March 29, 2013

Data point: Mobile’s environmental potential

Posted by: in North America

While mobile devices themselves present some environmental hazards, mobile connectivity is starting to drive more efficient management of environmental resources. Machine-to-machine communication—enabling connectivity for anything from homes to vehicles to irrigation systems—makes it possible to remotely monitor and analyze how these devices consume resources and develop solutions to help them conserve resources. Smart power grids, for instance, monitor data on power consumption and automatically redirect power to where it’s most needed—significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions, according to this infographic from nonprofit wireless trade associate CTIA. Similar potential to cut emissions exists in the transportation sector.

In agriculture, mobile technology also has the potential to dramatically cut water consumption. Wireless soil monitors, for example, can track moisture levels, allowing for more efficient irrigation. Currently farmers tend to overwater, as one explained to Scientific American: “The biggest problem we’ve got with irrigation is we just don’t know—we use old wives’ tales to decide when to irrigate.” CTIA suggests this technology could reduce water use by as much as 6 trillion gallons a year.

Watch for our 2013 mobile report, which outlines broader trends in mobile, next week. In the meantime, review last year’s report, “15 Ways Mobile Will Change our Lives,” here.

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