A new report from Transforma Insights and 6GWorld has shown that IoT operations in 2030 will save more than eight times the energy they consume, amounting to net savings of 230 billion cubic meters of water and eliminating one gigaton of CO2 emissions.
The report (pdf, email required) sponsored by InterDigital, looked at the incremental impact of new technologies by examining the resource impact of enterprise and commercial technologies on electricity, fuel usage, eWaste, CO2 emissions, and water usage.
In terms of electricity, the report found that the manufacturing of new IoT technologies will increase global electricity use by 34 terawatt-hours (TWh) by 2030, but that IoT solutions will also 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.
For comparison, the total electricity consumption of the global ICT industry is forecast to increase to around 8 PWh by 2030, meaning that together new IoT technologies will generate energy savings equal to around 20% of the total power consumption of the ICT industry.
For fuel, the IoT industry will result in an additional 53 TWh of fuel being used for distribution and deployment of solutions. However, IoT’s net effect on fuel consumption will result in an annual 3.5 PWh reduction of (hydrocarbon) fuel.
Despite this, distribution and deployment of fuel will generate incremental eWaste, of which the overall impact will be more than 657,000 tons of IoT-generated eWaste.
Finally, IoT devices will conserve nearly 230 billion cubic meters of water. 35% of this impact will come from improved smart water grid operations, whilst the remaining savings will be supplemented by IoT-enabled agricultural applications like crop management and remote pest control.
The report also identified that the most impactful IoT solution in terms of fuel savings (above) will come from road fleet management of vehicles, accounting for 37% of fuel saved by IoT solutions of all kinds. However, the report points out that IoT technologies’ impact will be notably lower in regions that already have a greater representation of sustainable energy supplies.
Speaking on the findings, Jim Morrish, founding partner of Transforma Insights, said: “It is clear that developing and deploying new technologies has a sustainability footprint, but it’s important to note that many enterprise applications are deployed in order to increase efficiency, and the efficiencies generally outweigh the footprints of the solutions themselves.”