We live in a world with finite resources. Even if in the past, mankind was prone to ignore this fact in favour of uncontrolled economic growth, we are reaching a point of no return in terms of exhaustion of resources and pollution of the environment.
We have to explore and apply environment-friendly solutions that go from empowering recycling technology, to further the advance of renewable energy use. For all this, M2M technology is a perfect enabler.
There are already plenty of interesting projects and solutions that range from very simple M2M implementations to completely new ideas.
In the recycling department, M2M has created a lot of room for improvement. Different implementations are possible: from specialised fleet management solutions for garbage trucks to solutions like the one powered by Telit: intelligent garbage bins that alert when they are half full, and completely full in order to empty them. Last year Telefónica unveiled a very similar solution aimed to domestic oil recycling.
Other projects are more oriented to the final user, like the reVend Light Bulb Recycling Reverse Vending connected machine, which acts as an intelligent recycling point for lightbulbs.
In any case, it is clear that many recycling initiatives are taking advantage of managed connectivity and fleet management technologies that have already proven their efficiency.
Recycling is not the only area of action of M2M when it comes to being eco-friendly. In fact, M2M offers a range of ways to improve energy usage besides smart energy and sustainability solutions; by promoting renewable energy use and a responsible consumption of water. There are very interesting projects underway in this front.
For instance, back in June 2012, M2M managed services provider, Wyless, unveiled some interesting “green solutions” developed jointly with other companies. One of the most interesting projects was the solution of solar-powered connected parking meters developed jointly with IPS, a technology that means lower maintenance and operating costs for local administrations.
Wyless is also working with Weathermatic to offer intelligent systems that allow remote and automated irrigation control, which will help avoid overwatering, thus reducing water bills and the risk of property damage.
But probably, one of the most cutting-edge recycled energy project is being implemented in the public transportation network of the city of Philadelphia.
The pilot project captures the braking energy of the trains on one of the train lines of the city and integrates that power into the regional electric grid, an initiative that shows the level of sophistication and ingenuity that solutions can reach, enabled by M2M technology.