IoT and Sustainability: Applying Technology to the UN Goals

By: Megan Davis

1, April, 2020


Event info - Government - IIoT - Industry - IoT - News - North America - sustainability - Telecoms -

The United Nations has adopted 17 sustainable development goals – and when analysing them, it is important to ask ourselves whether today’s technology is leading us to a sustainable future?

Sustainability on a global scale is becoming a crucial day-by-day focus. This is where the Internet of Things (IoT) can play a major role as a technology to help and realise sustainability goals and at the same time provide solutions to the challenges involved.

The World Economic Forum has defined guidelines about how IoT can be incorporated as a technology in a current and future economic situation. The guidelines mention the different areas, stakeholders, profitability, and risks involved.

Even though there is a boom regarding IoT technology and their applications, it is still in the early development phase and thus sustainability is never considered to be as a key requirement. It is an accidental output of the IoT products. This attitude has to change and needs to be observed from all the stakeholders’ perspective. This implies that every stakeholder has to play a proactive role to achieve these goals.

Humans are still heavily dependent on non-renewable resources. As mentioned by National Geographic, around 80 per cent of the energy produced every year comes from non-renewable energy.

According to the World Economic Forum study, around 75 per cent of IoT projects have focus on five different sustainable development goals. Around 120 projects (large and small companies) are focussing on affordable and clean energy.

It is impossible to get rid of the dependency on fossil fuels but it can be done efficiently. Smart grids and smart meters are one of them. Smart grids provide advantages like efficient electricity transmission, quicker restoration of electricity in terms of power failures and improved security, while the smart meters market is going to be worth almost $20 billion by 2022. Key features include security, easy connectivity and quick deployment.

Another sustainable sector, which can be greatly benefited from IoT, is agriculture and water management. The biggest consumer of water is agriculture where consumption can be reduced by significant numbers. Electrical power outages continue in some developing countries: with smart city projects, small smart sensors can be introduced to improve and make existing streetlights, security, monitoring of air quality and energy affordable and cost effective.

IoT has the potential to harness the power of renewable energy to great amounts and utilise the stored energy in an efficient way. It will not only boost the economy but also improve the quality of human life. This is only possible if we introduce IoT in small packets in the traditional methods of infrastructure development.

If you would like to learn more about this topic, why not attend one of the IoT Tech Expo World Series Events!

IoT Tech Expo North America 2020 (4-5 November)

IoT Tech Expo Europe 2020 (24-25 November)

IoT Tech Expo Global 2021 (17-18th March 2021)