6 Technologies Driving Sustainability in 2021
Digital solutions continue to be a significant enabler for achieving sustainability goals across industries. Earlier, organizations had to choose between high profits, competitiveness, and sustainable efforts. Today, sustainability has become a diligent act of business as it remarks contribution towards superior performance.
Between 2013-2019, companies with consistently high environmental, social, and governance (ESG) performance enjoyed 4.7x higher operating margins and lower volatility than low ESG performers over the same period.1
However, sustainability cannot be achieved by itself. Along with resources and capabilities, it requires efforts to look beyond financial indicators and positively impact the global value chains. Besides, innovations such as clean transportation, smart cities, and renewable energy bring in engineering challenges of high performance, interoperability, and security.
Hence, many organizations are collaborating digital prowess and sustainable practices, making it the forefront of their business strategy. This article brings you the most influential technologies of 2021 that are making our mother earth sustainable by the minute.
- Cloud and Infrastructure
Moving to the cloud positions companies to deliver responsible innovations and reduce carbon footprints. It also enables them to take advantage of clean energy transitions facilitated by cloud-based geographic analysis, reduction in material waste resulting from improved data insights, and targeted medical R&D enabled by speedier analytics platforms.
As per Accenture, migrations to the public cloud can reduce CO2 emissions by 59 million tons per year which equates to taking 22 million cars off the road. Other statistics by the company assert that organizations with average on-premise to cloud migrations can drive 65% energy reduction and carbon emission reduction of 84%. In fact, companies can stretch carbon emission reductions to 98% by configuring applications for the cloud.2
Another study conducted by Microsoft and WSP USA discovered that Microsoft cloud computing was 93% more energy efficient. Additionally, it was noted that the Microsoft cloud platform had 98% lower carbon emissions than on-premises data centers.3
With the green data centers using less power for servers and the elimination of physical hardware, cloud infrastructure poses a sustainable option. This helps them reduce waste while saving high costs, energy, and time. Microsoft’s Azure, a leading cloud provider has pledged to be carbon negative by 2030 and match 100% of their global annual energy consumption with renewable energy credits (REC).4
iLink is a recognized Microsoft Alliance Partner affiliated with the Microsoft Partner Network. Recently we also won the 2021 Microsoft US Partner Award in Power BI. Here is a deeper dive into our Microsoft partnership.
- Optimized Production Process
Implementing an optimized production process is an essential requirement in modern manufacturing. Optimization helps to address environmental concerns, present effective solutions and improve overall sustainability. It plays a significant role in minimizing pollution, conserving energy, and reducing the consumption of natural resources.
The optimized process includes creating a digital representation of a physical environment to test out a variety of procedures without affecting the real world. This helps the project engineer to design the best solutions to reduce CO2 emission and other pollutants. They can better plan for safety processes, meet energy goals and reduce waste while ensuring the designs comply with industry standards.
- Sustainable IoT
As per McKinsey, IoT is one of the three most impactful technological advancements we will see before 2030.5 So it’s no surprise that IoT technology can be a huge boon for developing sustainability. Its remote connectivity and control make sustainability applications virtually endless.
Manufacturers can efficiently track devices and equipment remotely to understand and optimize energy consumption in real-time. Countless decentralized devices and energy sources like solar panels and microgrids can be linked together to collect energy data. This data can be analyzed to eliminate energy waste and reduce strain on conventional power sources. IoT allows greater control of energy while lowering energy costs and enhancing sustainability.
- Predictive Maintenance
Sustainability is as much about the safety and health of the individual worker as it is about the environment. Predictive maintenance provides insight into the maintenance activities of machines saving workers from any health and environmental hazards improving safety goals. It leverages AI to identify unexpected breakdowns to maintain optimal performance and avoid unsafe operating conditions.
AI can analyze operating data to detect failure patterns, poor maintenance, and replacement intervals. This helps to control the emission of polluted gases and save maintenance costs. Implementing predictive maintenance support production processes and empowers companies to continue achieving long-term objectives.
- Electric Vehicle
Even after public doubts and uncertainties about the environmental benefits of electric vehicles, the science is quite clear – they are more preferable to petrol or diesel vehicles. Electric motors are more efficient than combustion engines releasing no air pollutants through their tailpipes. Most of the energy put in the battery is being used to drive the automotive. Also, electric vehicles are less noisy than conventional ones.
Although there are chances of air pollution from the power stations igniting the EV, they have better pollution control systems than regular vehicles. Moreover, these power stations are located away from densely populated areas.
While the EV revolution is accelerating, design and manufacturing challenges persist. Hence, governments around the world are encouraging businesses and consumers to invest in EVs. Their market is forecasted to grow at a CAGR of more than 21% between 2019 and 2030.6 China currently has around 300,00 electric buses rolling down on the city streets, every day.
Commercial fleets are also following the suit and adopting electric trucks. As per McKinsey adoption of battery-electric commercial vehicles (BECVs), especially in the light- and medium-duty segments, could surpass the car EV sales mix in some markets by 2030.7
- Solar Energy
Solar energy can be remarked as a cornerstone to sustainability due to its infinite and equal accessibility to all its users. It solves two of the biggest environmental concerns – the greenhouse effect and global warming, as it is naturally more sustainable than fossil fuel energy sources. Fossil fuel material requires mining which affects the land and habitat of its ecosystem.
A better alternative is building solar farms over the land instead of drilling it down to dust. The solar energy market is forecasted to increase at a 20.5% CAGR from 2019 to 2026 — accounting for $223.3 billion by the end of 2026.8 The only limitation of solar energy as a renewable source of energy is our ability to convert it into electricity in a cost-effective way.
Once the solar panel is installed, it does not require fuel to create large amounts of electricity. This means, operating costs of solar plants are quite low compared to other forms of power generation. However, the cost to install solar has dropped by more than 70% over the last decade9 which is a ray of hope.
How iLink can help you ‘Go Green’?
Sustainability has always been our priority. We believe, it is no more a business perspective but a business imperative. Our digital solutions follow an environment-friendly IT approach to help our customers boost profits and benefit the planet. We take pride in calling ourselves a responsible tech partner that helps enterprises address their carbon footprint, lower waste material, reduce energy consumption, and work more sustainably.