Our lives are changing without us knowing it. Analysis of usage habits, smart tracking, adding sense and control is helping to optimize resources, reduce wastage, and educate people on sustainable living. Industries and institutions can benefit a lot by digitization, predictive maintenance, and enabling data based decisions.
The Internet of things has the ability to play a significant part in combating climate change and protecting the environment. This presentation will outline how the latest innovations in the IoT space are aimed at making the enabling technologies simpler, affordable and ubiquitous in our lives.
Shantonu Bhadury: Hello, everyone. My name is Shantonu Bhadury. I am the design engineering director in Silicon Labs. Silicon Labs is a fabulous semiconductor company leading the development of secure wireless technology for a more connected world. Silicon Labs has been developing the building blocks for Internet of Things market for over a decade, and are considered leaders in the space. I have been with Silicon Labs for the last 14 years.
And have lived through the evolution of IoT And I'm responsible for creating wireless systems on chips that is driving the current IoT products and will define the next generation of IoT issues. I would like to thank you all for joining me today as I talk about the Internet of Things and its impact on sustainability. I am available to answer any questions you may have from the session. And I would love to hear from you. I will also be in the networking room after the session to speak with you about any of the topics that are covered in the next 24 minutes.
So before we go deep into the topic of IoT and sustainability, it is important to understand the term IoT - Internet of Things or IoT is all around us. It refers to the billions of physical devices around the world that are now connected to the Internet. All collecting and sharing data. We have made significant strides in the wireless technology over the last decade, making this explosion of connected devices possible and at an affordable cost. There is a lot of value that can be tapped from the data collected from the devices and making intelligent decisions based on them. All this can be achieved with minimal and no human intervention.
Let's talk about some examples of Internet of Things. Any physical object can be transformed into a smart or IoT device. All it needs is a means of communication. Either wireless or wired to communicate information and to act on that information. A simple device like a light bulb can be controlled using a smartphone. Similarly, a smart thermostat can start cooling our home. We can see how our electricity consumption is on our phone because of the smart metres that are outside our home. Simple electronics shelf tables that you see at NTUC, can be used to update devices quickly, create limited period promotions or even track shopper density in a department store, all done remotely and in a synchronised fashion.
Next, I would like to talk about some of the basics of IoT. Specifically, the salient features of the things. As I mentioned earlier, the power of IoT comes from the ability of connecting large networks of devices together, there are usually hundreds of thousands of nodes connected together and controlled by a gateway or router similar to what each home or office or factory already may have. Now, let us understand what it means to be an IoT device. In each of these devices or things, there are three basic elements: one is the interface, next to the computer, third is a template. So first is an external interface, which directly interacts with the environment and objects. This interface can either be a sensor or a control system or both with the sensor the device can detect anything from humidity, temperature, ambient light, voice, pollutants, rain, even antigens blood sugar level, even fall detector for elderlies to name a few.
The control system, the device can toggle switches, send calibration data to machines, do complex motor control functions, control display systems on generic wise functions. So next there is a computer engine. This can be a microcontroller or processor running software algorithms. There can be also a delicate hardware engine to do data processing. The key function of the compute engine is to use the information from the sensor loop profiling classifications, some filtering needed or some data analytics. It can also be used to transmit the commands that are sent to the device into actions using the control interface.
So the last element is a connect which essentially links the known other nodes and to the gateway. The connect engine is triggered when the node has any interesting data to send to the gateway for further actions or the gateway has any control commands to send to the node. Nodes usually don't control each other, but can create a link between the nodes and the gateway sign on the high end of the mesh. This helps a big scale out of deployment but the gateway doesn't need to connect with all the nodes. Some of you may be wondering why do we need IoT in this world and where it can be used. So let me briefly touch on some of the uses of IoT which I'll talk about in more detail later on also.
