Smart grids

Thanks to the rise of solar and other sustainable technologies, the energy is become more distributed. Solar capacity in residential areas has experienced rapid growth in recent years and, according to some reports, could triple by 2025. The result is that both homeowners and businesses can now generate their own electricity through rooftop panels. Some are even using small wind turbines on their property. These and other developments represent a major shift for energy companies because in addition to their own facilities, they need to manage the growing number of energy resources spread across the grid.

IoT technology is instrumental in enabling the distributed energy transformation through detection of changes in electricity supply and demand. IoT sensors and the data produced gives operators the knowledge and insights they need into order to react to changes quickly and manage demand more precisely. Sensors places at substations and distributions lines can provide real-time power consumption data that can be used to make decisions about network configuration and load switching. They can also send alerts about outages, which in turn means operators can quickly turn off the power to damaged lines, preventing numerous hazards, such as electrocution and fire. Predictive maintenance also leads to reduced costs and better and safer usage of human resources.

Additionally, IoT technology provides more and better information to customers about their energy usage. Smart meters collect data on usage, sending it to both the utilities companies and the customers. Smart devices in homes and/or commercial buildings can measure power consumption when it comes to individual appliances, identifying waste and promoting more thoughtful use of resources.

Water Management

We all know to not let the water flow while brushing our teeth or run the dishwasher if it’s only half-full, yet waste of resources such as water continues at a staggering rate.  While less than 1% of the world’s water supply is fresh water that is safe and available for us to drink, the United Nationals Development Program says that water scarcity is mainly caused by poor management. It is predicted that more than half of the global population will face water scarcity by 2025, but IoT can be a key player in reversing this trend.

Conservation is a key area when it comes to water management, particularly when we’re talking about urban areas, where tracking water consumption can be challenging. IoT technology brings transparency and greater control to the entire water supply chain, allowing the optimization of water treatment, production, distribution, and consumption.

Sensors can measure the quality of raw catchment water, as well as the chemical composition in the water after treatment and wastewater. They can track changing quantities in the storage reservoir, pipe pressure in the distribution pipeline, leakages, and wear and tear on equipment that processes and distributes water to end-users. The data generated by the sensors reveal key insights into the changing conditions of water resources and equipment, allowing data-driven corrective measures on demand. Sensors can also track usage patterns. All of these factors lead to saving money, resources, manpower, and overall smarter water management.

Agriculture and wasteful irrigation systems account for up to 70% of global water usage and according to the World Water Forum, much of that comes from wasteful use. This is due to the process of irrigation following an automatic schedule, irrespective of weather conditions or moisture present in soil. Through the use of data collected by IoT sensors out in the field, which will give insights into weather conditions, soil moisture, and other factors, irrigation can be streamlined, with only the right amount of water at the right time being used.