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What are sustainable IoT and edge technologies?

IoT devices are tiny, low-cost pieces of hardware with sensors that send and receive data. Edge technology allows this data to be processed locally (at the “edge”), instead of transmitting it back to a datacenter, reducing processing time and energy consumption. This powerful combination helps companies, large and small, monitor and analyze processes in their organizations, enabling them to make informed and immediate operational adjustments to drive greater efficiencies.

SEE: Hiring Kit: IoT developer (TechRepublic Premium)

IoT and edge solutions are helping businesses around the world and across industries reach their financial and environmental sustainability goals:

The agricultural industry

Global farming accounts for 70% of all water consumed by human activity, and more than half of that amount is lost through inefficient irrigation practices. IoT and edge farming solutions reduce water usage, as well as soil erosion, energy consumption and food waste in agricultural operations, conserving these critical resources and saving money.

For example, inefficient irrigation systems will continue to water open-air fields even if it starts to rain. IoT and edge solutions track soil moisture and cut back on watering appropriately when it rains, saving water and lowering utility bills.

The hospitality industry

Food waste from restaurants represents 15% of all food that ends up in landfills. The food generates methane gas as it rots, a greenhouse gas 20x more potent than carbon dioxide.

Leading restaurant chains use IoT and edge technologies to monitor and optimize operations in their kitchens to lessen food as well as energy and equipment waste. In fast food chains, kitchen equipment frequently ends up in landfills prematurely due to accidental, but irreparable, damage by untrained operators. Food, like fryer oil, is wasted due to inefficient kitchen technology and employee practices.

Leading quick-serve franchises use IoT and edge technology to collect and analyze data on kitchen equipment and kitchen staff protocols, generating next-best-action recommendations and automated processes that reduce waste and equipment damage. This reduces capital and operational expenses. It also lowers food and water waste, consumption of electricity and greenhouse gas emissions.

Commercial real estate

Lighting, heating, and cooling systems in buildings account for 27% of global carbon emissions. Sustainably-forward companies leverage IoT and edge to minimize the consumption of electricity by these systems in their commercial buildings, reducing power bills and greenhouse gas emissions. By using IoT and edge technologies to precisely control and maximize the efficiency of these climate control systems, they reduce operational costs and their carbon footprint.

IoT and edge technology solutions for sustainability are a win for the bottom line and a win for the planet. They’re also surprisingly easy and inexpensive to deploy, making them a win for technologists as well.

Don’t IoT and edge solutions also generate greenhouse gas emissions?

How can your company leverage IoT and edge solutions to save money and reduce environmental impact if cloud-based solutions rely upon electricity and hardware? IoT and edge solutions require electricity and hardware, but when these technologies are employed prescriptively to drive operational efficiency and improve sustainability, the net effect will be reduced energy, greenhouse gas emissions and waste. If a recyclable edge computing device requiring three watts of power per day is used to lower the total operating time of a coffee maker that requires 1500 watts per day, less overall energy is consumed.

Sustainable IoT and edge technology is only sustainable if it prevents or reduces waste, pollution or the depletion of critical resources. And as Forrester warns in a recent report, “as more government mandates take shape around the world, investor scrutiny on sustainability issues increases and customers demand tangible action, all organizations will need to craft a meaningful level of sustainability strategy.”

Employing IoT and edge technology is a no-brainer for companies seeking greater operational efficiency, increased profitability and a lower environmental impact. Organizations incorporating these solutions now will enjoy a competitive edge as market demand for corporate environmental sustainability grows. The applications of sustainable IoT and edge technology are endless: Warehouse operations, transportation logistics, manufacturing and more. How could your company take advantage of this low-cost monitoring and operational optimization solution to drive greater efficiencies and make the world a greener place?

About Shawn Ennis

Shawn Ennis

An innovative career technologist with over 25 years of experience developing company strategy, driving bottom-line and delivering solutions that delight customers, Shawn Ennis is the director of digital edge at Concentrix Catalyst, the experience design and engineering team of Concentrix, a leading global solutions company that reimagines everything CX through strategy, talent and technology. 

Together with Concentrix, Catalyst combines human-centered design, powerful data and strong tech to accelerate CX transformation at scale. They help brands increase customer engagement and retention with loyalty and connected membership, accelerate enterprise software delivery with API management and security, enable productivity and seamless operational experience at scale with intelligent automation, achieve business agility and delivery frameworks with CX transformation, seamlessly pivot digital transformation efforts with enterprise modernization and deliver data-driven insights with digital selling. Shawn is a highly results-driven creationist with a passion for the environment.

About Michelle Smith

Michelle Smith

Michelle Smith is a senior leader of environmental sustainability strategy and solutioning at Concentrix Catalyst, the experience design and engineering team of Concentrix, a leading global solutions company that reimagines everything CX through strategy, talent and technology. Michelle and her colleagues in the Sustainable Experience Engineering (SEE) practice at Catalyst help Fortune 500 companies make the world a greener place.