Six Business Cases for IoT Part 1: Lower Environmental Impact

Publish date:

In his article titled „Spritspartechnik für LKW “ in Spiegel Magazine, Jürgen Pander writes about the nine automotive technologies that are helping companies with large fleets of trucks and buses to reduce their environmental impact and cut operating costs. Jürgen admits that these technologies are worthless  “if the driver does not cooperate” and estimates the […]

In his article titled „Spritspartechnik für LKW “ in Spiegel Magazine, Jürgen Pander writes about the nine automotive technologies that are helping companies with large fleets of trucks and buses to reduce their environmental impact and cut operating costs. Jürgen admits that these technologies are worthless  “if the driver does not cooperate” and estimates the potential savings that can be achieved by influencing driver behavior at 10-15%. Fortunately, driver behavior can be influenced – by monitoring it in real-time, providing drivers with periodic tips and incentivizing individual or team participation visavis “gamification.” Using IoT with Connected Services, the vehicle performance data can be analyzed in real-time and trigger alerts when, for example, a driver is frequently shifting too late, often driving at high speeds in lower gears, using a lesser efficient route, or down-shifting instead of coasting. Left unaddressed such behavior can cost the company tens of thousands of Euros over weeks.  The benefit of IoT in this case is the ability to identify and address undesired driver behavior in near-time, or on a daily basis to avoid distracting the driver while he is behind the wheel. The idea is not to respond to every case of infringement with a tersely worded reprimand, but to establish best practices and help drivers who are not achieving certain goals to drive more effectively.  A 10% improvement in the fuel efficiency of a fleet of 100 40-ton trucks would reduce CO2 emissions by 924.000 tons per year, lower the cost of CO2 credits by €700.000, and decrease a company´s annual fuel expense by €525.000. The idea of monitoring and modifying operator behavior can be applied to fleets of taxis, cars, and service vehicles.
A small gas-powered lawn mower produces in one hour the same volume of emissions as a VW Golf that drives 100 miles. Although efforts are being made to motivate consumers to trade in gas for electric mowers or retrofit old mowers with catalysators, the simplest and fastest way to decrease lawn mower emissions is to modify operator behavior. A gas-powered mower can be retrofitted with a small sensor costing as little as €10 that can monitor blade condition, cutting resistance, and throttle speed. Instead of mowing with a blunt blade by pushing the throttle to full, burning more gas and requiring greater effort, the operator can receive tips as to when to sharpen the blade and how to achieve results with less gas, less noise, less effort, and lower emissions. A 1% decrease in lawn mower emissions would have the same effect as removing 1 million cars from our roads.  The idea of monitoring machine condition and providing user tips to lower emissions and improve productivity can be applied to gas powered tools, power generators, construction and farm equipment.
Many industries generate significant waste throughout the manufacturing process. In the printing  industry, for example, one-third of the paper purchased ends up in the recycle bin. 25% of this waste is produced prior to printing, and the other 75% is printed waste:  to compensate for the waste generated at each step in the finishing process, over-runs are printed at the press.  Although printed waste is recyclable, a chemical process is used to deink paper and convert it to pulp.  This process produces sludge and more than 200 million kg of toxic pollution per year globally.  An article by the SCO titled “Waste in the Printing Process,” describes clearly the nature of the challenge, “It is difficult to find out the quantities and causes of white and printed waste. Most waste monitoring systems are manual.” Using IoT and Connected Services each machine in the printing process can be equipped with sensors that automatically measure the quantity or weight of incoming paper and outgoing product. An analysis of the data will indicate where in the process waste is being produced. Additional sensors can be installed on machines to monitor performance and build best practices. When the data indicates unexpected waste, an intervention can be triggered. The intervention can be immediate in the form of an operator alert or periodic in the form of training. A 1% reduction in paper waste in the printing industry would save 40 million trees and eliminate 2 million kg of toxic sludge.  The same logic of monitoring machine and operator performance to identify and remediate the sources of waste can be applied to steel, wood, packaging, and other fabrication sectors.  
Just as we track the location of products in the supply chain, tracking the location of products in the “disposal chain” is possible with IoT. According to studies conducted by MIT, only 30% of recyclable trash is diverted to a recycling center.  Using “trash tags,” MIT and participating cities in the US are tracking the location of water bottles, razors, and other everyday recycle objects in the disposal process. Tracking trash is done in real-time using IoT in order to be able to intercept recyclable items before they end up buried in a landfill. By increasing the amount of intercepted reusable and recyclable garbage by just 1%, US cities would decrease landfill fees by up to €2 billion per year. The same logic of tracking waste to achieve “Zero Impact” can be applied to hotels, offices, hospitals, homes, shopping centers, and factories.

The benefits of using IoT data to help customers decrease their environmental impact are measurable and an enterprising company can capitalize on this by offering customers subscriptions to environmental monitoring services. Aside from selling or leasing equipment and vehicles, the company can generate recurring revenue streams by helping customers to use those products in a more environmentally friendly way. A trucking company would pay €100.000 per year to monitor 100 trucks in order to save €500.000 per year in fuel. A printing company would pay €50.000 per year to monitor a finishing line in order to save €200.000 in waste. I think we would all pay €5 per month for a service subscription to lower our fuel costs by €100 per year.

Next in the series: Six Business Benefits of IoT  Part 2: Improve Safety

Related Posts


On target! How to ensure your marketing gets results

Stéphane Sun
Date icon March 26, 2021

Marketers must transform how they capture customer data and turn it into a true business...


CMOs are leveraging data and compliance to augment their marketing ecosystem

Date icon March 17, 2021

CMOs must keep up with new channels and focus on becoming leaders of change instead of being...


Alternate data can streamline the underwriting evaluation process

Shane Cassidy
Date icon March 17, 2021

Alternate data has significant advantages, although managing high volume and velocity – as...