How IoT Can Improve Environmental Sustainability

How IoT Can Improve Environmental Sustainability

We expect Internet of things (IoT) to play a significant role in the 5G era. Internet of things is often cited as the main foundation of the development of the fifth-generation wireless network. The faster, low-latency 5G network is expected to bring products and businesses to the internet for connectivity and efficient automation. IoT and 5G simply coexist with each other. 

What is IoT, and what is its main goal? 

Think of Internet of things as a connected network of physical objects which combines the efficiency of humans and artificial intelligence for more efficient automation with the help of cloud computing. This ranges from things like a self-driving car, search and rescue drones, gadgets, appliances, and more importantly, to businesses that want to implement sustainable corporate models using connected devices. Recently, more possible use cases of IoT have also been discussed. This includes things like environmental sustainability and species protection. 

The main goal of IoT is to make everything connected to the internet for easier, and more efficient automation. The automation has already started and that too, with your smartphone. If you have a smart home, then you can retrain Google Assistant in different ways to switch on or switch off the lights of your room and can also control many other things. You can even think about a renowned neurosurgeon from John Hopkins Hospital in Maryland, USA, performing real-time remote surgery to a patient in Abu Dhabi using a robotic arm connected to a private 5G network. That’s the idea of Internet of things.

How can Internet of Things help Businesses in the Future?

Sustainability is the game of the future businesses. Resources are scarce. Therefore, future and existing businessmen have to find ways to save each available resource to continue and run. IoT will be able to help manage and allocate these resources to conserve and lessen the company’s environmental impact. The interconnectivity of the Internet of things will also allow for a real-time overview of the resources, and somethings that needed immediate actions. The following are the possible use cases for the Internet of things in future sustainable businesses. 

1. Smart Grids/Smart Meters 

iOT Smart Grids and How they can improve Sustanability

Older and existing electrical grids doesn’t automate itself. If a particular area has a problem, the main control room has to get a call or report from customers to fix problem areas. With a smart grid, utility providers will be able to know problem areas instantly without the customers sending a report. Internet of things will allow to monitor their equipment in real-time, and perform maintenance even before their infrastructure fails. 

Consumers living in a smart home, or smart building will also have access to their energy consumption in real-time with the help of a smart meter so that they will be able to fine-tune their energy usage with a report already of the expected outcome. Transparent feedback will help them adjust their habits and can lead to less monthly bills. 

2. Smart Water 

iOT to predict flood and avoid loss in businesses

Smart water is an exciting idea. This spans from the agricultural field, like farm or orchard, to smart cities or private properties. Existing intelligent irrigation systems already help monitor soil saturation, or under- or over-watering. Things like water sensors also help us monitor water quality, a crucial step after disasters like floods or hurricane, to help us know if the potable water isn’t tainted with any chemicals, or wastewater overflows. 

Now with Internet of things, IoT sensors embedded to the existing water infrastructures will allow us the local weather forecast, and automatically control drainage to minimize flooding or possible property damage. This can also be integrated on things like plumbing system to alert homeowners of potential problem areas and prevent leaks. 

3. Smart Lighting 

Lighting is probably one area which we disregard quite often because “its just lights”. However, depending on our house, lights may take larger pie on our monthly electricity bill and saving some power will save you a lot of bucks in the long term. Insert smart lighting with the help of Internet of things.  Future smart lighting sensors will be able to automatically turn off lights once it detects that the room is empty, or adjust lighting depends on the natural light coming from windows. 

4. Smart Streetlights 

It will be the same as the intelligent lighting except that this one is catering pedestrians outside. Smart streetlights combine the benefits of smart lighting (like movement detection and automatic light adjustment) with things like security cameras, air quality monitors, and traffic management. Future smart streetlights may also be able to detect accidents and report it right away to smart hospitals and police with the exact location and real-time monitoring. 

