Saving the environment, one IoT device at a time

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The Internet of Things (IOT) will change the world we live in. The vast network of everyday items connected to each other through the internet will revolutionize our daily life and alter our economy. But how will it affect the environment?

IoT presents some environmental concerns, such as the raw materials used to make the devices and the energy used to run them and store the data they create. These issues could be mitigated by designing with the environment and sustainability best practices in mind and using renewable power sources.

IoT will take a toll on our environment in some ways, but in others, it will provide much-needed assistance. Several IoT technologies are designed specifically to address environmental issues and could help slow or reduce the impact from climate change.

Energy Efficiency

A smarter home or business is one that uses less energy and, therefore, is better for the environment while saving you money. A recent study found that IoT could reduce energy consumption by 10 percent.

When everything in the home is connected to the internet, it can automatically shut itself off or reduce its power usage when it isn’t needed. IoT could even synchronize energy usage across the grid to avoid too many people using too much power at one time. Many of these devices can learn on their own when to adjust the amount of power they pull.

This applies to all sorts of devices from thermostats, lighting and water heaters to refrigerators and washing machines. Even if your home is already using energy efficient devices, connecting the internet of things can still increase their productivity.

Smart Farming

The role that data and “smart” technology play in farming is on the rise. And thanks to that technology, so are yields, while energy and water use has been reduced.

IoT can help farmers gather data about their soil, crops, livestock and the weather. It can then use this data to help farmers decide when and where to plant. Farmers use sensors to gather this data, as well as drones and tractors equipped with an Internet connection and the ability to drive themselves.

We will need to produce even more food in the coming years, and IoT can help that process be more efficient. IoT can help manage irrigation so farmers can use less water and get a better yield from less land.

Environmental Sensors

Environmental sensors can monitor soil quality on farms and have the potential for many other uses as well. They can be used to track water and air quality too. This data can be combined to provide an extremely accurate and up-to-date picture of our environment.

These sensors can also be used to monitor forests for fires and watch for natural disaster events such as earthquakes and tsunamis.

IoT could help us understand our environment better and help pinpoint problem areas we need to fix.

Wildlife Monitoring

IoT is already helping to protect endangered species and monitor wildlife and will continue to play a role in this area.

Collars — and one day, sensors placed under the skin — equipped with IoT technology can help people monitor endangered animals, study their habits and learn more about how to protect them. One project even used these collars to track lions and alert cattle farmers to their whereabouts in order to avoid deadly run-ins.

Lion tracked with collar

Drones have also been used to keep an eye on wildlife to help protect them from poachers. The drones are less invasive than other methods and make it easier to consistently monitor animal populations.

Technology has the potential to help us protect our environment and IoT is one of the most promising technologies in this area. Whether it’s monitoring air, water and soil quality, tracking wildlife or reducing energy usage, IoT has an interesting future ahead of itself and could play a prominent role to reduce our environmental impact.