So first important thing is this knowledge is about knowing usage frames can help us change the way we consume or use our resources. For example, I use some monitors in my distribution box to track electricity consumption in our house. So after we bought the new washing machine, I realised that a quick 15 minute cycle was picking up more electricity than our cycle. But it was not intuitive If you don't see the data. Second aspect is to enrich our lives. Many people have smart home setup or smart lighting controls or voice assistants like Alexa or all of them. These devices can be configured to fit our lifestyle. For example, there exists a system that when you turn on Netflix, the lights can dim automatically, the shades close, and the air conditioning is preset to the right temperature.The third aspect is to optimise resources, so IoT enables optimising of resources. But I will talk more on this in the subsequent section about sustainability as well.
The next point is to save costs. So predictive maintenance of machinery can save businesses huge sums of money to replace costly machinery and equipment. The last use, which I feel is important to know, is to add predictability and precision. For example, if you see a solar farm that you see on a reservoir, during the fitting of the solar panels, it is important to control the torque of the amount of turns in the screws to prevent the fine cracks in the panels, which leads to lower panel life. Finally, this is achieved by preprogramming the screwdrivers so the correct energy profile of the motors and then deploying it across all the equipment that is used to deploy such systems.
Now let's focus on sustainability. So the need for sustainability is ingrained in the UWCSEA culture, and rightly so. We want to leave behind a planet that is better than what we started with, which includes our environment, our ecosystem, humanity, and the right mindset to look forward. Being associated with this community, we are all conscious of all the 15 Sustainable Development Goals which have been created by the event. For this session, I will speak only five of these goals in which IoT is playing a big part. These are Goal Three, which is good health and well-being. Goal Seven, which is affordable and clean energy, Goals nine is industry, innovation and infrastructure. Goal 12 is responsible consumption and production. Goal 13 is climate action. Now I will go into some details on the application which are driving these Sustainable Development Goals.
First, I would like to touch on energy and I would like to focus mainly on the air conditioning and lighting systems. So estimates and communities have placed an increasing emphasis on the sustainable technology for this HPAC and lighting systems. The reason is that 60% to 80% of the building's energy use is attributable to these systems. So any tool that can help us reduce the energy consumption in these areas is well worth the investment. IoT and analytics from the data and substantially improve energy efficiency thereby reducing energy cost and improving sustainability. Even now, the air conditioning equipment has often been regulated by the determined schedule and configurations, causing visible problems like overheating or under heating or cooling across properties.
When our companies move to a new office location in Singapore, the first six months are spent in understanding what temperature setting we need for the different zones across the office space. And it was a never ending, iterative process. We ended up setting the temperature lower than the comfort zone because there are some zones that were warmer than usual and encourage people to bring in jackets if it gets too cold. So this is a huge amount of wastefulness. In this context, if we had employed IoT sensors which provide real time granular data combined with On-Demand microzoned equipment control. We could have tapped into efficiencies in order of 20% to 30%. On top of that, if you use the occupancy data, it can also unveil important trends in these systems that can optimise the equipment schedules. For example, if the air conditioning and lighting systems are set to operate until 8pm, but data reveals that tenants don't stay later than 7pm, then the facility managers can cut one hour of daily energy use and quickly reduce the carbon footprint. So that's on the lighting systems and air conditioning.
Now let's change gears and talk about the usage. When it comes to this topic of usage monitoring, the wireless utility submeters help deliver consumption data at discrete building areas or even on individual assets, especially the energy intensive one of the air conditioning features, etc. Smart metres deliver information to your supplier at frequent intervals with some models developing information as we deliver every 15 minutes. So as I mentioned in Singapore, if you have a smart metre outside your home, you can use your utilities app to access half hourly consumption and analyse peak usage data. Having these insights in your fingertips as city managers are homeowners can swiftly identify and locate bottlenecks for contracting users. So as I mentioned that I recently invested installing monitors on each of the branch of my electrical box, so I was able to change the way of usage by changing the mode of my washer, changing the luminous intensity and electrical consumption of various lighting systems, air conditioning, energy consumption. And it helped my monthly energy use by 10%. If we scale this smart metre deployment and educate the users and managers, we have the ability to gain more control over energy usage by altering the usage habits. I've been pointing out any issues in the electrical systems as part of a larger sustainability programme. Imagine a city like Singapore being able to reduce 10% of electricity consumption. This is equivalent to 2.5. Kw/hr, which can cover 2/3 of all the household electricity consumption, and that is equivalent to all the HDB electricity conversions. That's a staggering figure.
