The Carbon War Room has released a report into the future of machine-to-machine (M2M) technologies, looking at both the market potential and the extent to which it can help address the challenge of climate change. The bottom line finding is that by 2020 M2M and related ICT technologies could reduce GHG emissions by 9.1 GtCo2e annually, 19% of the world’s total CO2e emissions in 2011.
The Carbon War Room, set up by Richard Branson a couple of years ago, is a charity focusing on promoting investment in sustainable solutions. The organisation wants to help break down market barriers to profitable carbon reduction solution.
The report - Machine to Machine Technologies: Unlocking the potential of a $1 trillion Industry – quotes research that predicts there will be 12.5 billion M2M devices globally by 2020, up from 1.3 billion today. By comparison, mobile internet use is growing at only a fraction of that rate.
The level of connectivity that M2M can bring is often referred to as either the ‘Industrial Internet’ or the ‘Internet of Things’. The report predicts that the connectivity of the Internet of Things could generate cost savings and new revenues equal to $10–15 trillion — equivalent to the current US economy – over the next 20 years.
But the report points out that these technologies can also improve resource and time efficiency in the economy as a whole. There are many industries where M2M technologies will reduce the amount of energy needed, so they can lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions without impacting production, consumption, or economic growth. The energy, transportation, built environment and agriculture sectors are seen as the most promising
Review: In line with the Carbon War Room’s mission, this report is basically highlighting one aspect of green IT that has enormous market potential as well as the capability to significantly reduce global GHG emissions.
The connected world of the Internet of Things will certainly come about and M2M will have a significant role (although there are other technologies vying for some of the action). ICT vendors are already sizing up the market potential. Just last week IBM and Deutsche Telekom announced that they are collaborating on Smarter Cities solutions, combining IBM’s engagement experience with Deutsche Telekom’s M2M solutions integration and advanced network connectivity.
The two companies showed some demonstrations at the Mobile World Congress show in Barcelona this week. The demos showed how data collected from roads, buses and parking spots can be leveraged to predict traffic and bus arrival, anticipate delays and proactively coordinate resources to operate cities' transportation systems more effectively. All these applications have a clear capability of reducing carbon emissions. Solutions are expected in a number of other areas including energy, water and public safety.