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IoT will save more than 8 times the energy it consumes by 2030

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It will also reduce in CO2, water usage and e-waste, according to a joint new study.

Research from Transforma Insights, 6GWorld and InterDigital asks whether sustainability could provide the impetus IoT has long been waiting for?

It sets out to make the case in Sustainability in New and Emerging Technologies. According to the report, by 2030 IoT deployment and its disruption of various industries is expected to save more than eight times the energy it consumes.

This would result in net savings of 230 billion cubic meters of water and eliminate one gigaton of CO2 emissions.

The report found that by 2030:
•    IoT solutions will reduce electricity consumption by more than 1.6 petawatt-hours (PWh), enough electricity to support more than 136.5 million homes' energy use for one year.
•    IoT’s net effect on fuel consumption will reach a yearly 3.5 PWh reduction of (hydrocarbon) fuel.
•    IoT devices and emerging technologies will conserve nearly 230 billion cubic meters of water – 35% of this impact will result from improved smart water grid operations, and remaining water savings will be supplemented by IoT-enabled agricultural applications like crop management and remote pest control.
•    The manufacturing of new and emerging IoT technologies is expected to increase global electricity use by 34 terawatt-hours (TWh) but will be offset by the more than 1.6 PWh of electricity conserved by IoT solutions.
•    IoT will result in an additional 53 TWh of fuel used for distribution and deployment of solutions. This distribution and deployment will generate incremental eWaste, including additional hardware per device and increased levels of device shipments. The overall impact will be more than 657,000 tons of eWaste.
•    IoT solutions will collectively enable one gigatons benefit in CO2 emissions. The impact on CO2 emission is notably lower in regions that have a greater representation of renewable energy in their generating profile.

Enterprise gets it

The report also highlights the difference in energy and resource usage in enterprise and commercial solutions. Enterprise-based IoT capabilities are typically incorporated if they increase efficiency or produce a net economic benefit, often in the form of reduced electricity, fuel, or water consumption.

Conversely, connected consumer devices dominate IoT and damage sustainability as they typically consume more electricity than their non-connected counterparts. In consumer solutions, IoT capabilities are added to improve the user proposition and tend to be net electricity consumers.

Benefits regardless

The report notes that IoT-enabled solutions like heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems and building automation generate sustainability benefits regardless of whether they are deployed in a consumer or enterprise context and will be the most impactful electricity saving applications (along with smart electricity grid operations).

Net energy consumers include commercial based IoT solutions such as CCTV, AV equipment and personal assistance robots.

The report also identifies the most impactful IoT solution in terms of fuel savings will be Road Fleet Management of vehicles and delivery vans, accounting for roughly 37% of fuel saved by IoT solutions of all kinds. Emerging technologies with the greatest impact on resource consumption are processing-intensive and deployed to ensure compliance or data optimization.

6G again

“In every area of technology, researchers, governing bodies, regulators and standards-setting organizations are expanding their field of vision to include the social, economic and environmental components that impact, and are impacted by, new solutions,” said Henry Tirri, Chief Technology Officer, InterDigital.

“IoT is a technology that we believe can and will transform our world, and its place at the center of 5G and eventual 6G development highlights the tremendously positive impact that the work of InterDigital and others is having in providing solutions for an improved world.”