Next topic I want to talk about is air pollution. Most of the rising global attention to air pollution focuses on impacts that ozone, particulate matter and other pollutants have on human health. So W.H.O. estimates that air pollution inside and outside of the home is responsible for about 7 million premature deaths worldwide, and majority of these deaths associated with outdoor pollution. So these are leading environmental risk factors affecting urban and rural populations around the world.
So if you look at the recent innovations in the low cost pollution sensors, that's enabled a new generation of air quality monitoring that provides actionable data at a fraction of the cost of the traditional monitoring systems. So companies now have Real-Time Snapshots of where the pollution is coming from and travelling to and who or what is most affected. For example, methane, the primary component of natural gas, is a potent greenhouse gas, accounting for 20% of global emissions. The largest source of industrial emissions is the oil and gas industry, which loses 30 billion worth of methane every year from operations. By employing an air quality monitoring system enabled by the low power network, it can provide operators real time insights into previously undetectable leaks in far flung remote locations as the ability to remotely control to prevent further methane leakage.
Our sustainability is synonymous to corporate responsibility. This category would also include items related to occupational safety and health. The quality of air inside your building impacts people directly. According to the EPA, poor indoor air quality affects up to 30% of the new or remodelled buildings, sometimes causing the sick building symptoms. Indoor air quality monitoring can help you achieve better healthier more productive environment for employees. So IoT sensors can monitor continuous lead the presence of common pollutants such as the EOC Organics compounds, carbon monoxide and the PM 2.5 PM10 the particulate matter. Over time, this data you receive paints the picture of the building's overall air quality and helps to determine what actions might need to be taken to improve it. Apart from the pollutants, monitoring of the carbon dioxide can greatly reduce energy consumption. So there is a recommendation from the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers - ASHRE. So there is a need for certain ventilation standards, and that standard is based on a full capacity of the building. But since the commercial buildings are rarely filled to capacity, most businesses end up over ventilating their space. So that means they are wasting money, energy on heating and cooling the outdoor air unnecessarily because of the continuous ventilation that they need to provide. By implementing an on demand control ventilation system can wipe out the carbon dioxide level and ventilate only when its necessary can improve the indoor air quality. As a result, your heating and cooling units use a minimal amount of energy.
Recently, our office deployed a series of air filtering systems forced over the Covid-19 era. but I feel that such systems can be dramatically optimised by adding smart monitoring etc. Now let's talk about farming. Optimising farming efficiencies opens the door to a sustainable food production system that can create a global demand while reducing resource usage and environmental footprint. Powered by granular, wireless systems smart farming systems deliver real time data and various external factors that play into part with an analytics platform that also systems data for demand based targeted execution of certain farming practices like seeding, irrigation fertilisation and fumigation, having enough reliable data at hand, predictive models can even be developed to help identify and prevent conditions unfavourable to crop growth, time based understanding of how things have been.
With IoT technologies, farmers can also monitor the animals' wellbeing and get immediate alerts on the first signs of illness. From anywhere. The equipment like tractors can control planting depth and spacing to optimise growth for different crops or different conditions in the soil. So equipment from all types can be made aware of other machines and their mechanical parts through a field. So avoid damage to crops and assuring more effective commissioning and maintenance of the field over time. So IoT solutions also help farmers to minimise use of pesticides and fertilisers applying them only where and when they're needed, reducing the environmental impact of farming and increasing production are two significant benefits of the IoT as it pertains to sustainability. So the potential to remove 1 trillion tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere is in our hands. So reduction of dependency on chemicals and focus on regenerative practices, to enable recapturing the carbon in the soil which we have lost over the years.
So next topic is indoor farming is the factors of farming in the greenhouse. Unlike the traditional greenhouses that rely on sun for energy , modern indoor farming uses IoT technology to provide agriculture at a fraction of the space and resources used by conventional alternatives. So those like vertical farming are growing plants vertically in a warehouse setting. Using automation to control plants and environmental health, it has shown significant progress. So they use artificial light for LEDS or lighting optimisation and precise controls. Practices that ensure the crop getting the right colour spectrum of the light and right amount of light in a day at the right intensity. It's a good setup for the next topic I want to talk about is water.