5. Air Quality Monitoring 

Using sensors, company and cities will be able to get real-time reports of the air quality of specific places, indoor or outdoor. This includes things like temperature, humidity, barometric pressure, and carbon dioxide. This may also help alert the control room of the saturation of the volatile organic compound and other particulate matters in real-time, and give an immediate fix. 

6. Smart Waste 

Waste management is crucial for both private companies, government offices, or even the whole city. Things like connected trash cans on buildings and city streets may alert the control room to send in collectors when they are full. Connected trash receptacles may also help consumers locate proper waste recycling bins.

AI and IoT for Environmental Sustainability and Species Protection

As mentioned, more and more possible use cases for Internet of things are being discussed. The more recent of this possible implementation is using IoT to help leverage environmental sustainability and species protection using future wireless networks and AI. 

1. IoT and AI for Reducing E-Waste 

How iOT and artifical intelligence helps in waste management

Companies like Apple has wowed consumers with its new MacBook Air because of its state-of-the-art recycled metal housing. Apple has been using automation to recycle even the tiniest parts of its electronic products (like a screw) to help lessen its existing carbon footprint. Using IoT and AI, companies like Apple will be able to develop systems that will help monitor the hardware of their electronics which can detect and notify the consumer if the life cycle of a part is over or has turned faulty. This system may also guide the consumer through the replacement procedures. 

2. IoT and AI for Species Protection 

AI Detects Rare Animal and help protect their shelter

The modernization has led to long-term problems in the environment. Some species have either become extinct or currently at the brink of extinction. Using IoT and AI, scientists will be able to monitor animal behavioural patterns such as migration, mating, and feeding habits. Computer visions with the help of AI will also be able to watch endangered species non-invasively. Computer vision has already been used to detect footprints of endangered species like snow leopard, rhinos, and cheetahs with AI helping to identify, track, and determine circumstances that threaten their numbers.

Recently Microsoft started working on an AI which detects Snow leopards and help protect it. Microsoft Machine Learning for Apache Spark (MMLSpark) and the Azure Cognitive Services are used to automate image classification, allowing researchers to find well-camouflaged snow leopards within image sets more quickly, saving over 300 hours per camera survey.

3. IoT and AI for Water Preservation 

The bodies of water, like oceans, are probably the most heavily polluted places on Earth. It takes all the dump we throw into because people still believe that it can heal itself. Well, it can’t. And why it’s still not polluted than most of the river today? It’s because oceans are a vast body of water, making it hard to saturate with garbage. However, it is already known to us that there are parts of the ocean that is currently littered with waste, like the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

AI to help in water preservation

Improved forecasting of droughts and floods will become increasingly important as climate change drives more extreme weather events.  Such phenomenon is atmospheric rivers – large bodies of water vapor in the sky. Although little is understood about them, they are known to trigger intense storms and flooding, and are major contributors to water supplies. Equally, droughts can occur if they fail to arrive at the expected time or place. Deep learning is helping the team predict their behavior.

The introduction of IoT with the help of machine learning will pave the way for us to automate cleanup programs. Automated garbage collection trucks may help us get rid of the trash from the ocean and deliver it to the nearest recycling facility for sorting. Advanced AI may also allow for real-time assessment of the water quality, as well as the ever-changing conditions that harm the ocean. 

4. IoT and AI for Agricultural Sustainability 

Soil pollution from agricultural waste and chemicals may lead to long term problems with the soil quality, which will profoundly affect the farmers, and the quality and production of the goods they supply in the market. With the help of IoT and AI, we will be able to monitor the soil quality, as well as the growth of the crops to asses what is needed to be resolved.

Things like soil hydration, plant nutrition, and diseases can be monitored in real-time. The data gathered by AI can then be utilized to determine irrigation patterns and recommend the best watering cycles. 


With the Internet of Things coming into play, we can only expect things to get better. We can expect the environment around us to improve. This includes the water bodies around us, the animals around us and greenery all of love seeing. Things are starting to look bright again and we can only be optimistic.

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