Sustainability is an imperative for Irish businesses. Impending EU legislation on sustainability reporting, coupled with Ireland’s own climate action plan, have ramped up the urgency for businesses to act now on sustainability. The scale of the challenge is enormous; sustainability impacts every business, and every part of a business. But technologies like IoT can help, particularly in headline areas such as carbon emissions and energy usage.
We’ve identified six areas where IoT can complement companies’ sustainability efforts.
IoT minimises site visits
Our clients have sites all over the country, some in remote locations. Inspecting, maintaining, and resolving equipment issues at these sites traditionally required a site visit. But now, using IoT connectivity solutions, companies can remotely monitor their site equipment in real time. They have complete oversight of their devices and assets, which means they only need to send their technicians to a site if it’s absolutely necessary, ruling out the need for regular visits, and unnecessary travel. It’s no surprise that travel is one of the main contributors to any company’s climate impact. Any move to reduce non-essential travel means fewer vehicles on the road, leading directly to a reduction in carbon emissions.
IoT enables automation
When IoT combines with innovations like automation it opens up a whole range of benefits. With automation, companies can dramatically reduce the time and effort it takes to do certain tasks. For example, Electric Ireland’s smart meter rollout: previously meter readers used to travel the country, taking periodic meter readings from every premises. With smart meters and using a combination of IoT and automation, energy usage is calculated daily and the information is sent back to Electric Ireland. There are so many benefits to this process: transport is significantly reduced, the customer experience is improved as bills become more accurate and consumers feel more empowered to manage their energy consumption.
One of our clients, Water Control, is combining our SIMs, sensors and automation to make its system more efficient. Using sensor data sent via our SIMs, the water network can detect when pressure has fallen below a critical threshold, this in turn triggers an automated response to increase pressure into the system. As reservoir levels become more unpredictable and water delivery costs grow, that’s the kind of automation that will become more critical.
IoT can help you comply with reporting requirements
Connected sensors will be instrumental in how companies comply with the upcoming EU legislation Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD), which is due to take effect from 1st January 2024. The directive puts sustainability reporting on a par with financial reporting, making it essential for businesses to keep track of their sustainability efforts and climate impact. Many businesses will already be using connected sensors to monitor their premises’ air quality, energy consumption and water usage. All of the data collected means businesses may already be in a good place to meet these new EU requirements.
IoT gives you more control over your resources
Resources, from vehicles to natural resources like water, can be more efficiently managed using IoT connectivity. Companies can use IoT to better plan daily routes to minimise driving time, connected sensors to monitor leaks in pipes, sensors to detect when bins are full and need to be collected (as opposed to sending drivers to empty half filled bins). We’re already seeing this kind of innovation happening now and it’s only going to get smarter. In large offices, sensors can monitor occupancy levels, which means companies can make more informed energy decisions, like switching off lights and heating in empty offices.
One of our clients – the Walton Institute – is using IoT sensors to monitor the marine environment around Ireland and Wales. The sensors collect incredibly valuable data like wind speed, rainfall, water temperature, water salinity, nitrates in the water and other factors that can impact our coastline and the creatures that live there. The team has a constant flow of information from the sensors, meaning the data is as up to date as it gets. That means they can immediately identify any changes or trends and act on them.
IoT monitors equipment performance
The availability of real-time data empowers clients to take immediate action in response to anomalies or issues. For instance, in industrial processes, if a machine’s performance deviates from normal parameters, automated alerts can be triggered, allowing clients to address the problem promptly. This prevents prolonged equipment malfunctions, reduces downtime, and avoids wastage of resources. Swift action based on real-time data contributes to the reduction of environmental impacts that might arise from delayed issue resolution.
By analyzing real-time data, clients can identify signs of equipment wear and tear, enabling them to schedule maintenance before a breakdown occurs – this is typically classed as predictive or preventative maintenance. This type of maintenance, where issues are fixed as soon there is a hint of a problem, can extend the lifespan of assets and reduce the need for replacements. A happy by-product of this is it helps companies to minimise the environmental impact of manufacturing and disposing of new equipment.
IoT provides live data
The importance of real-time data cannot be overstated. Armed with this information, companies can better understand their climate impact, identify opportunities to reduce their consumption or wastage, enhance energy efficiency, gain better control over their assets and resources, and lower their carbon footprint by reducing travel. Using IoT to connect sensors, and other devices, is a smart and simple way to tap into all this data. In this way, companies can react faster, and be more proactive in their approach to sustainability.
If you’re investigating ways to limit your climate impact and enhance your sustainability strategy, IoT is a good place to start. It’s a simple but powerful tool that can make an immediate impact. Get in touch with us if you’d like to chat about how you can tap into the potential of IoT.