of residents.

“At its very core, machine to machine communication is the ability to connect everything, I mean everything, through a vast network of sensors and devices which can communicate with each other,” explained tech finance writer Tyler Crowe.

By taking advantage of cloud technology, M2M is able to process and integrate data in real time, sometimes beating supercomputer speeds. One way that it will be particularly impactful is on the extent to which we use energy and the way in which we interact with those systems. Light switches could become less essential, and we can also slow our release of human-created greenhouse gases.

No matter how substantially you think that our environment is being impacted by these gases, it should be obvious to all of us that carbon pollution is negative, Crowe argued – if you are unconvinced by melting glaciers, consider the smog that’s produced. When we talk about this issue, we are often comparing fossil fuels to wind and solar, but alternative tech is insufficient: it won’t be enough to get to the level that most climatologists believe is necessary to prevent catastrophe.

The focus on wind and solar is therefore ill-advised. We need to think about consumption rather than production of energy, and the Internet of Things – powered through cloud computing – should be central to our strategy.

Changing the Way We Use Energy

How are we inefficient? The list is long, but two primary examples are the gas guzzling from traffic congestion (fuel burned to slow down, idle, and get back up to speed) and oversupply of the power grid. We aren’t trying to overuse energy. Our devices just need to be integrated rather than piecemeal: our technology must become one big, brilliant brain powered by cloud virtual machines.

In the U.S. alone, 1.9 billion gallons of fuel is consumed every year from drivers sitting in traffic,” said Crowe. “That’s 186 million tons of unnecessary CO2 emissions each year just in the U.S.”

If all cars were able to get data to each other, drivers could be redirected to avoid congestion. As our devices become interoperable, everything changes.

A whitepaper published by the Carbon War Room argued that the impact of M2M on our public and private operations would be incredible: we could cut down CO2 emissions by 9.1 gigatons. That’s equal to the current emissions of both India and the United States, and three times the drop estimated by the most optimistic studies on transitioning to clean energy.

Through the Internet of Things, the real-time interoperability possible in the age of cloud computing will not just improve travel but streamline water use, prevent deforestation, create an exponentially more intelligent energy grid, and conserve when rooms aren’t in use.

The UN Environment Program has stated that anthropogenic carbon gases would need to drop 15% for us to keep the temperature from rising more than 2 degrees centigrade, considered a bellwether of planetary catastrophe that could threaten life on earth. If the Carbon War Room forecast is accurate, we could get emissions down 19%; we could succeed.

M2M is skyrocketing as an opportunity for investors, software developers, and technology companies. Google purchased home energy use company Nest Labs for $3 billion. We already have billions of devices that are capable of interacting, although they aren’t interoperable. The sector could eventually rise to a market value of $948 billion.

The emergence of the IoT will reshuffle the deck in many ways with new opportunities for startups; however, huge tech names such as Google, Cisco, and Intel are throwing themselves into the mix too. Cisco is investing $30 million in a Barcelona-based Internet of Things center. Google’s Open Auto Alliance project is an effort to create the integration necessary for a self-driving future.

Cloud Virtual Machine for Your IoT Project

The Internet of Things could be a wise place to put your money. More importantly, it will make the environment more sustainable. For your Internet of Things project, get one of our Flex Cloud servers and pay what you use.

By Kent Roberts

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