So according to the MIT researchers, more than 50% of the world's population will be living in water-stressed regions by 2050, that's not so far away. It's therefore vital that individuals, companies and municipalities find ways to reduce the amount of water wasted annually. On the average 85% of the properties waste 35% of the water consumption by means of leaks. imagine at a municipal level at the town level. So the pipe leaks are going to 30% of total drinking water. In addition, when factoring in the sludge mitigation system, one or two tons of field waste first pledge metre is produced from demolition due to floods. This also makes mitigating water loss essential to reduce the waste that goes into landfill. Advances in the IoT sensors and wireless connectivity have dramatically lowered the cost of gathering, storinging and analysing the data. Farm equipment like wells, pumps or untapped processes like water treatment or irrigation, sensors can monitor fill levels control the quality of water, for example, by installing a leak detection sensor in high risk areas throughout a building. Facility managers can be alerted on the first sign of a leak, allowing them to take remedial action. They can step further booking this data into a building management system enables automated responses like shutting off the light or the air conditioning or HVAC equipment. Water is an important metric for sustainability because the prime component of everyday usage in most facilities. Leakage is responsible for significant loss, amount of water loss, in industrial and commercial investment and IoT solution that detects leakage through dynamic water consumption monitoring, would reduce both consumption and waste.
Next I want to talk about fleets. So transportation is a big industry in the world, and there is an increasing focus on environmental impact of different fuel types, particularly the effect that diesel engines to have on air quality. And especially with this current energy crisis from the war, it's also more and more independent to be more optimised in our consumption of fuels. So when combined with the ongoing drive to reduce the carbon dioxide levels, fleet operators are under more pressure than ever before to make sure the fleet decisions take environmental factors into consideration. So location, fuel consumption, idle time, behaviour, vehicle health all play a role in the total emissions produced by your fleet. So IoT sensors powered by low power networks provide critical insights into these metrics to better optimise improve driving behaviours and ensure timely vehicle maintenance. So for example, real time location data allows for more accurate and responsible planning. This reduces the amount of time vehicles spend idling in traffic producing harmful emissions. Likewise IoT sensors can be configured to identify and track simple acceleration, braking, speeding, high speed turning and stopping slow driving. So all can result in wasted fuel.
The last important topic I want to talk about is something about cold chain. So if you look at roughly one third of the food produced globally, is wasted with much of that loss occurring along the global supply chain. Overall, that translates to 1.6 billion tonnes of food. That's $1.2 trillion down the shute. Temperature is considered the most important factor affecting the quality of food. Improper temperature control and settings in the food cold chain can accelerate the deterioration of food quality, which can increase a generation of food losses and food waste. Traditionally, personnel along the supply chain will have to manually read and record the temperature of goods to ensure optimal conditions which is highly prone to errors. This process significantly increases the risk of spoiled products in the event that the log is recorded incorrectly or not on time, or not checked all together. So it's a big issue that can happen.
Smart watching provides end to end visibility of supply chain from production to pallets, to cargo. The wireless IoT sensors can track ambient conditions like temperature, humidity, the air quality lighting and other environmental factors in any location across 24 by 7. When a threshold is reached alerts are triggered in real time to prompt immediate mitigation and avoid any compromise in the production. In conclusion, technology has been one of the reasons for the environmental sustainability issues in the past, however we are seeing that is more of an alarm, now, build a greener planet, the proliferation and the push for advanced IoT sensors and connectivity solutions is enabling consumers like us businesses and governments to drive energy efficient practices, optimise the use of resources, and enable a process that can help reduce, reuse and recycle.
Thank you for joining me today. I have provided a number of detailed, additional resources and links below this video should you wish to explore this topic in more detail. Now I'll be joining the networking group to continue a discussion. I would love to see some of you there. Thank you again for your time and for taking an interest in IoT things and its impact on sustainability.