Guest Column | January 12, 2023

Combatting Climate Change With IoT

A conversation with Marc P├ęgulu, Vice President and General Manager IoT Strategy and Products at Semtech

Environmental-technology-GettyImages-1271697611

Climate change and sustainability initiatives are coming to the forefront for many organizations. The Internet of Things (IoT) has the power to serve as a building block to maximize efficiencies, reduce waste, and better manage climate change. As a result, many applications across industries are leveraging IoT solutions for environmental good. We spoke with Marc Pégulu, Vice President and General Manager of IoT Strategy and Products at Semtech to learn more.

Q: What is the role of IoT/wireless solutions in combatting climate change?

Pégulu: Finding a way to combat accelerating climate change is imperative to humanity’s future. From wildfires to flooding, it is evident that our planet’s conditions are changing rapidly. While the majority of climate change conversations are around recycling and energy consumption, the IoT has the potential to catalyze social and environmental good. 

Across industries, IoT technology can monitor and detect environmental issues in real-time. It is uniquely designed to provide data, analytics, and insights to improve process efficiency, increase productivity and reduce waste. Sophisticated IoT offerings like long-range low-power technology can address these issues by providing efficient, seamless, and easy-to-adopt solutions. By implementing wireless solutions with long-range low-power sensors, companies can implement IoT solutions that monitor energy management, natural resource reduction, pollution control, and building efficiency.

Q: What applications will be important as it relates to curbing the impact of climate change? 

Pégulu: From monitoring the food we grow to our water levels, there are a number of IoT solutions that can help curb the impact of climate change. Here are a few examples of how the IoT is having an environmental impact on the world.

  • Farming: Sensors can measure environmental conditions that influence crop production, track the health of livestock, and enable efficiencies that can reduce environmental impact while maximizing yield and minimizing expenses.
  • Flood Monitoring: The water levels are rising and governments must have real-time visibility to alert emergency personnel and citizens in advance of a flooding event. Long-range, low-power sensors can autonomously monitor coastal regions with a high risk of flooding.
  • Water Conservation: For smart homes and buildings, integrating sensors into water management systems, efficiently monitoring their water usage, detect leaks and decrease water wastage.

Q: Why is it important to have interoperable technologies vs. a one size fits all approach? 

Pégulu: The connectivity landscape is robust and there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Traditionally, IoT’s potential has been limited by geographic constraints or it has been too hard to build and implement solutions to scale. To establish a universally connected planet for massive IoT deployments, there need to be complementary networks that can expand coverage for demanding verticals like logistics, maritime and environmental monitoring.

Interoperable technologies help create more comprehensive IoT solutions that enable the transformation to a smarter and more sustainable planet. 

When long-range low-power sensors are paired with higher bandwidth capabilities like a cellular network, organizations have an easy-to-use, interoperable solution that enables innovation and growth for IoT globally. This type of chip-to-Cloud solution offers enhanced security, device management, and geolocation capabilities for power-optimized IoT applications.

Q: What are some specific examples of use cases leveraging this technology across the supply chain, logistics, and asset management?

Pégulu: Assets travel across land, sea, and sky which requires different kinds of connectivity throughout the process. For asset tracking there are use cases in many different settings, including organizing wheelchairs in a hospital, shopping carts in retail, pallets in the supply chain, cattle in agriculture, or even following pets around a home, asset tracking is applicable across many industries. The most common being intercontinental logistics. 

Having full visibility throughout an asset’s journey is important. A chip-to-cloud IoT solution brings the interoperability needed to provide full transparency to the global supply chain. Advances in integrating geolocation and network connectivity are eliminating coverage gaps during transport and logistics, with more accuracy than ever before. The ultra-low power trackers offer enhanced interoperability, more versatile connectivity for a simpler operation, and global mobility across multiple regulatory regions. This allows for an easy transition from one geographical region to the next, ensuring reliable connectivity and stable communication no matter the location. With a chip-to-cloud solution, assets can be accurately tracked and traced from ship to semi-truck, ensuring the goods are safe and accounted for at all times. 

Q: What is the future of this technology? 

Pégulu: IoT has the potential to be a catalyst for environmental good. According to a report from the World Economic Forum, 84% of IoT deployments are currently addressing or have the potential to address the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that are defined by the United Nations. 

As we look toward the future, offering reliable, seamless, and cost-effective connectivity will be key to developing a smarter planet. A chip-to-cloud solution is the next generation of technology growth. With the two technologies combined, companies can extend the reach of their IoT solution and create innovative solutions.