The Internet of Things (IoT) has been growing exponentially over the past few years – from smart homes all the way to complex industrial monitoring systems, IoT networks are showing their endless potential. With long-range connectivity and smart sensors becoming widely available, just about every industry has been seeing the benefits that come along with such cutting-edge tech. But as our world becomes more connected and digitised, some may assume these benefits come at a cost to the environment. Sustainability and the environment is at the heart of everything we do at NoiseNet, so we did some digging – and here’s what the future of sustainability looks like with advanced networked technologies aiding our efforts.
IoT on Land
With growing populations, an increasingly global trade economy, and unpredictable disruptions constantly appearing, the farming industry is facing some of the biggest challenges in the fight for sustainability. The United Nations is predicting that by 2050, the global population will grow to almost 10 billion people. How do we feed that many mouths without damaging the planet?
It’s a complex problem that requires extensive research and consideration. But part of the solution will be to increase soil fertility and crop yields – creating more food in less space. This can’t be done unless farmers have solid insights into the up-to-date health of their soil across their entire farms – and that’s where IoT sensors come in. Traditional soil sampling needed to be done by hand and required laborious efforts to collect, track, analyse, and act on. Instead, having an array of sensors placed throughout the farm’s soil can give farmers to-the-minute data without the need to physically collect and analyse samples, letting them adjust their watering and fertilising plans on the fly to suit the needs of their crops. Not only will this boost soil efficiency and crop yields, it also lets farmers devote their time and attention to other important tasks like sales, crop planning, or administration.
One IoT producer leading the charge in farming technology is Semtech. Their Sensoterra product uses IoT-enabled soil probes to monitor water levels, resulting in up to 30% lower water usage across farms – a huge result with far-reaching implications for the future of farming. And that’s just what’s already on the market! Imagine what’s in the pipeline for the next decade?
IoT in the Air
Air quality is hugely important to human and environmental health and wellbeing. COVID-19 highlighted how airborne diseases can dramatically affect our society, plus modern cities like Hong Kong are reporting dangerous levels of air pollution leading to poor health in their citizens. These issues and others like them are immediate: they’re happening right now, and if not addressed quickly, can have devastating consequences, especially for our most vulnerable. Whether at home, outside, in the workplace, school, or a healthcare facility, we want to ensure that we’re only breathing clean air. What is being done to make that happen?
While the actual filtering and clearing of the air over large areas like Hong Kong will require coordinated international efforts in industrial and automotive reform, collecting the data needed to back up those international conversations is easier than ever. Hong Kong has established a network of eighteen networked air quality monitoring stations that provide the public with hourly updates and weekly forecasts of the country’s air quality, advising people on what measures to take in order to stay safe and healthy. These stations also provide the Hong Kong government with the kind of high-quality data needed to build cost-effective environmental policies.
Similarly, noise pollution is an issue seeing growing concern from public bodies like the United Nations, as the impact of noise on both humans and animals becomes more researched. NoiseNet specifically builds IoT-networked devices that provide governments with high-quality data to use in addressing current noise issues like domestic animals, roads, and industrial noises. In the future, we hope to develop even more tools to help reduce the impact of noise on our environment in a sustainable and future-proofed way.
IoT at Sea
The ocean is huge, and provides a lot of opportunities for the growth of our societies. From shipping to farming to energy production, there are countless industries that can see increased efficiencies with the use of IoT networks. Similarly to the Land examples used above, aquaculture farms have begun using sensors to monitor water quality, predicting ideal harvesting windows or alerting farmers of deteriorating conditions.
Sensors have also been incorporated into the construction of offshore wind farms, allowing for fully remote control and reporting of power outputs, helping to reduce maintenance costs, and leading to more stable energy grids. By optimising the use of these generators, they are generating increased efficiency and output and thus boosting the green energy sector as a whole.
The interplay of nature and technology is a delicate balance, but through the analytical power of IoT networks we’re swiftly learning more and more about how to make that balance work safely – both for us and for our precious planet. With IoT technology quickly booming and revolutionising just about every industry, we at NoiseNet are excited to be contributing to a brighter, healthier, and more sustainable future.
To learn more about what NoiseNet can do for your city’s sustainability efforts and noise pollution solutions, head over to https://www.noisenet.com/ and give us a call.