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Although it’s still a work in progress, the Internet of Things (IoT) as it currently stands could already help offices become greener.
As everything from refrigerators to cars become connected to the internet, data and feedback allows these everyday objects to become more responsive. New office buildings come equipped with smart sensors to automatically shut off heating and lighting when rooms are vacant, and smart meters help save electricity.
Here’s a look at how using the IoT could make your office environment more eco-friendly and sustainable.
1: Autonomous energy systems
As mentioned above, one of the first ways that connected objects can make a real difference is in a business’s energy use. Smart energy systems allow for more efficient energy use, saving businesses money and power.
These are similar to at-home smart meters and energy management systems like Nest, and can be combined with security systems for accurate, safe remote monitoring of the environment.
2: Reduction in e-waste
Another area where the IoT can make a real difference in the workplace is when it comes to e-waste. New technology is constantly coming out, and if you upgrade to the latest mobile phones, computers, tablets, and other devices, this can fill up the landfills with electronic waste. This is where Nokia Networks or other providers could potentially be useful. It’s estimated that $52 billion in electronic products could be salvaged each year through repurposing, according to Project Mainstream.
Connected objects equipped with sensors can be closely monitored, so that as they come to the end of their cycle an alert’s set off to the manufacturer. This allows the components to be reused, streamlining electronic waste.
3: Real-time inventory management
Workers can be notified as soon as a machine is in need of repair. Individual products can be tagged with in-built sensors to track their whereabouts in real time, so that any breakdowns in the supply chain can be attended to immediately.
Rather than stopping operations completely or wasting manpower and energy when there’s a problem, data gleaned from IoT devices can be used to prevent problems in the first place. All of this saves time and money while leading to a more efficient workplace.
4: Preventive maintenance through active tracking
Similarly, maintenance can be taken on ahead of time to salvage products that would otherwise be thrown away in a wasteful manner. Objects can be tracked throughout their various life cycles. Active tracking provides a way for connected objects to exchange data with one another. Whether it’s medical devices or appliances, they can be made more energy efficient.
And as these objects reach the end of their natural lifespan, they can be refurbished or repurposed like the electronic devices mentioned above.
All in all, this type of technology provides a whole new world of sustainability for businesses of any size. Through active and passive tracking, real-time inventory management, and new ways to recycle products, waste can be reduced if not eliminated completely. As a result, the office of the future will look a lot greener.
This article originally appeared on The Sustainable Business Toolkit. The Sustainable Business Toolkit is a new-media content network working at the intersection of business and sustainability–providing insight and commentary on the opportunities and challenges facing the business community and society at large as we progress towards a better, more sustainable future.
To read more about how IoT is changing the way we build, maintain, operate and experience buildings visit the IBM Watson IoT for Facilities Management website today.
This article originally appeared on sustainablebusinesstoolkit.com.