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No longer is having an ESG strategy a nice-to-have for organisations, it now forms an important part of business and brand identity as collectively we strive towards a greener future. Individuals put a higher importance on working for or with environmentally considerate brands, and rightfully so. The role that technology plays in helping organisations achieve greener credentials is seismic, and I believe that we are at a transformational point in understanding the full potential of a digital-first approach to sustainability.
Over the last five years, there has been a significant increase in the number of public and private sector organisations exploring and benefiting from Internet of Things (IoT) technologies. Its capabilities to capture and share data is helping to create a force for good within communities across the globe. As a leading IoT services and solutions provider, North is well equipped to help organisations investigate the power of IoT and we have developed dedicated solution packs to kick-start their journey. This includes IoT solutions specifically for social housing, building health, waste management, air quality, water monitoring and intelligent lighting, all designed with sustainability at the heart.
Last year, City of Edinburgh Council invested in a state-of-the-art ‘smart waste’ system that is changing how the local authority manages waste collections. An incredible 11,000 smart waste sensors are in the final stages of being deployed in waste containers throughout the city with data being transmitted across North’s IoT Scotland network to help drive improvements for better waste management.
The technology enables clever waste management by measuring waste levels and predicting usage trends, enabling the Council to optimise waste collection and manage routes more efficiently.
An intelligent street lighting project has also been rolled out by Aberdeen City Council, unlocking sustainability and decarbonisation improvements across the city. This is significantly helping the local authority to create a greener future using energy-efficient lighting across the city.
The project included the installation of an end-to-end IoT solution that centrally manages and monitors more than 37,000 street lighting units remotely, enhancing the city’s lighting provision, whilst simultaneously helping to create a greener and safer city for the people of Aberdeen.
Through the new solution, there is now no need for the manual process of checking lights, significantly reducing carbon emissions from travelling. Custom dimming profiles can be used to further reduce the level of energy consumption required at any given time and an automated fault reporting allows for more efficient maintenance.
Both tenant and building health can also be aided with the help of IoT. Glasgow residents are some of the first to benefit from smart technology in their homes, as Glasgow City Council deployed an innovative pilot scheme with two Registered Social Landlords (RSLs) - West of Scotland Housing Association and Southside Housing Association.
Homes across the central belt now feature state-of-the-art sensors that will monitor atmospheric conditions within the properties. The smart Tempus sensors monitor and share data across North’s IoT Scotland network, enabling Glasgow City Council and the RSLs to record and analyse moisture readings every 20 minutes. This is enabling the local authority and housing associations to proactively intervene to high moisture conditions and minimise issues including damp and mould, which if not dealt with can cause a host of health issues and costly repairs.
In my opinion, one of the most impressive smart environmental air quality monitoring technologies deployed in 2022 was at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, as it became the first host city to achieve a carbon-neutral legacy.
Smart technology was designed and deployed across key locations within the city around event venues and across the wider city which precisely measured, monitored and captured data on air quality conditions before, during and after the event.
As the official Smart Environments Provider for the Games, North designed and deployed an IoT network with air quality sensors to record factors including CO2, temperature, pressure and relative humidity, which were analysed to calculate an air quality index (AQI). The data was shared with the University of Birmingham WM-Air team who are researching the impact of the Games on air quality in the city. Having this data-driven insight will help understand how the city’s air quality coped and changed as a result of hosting the games allowing better impact planning for future games and generations to come.
Undoubtedly, the relationship between technology and sustainability is intrinsic. I expect to see more local authorities and private organisations adopt smart technologies as they work seamlessly behind the scenes in the busiest parts of our communities, helping to improve the health and wellbeing of their residents and lessening negative impact on our planet.