How to save resources using Satellite IoT
Low-cost satellite IoT will making agricultural water use more efficient and less environmentally harmful.
While organizations around the world are waking up to their obligation to protect the environment, progress on future decarbonization, water quality and other green initiatives is slow because, often, green initiatives conflict with the profit imperative.
But there is one fast emerging area of corporate IT strategy where investments being made to improve profits simultaneously deliver huge strides toward protecting the planet. That area is the Internet of Things, the fast-growing network of connected sensors and devices that are being deployed to optimize and automate the world’s industrial operations.
IoT, the new Swarm satellite network & sustainability
At its most basic level, satellite enabled IoT eliminates the staff travel miles that have been required to monitor and control devices at remote locations. With a satellite IoT solution, instead of having staff sitting in cars, trucks, planes, or boats for hours to reach remote machinery, organizations can now achieve most of the essential monitoring and configuration outcomes from a desktop anywhere in the world.
Not only does this remove the time, cost and risks that travel entails, it also eliminates tones of CO2 emission from corporate footprint.
With a satellite IoT solution in place, a large mining company will no longer have to send its staff on a three-hour journey across the desert to check a critical water pump is functioning correctly.
Likewise, an offshore fish farm manager will no longer have to dispatch a powerboat each month to ensure the navigation lights are operational. That information, along with sea water quality will instead be gathered and returned in real time by sensors and the Swarm satellite network.
Satellite IoT enables electricity grids to bring mission critical data into the SCADA system in real time to improve grid resilience.
Where today an electricity line maintenance crew might drive 200 miles to check the status of a remote substation, with an IoT smart grid solution this critical data will be captured by on site sensors and delivered over Swarm satellite to the lines company’s SCADA system.
The environmental benefit of reduced travel is significant. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates average passenger vehicles emit 404 grams of CO2 per mile or over 25 tons of emissions per 100,000 miles of remote monitoring tasks. The prevention of thousands of miles of travel through adoption of satellite IoT will protect the planet from millions of tons of CO2 emissions in the coming years.
But reducing staff travel miles is just the tip of the sustainability iceberg. Large logistics operations will benefit from huge efficiency gains from satellite IoT too.
For example, a fertilizer company, which maintains hundreds of silos on farms, will use Swarm to connect sensors that monitor fertilizer consumption at thousands of dairy farms. This innovation will enable more efficient fertilizer delivery planning to enormously reduce the delivery fleet’s annual road mileage and carbon footprint, a step closer towards carbon neutrality.
On those same farms, using the same satellite network, a milk processing company will actively monitor the farms’ milk production and vat temperatures to optimize its own tanker fleet logistics, improve product quality and minimize road usage, tire consumption and carbon emissions.
Reducing CO2 emissions is not the only environmental objective IoT will help organizations address. Protecting the planet’s scarce water resource is also another enormous concern where satellite IoT has a powerful role to play.
The world’s farmers will in future use satellite connected soil moisture sensors to optimize their irrigation, minimize their water use and eliminate nutrient leaching to aquifers. Meanwhile, the government institutions tasked with monitoring farm compliance will employ the same satellites to efficiently track groundwater nutrient sensors to ensure agriculture is not causing health issues for users downstream.
Satellite enabled IoT will even play a role in preventing the environmental harm done by forest fires. Using Low Earth Orbit (LOE) satellite connected security gates, forestry managers will control access to large forests and help prevent the arson and accidents that can trigger disasters. With satellite connected weather stations and smoke sensors inside the forest they will also prevent fires more effectively and respond much faster when fires break out.
In 1962 Arthur C. Clarke formulated his famous Three Laws of technology, of which the best-known was that: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”. It is hard to think of any area in business that comes as closer to appearing like magic than satellite enabled IoT. It gives humans the ability to see around corners and work across vast distances. It helps improve profits for shareholders while protecting the environment for future generations.
With the cost of satellite IoT dropping significantly with the launch of the new Swarm constellation and other low earth orbit satellites, we are about to see a golden age in which the IT guys become the real heroes of the environment.
Originally this article was published here.
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