Digital technology and Internet of Things (IOT) challenges

Digital transformation and the Internet of Things (IOT) are important strategic considerations for leading companies globally in light of global warming and climate changes. We will look at some of the ways in which digital technology today, specifically the IOT and digital transformation, is working to mitigate the climate change risks and to support renewable company growths.

At the current rates of global warming and climate change plus fossil energy consumptions, experts have estimated that we would need more than 1.5 times current earth’s capacity to achieve a sustainable future carrying capacity. Climate change and global warming have already caused serious damages to earth’s environment and sustainable developments.

We have to find some way to control climate change and undo at least some of the damages that have been done. That’s where advanced digital technology and IOT can help. As sustainability takes centre stage, new and emerging technologies are being applied to help to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and nonrenewable energy sources plus to reduce pollution and emissions (IOT Agenda, Technology, 2017).

Digital transformation and the Internet OfThings (IOT) are some of the most promising technologies which could be applied. IOT, as a self-communicating and largely self-managing system of interconnected devices, is in many ways the technological embodiment of sustainability. The new digital networks together with new smart sensors should be able to help to collect an incredible amount of information from the real world. If these pieces of information are then analysed with the appropriate new big data systems (BDS) then these could help to provide more accurate management data. In addition, the application of appropriate IOT and BDS analysis could lead to the developments of entirely new operational models and systems which could help to minimise the impacts of climate change and global warming. With IOT, it is not just about the data collected by various IP addressable devices but also about how these data can be instantly communicated up and down in a chain of purpose-specific terminals. These could help to ensure that relevant information would be available at the right places for analysis so that appropriate actions can be taken.

In many ways, IOT should be able to tackle previously hard-to-isolate problems which have resulted from global warming and climate change. These could help to promote renewable energy growth plus support new cleantech developments and circular economy developments in emerging economies globally. A good example of IOT’s roles in renewables and circular economy developments includes improved operational insights with advanced digital sensors and big data analysis. These should empower renewable operators to improve their system efficiencies plus manufacturers to better manage their processes to reduce wastes.

IOT technologies can also help to reduce carbon and GHG emissions by improving the management of renewables, transport, traffic and mobility systems. Whilst the numbers of electric cars are increasing, fossil ICE cars are still generating high emissions and pollutions. Experts have estimated that close to 30% of carbon dioxide emissions globally have been caused by cars, with up to 45% of those emissions occurring around intersections managed by traffic lights. IOT technologies can help to improve traffic management in cities and reduce pollutions.

A good traffic example is that city planners have been installing lOT-cnabled traffic management systems in smart cities which would respond to real-time conditions instead of preprogrammed timers. With these, traffic lights should be able to detect asymmetric strains on the transportation infrastructure and then adapt intelligently to optimise traffic flow management. A good example is that instead of cars idling at lights for one to three minutes with the old-style timer control when there is no traffic coming in the opposite direction, a new IOT traffic management system can change traffic lights safely according to the numbers of cars that it has detected at an intersection based on actual traffic flows. Experts have estimated that these advanced digital IOT traffic control systems could help to cut the equivalent of 35 million vehicles’ carbon emissions over the next five years.

lOT-enabled sensors can also help to improve monitoring of water and air qualities from afar. Normally, water and air quality have to be monitored by collecting and analysing physical specimens. These have often been laborious tasks especially for remote locations. With lOT-enabled sensors, environmental scientists should be able to remotely monitor polluted rivers, contaminated soil and brownfields in remediation, without having to waste time and resources.

With advanced digital IOT technologies, the entire monitoring process could be done remotely. Advanced sensors could collect data about the surrounding environment and push these data to a dedicated IT server. Then researchers can review and analyse the large amount of environmental information with appropriate big data systems. A good example of advanced IOT sensors includes the new advanced air quality monitoring devices which use a laser light in conjunction with sensors to detect particulate emissions in the atmosphere.

Globally, oceans are covering over 70% of the earth’s surface. Global warming and climate change have huge impacts on the oceans around the world. Sea temperatures and water qualities are key measurements required to monitor climate impacts. Scientists have been recording sea surface temperature (SST) to better understand the climate change impacts on oceans globally. To measure SST, scientists have deployed temperature sensors on satellites, buoys, ships, ocean reference stations, and through marine telemetry. Advanced digital IOT water quality sensors on suitable buoys or carriers have been launched remotely into oceans or seas so that they can collect valuable water quality data for detailed analysis. Advanced IOT ocean temperature and water sensors included sea surface temperature (SST) measurements by advanced satellite microwave radiometers and infrared (IR) radiometers which are in moored or drifting buoys. Ocean scientists could then apply BDS to analyse the global ocean data collected through the IOT sensors so as to better identify the climate change impacts on oceans globally. Then suitable mitigate actions could be developed and applied accurately at different ocean locations so as to minimise climate change and global warming damages to oceans globally.

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