IoT and the environment: A greener world

By | 2 minute read | August 3, 2016

Photo of a skyscraper take from the ground up, showing the sun's reflections on the shiny, mirrored finish of the modern building

The Internet of Things opens up a world of possibilities for the future of businesses, environments, and lives. One of the many impacts of the Internet of Things is the increased understanding of energy needs and consumptions. Through smart-architecture, building designers and tenants can understand how people interact with their physical spaces. IoT technology gives building managers the ability to see where people are congregating within a building, or at what times the building is consuming the most energy.

With this knowledge, companies running and utilizing smart buildings can make greener choices that positively impact not only the environment, but the people who work and live in these buildings every day.

IoT technologies changing businesses

One example of this is smarter lighting. Imagine a room that can sense the brightness in a workspace. On a sunny morning, the building could turn off the overhead lighting in order to save energy. When the clouds roll in, or the sun begins to set, the building would know to turn on the lights in order to maintain a constant lighting level throughout the day.

Smart window shades could sense the heat being created from a sunny window and lower itself to minimize the effort of cooling systems.

Smart elevators can create the most energy efficient elevator routes by working within a connected network to plan which elevator should stop where. When riders ride alone, it costs the building the most amount of energy, and increases wait times for other elevator passengers.

This technology is already being utilized in the IBM Watson headquarters in New York City.

Smart elevators go beyond use and into maintenance. KONE has recently partnered with Watson IoT to improve elevator maintenance and longevity. This partnership culminated in the creation of a system that utilizes the Watson IoT Platform to listen to the sound of the elevator suspension system and notify KONE maintenance when the elevator needs servicing, based on deviation from the usual sound of the system. To hear more about the future of smarter, more efficient elevators, watch this video from the Cognitive Building Forum.

See IoT and the environment in action

Smart buildings around the world are consuming less energy; in fact they are creating their own energy through solar panels and other renewable energy sources, and giving back the energy they don’t use. Siemens’ Crystal building has been dubbed one of the most sustainable buildings on the planet, using intelligent design and Watson IoT technologies.

By only utilizing lighting, heating, cooling, etc. when necessary, we can reduce energy use while at the same time, making buildings more comfortable spaces.

The Internet of Things coupled with cognitive analytics are proving to be a powerful weapon in combating environmental impacts in buildings. As the industry continues to grow, IoT technologies will help to make manufacturing, transport, city planning, and everyday life more sustainable and safer for ourselves and our planet.

To read more about the impact IoT is making on greener buildings, check out “An inside look at how IBM is using IoT in its buildings across the globe”. For more information on the crystal building take a look at this infographic from IBM and Siemens.