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Edge Computing is a Key Towards Environmental Sustainability

Why do we need Edge Computing for a sustainable future?

The African Savanna. An Arctic ice range. Your neighborhood. What do these seemingly disconnected places have in common? They can all benefit from solutions enabled with edge computing that track data. IoT project managers need to think about sustainability now. Edge computing working in tandem with environmental sensors is underused.

Introduction: How is edge computing key to environmental sustainability?

Edge devices create data by gathering sensor measurements in the field. Ayyeka's Wavelet organizes and consolidates the data before transferring it to the cyber-secure Field Assets Intelligence software platform. Irregularities or abnormal events are detected by the Wavelet in real-time and transmit alerts. Field crews respond to those alerts, in many cases averting a disaster. Machine learning algorithms are applied to the data to detect anomalies and trends. Actionable insights provided by the software are immediately applicable in the field.

What types of environmental monitoring are important?

  1. Air Quality

    Foul odors from industrial waste are a common complaint in residential areas. Air pollutants damage human health and ecosystems. Some pollutants also erode critical infrastructure. Emissions of nitrogen oxides and non-methane volatile organic compounds are the main causes of the formation of ground-level ozone. An air pollutant monitor assesses pressure from specific pollutants in the atmosphere and identifies pressures from sectors such as energy, transport, industrial processes, agriculture, and waste management.

    As a result of this monitoring, government agencies can adjust the environmental policy by revising emission standards and strengthening permitting of potentially polluting activities.
  2. Water Monitoring

    Access to freshwater resources is essential for all living things. Every community's health is directly linked to the quality of and access to clean drinking water. Pollution, climate change and pipe leaks are 3 factors putting pressure on water supply, but it is possible to mitigate their damage with solutions enabled with edge computing.

  3. Biodiversity

    Sustainable development depends on a sound environment, which in turn depends on ecosystem diversity. Protected areas are essential for conserving biodiversity and contributing to sustainable development. Chronic water shortages in the African savanna are a threat to the area's survival. African savannas provide water, grazing, browsing, food, and fuel for tens of millions of people, and have unique biodiversity that supports wildlife tourism. Monitoring water availability and vegetation dynamics provide data to take concrete action to save this vital ecosystem. 

  4. Waste Monitoring 

    The treatment and disposal of waste potentially cause environmental pollution and expose humans to harmful substances and infectious organisms. Measurement of sewage levels is a key component in their maintenance to protect public health.

  5. Sound monitoring

    Intense, repeated noise from industrial, commercial, and construction sites feels like a curse of modern life. Moving from big cities does not always provide relief. Data on noise levels from construction sites can reduce workers' exposure to hearing damage and give residents living near infrastructure a quieter night's sleep. Detection of unusually high noise levels in critical infrastructure are an indicator of equipment malfunction.

Conclusions--Sustainability is not just for "green" hippies anymore

Keeping data close to the eyeballs not only makes monitoring more efficient, but it also benefits the environment. There is lower latency and reduced carbon emissions. No need for hyper-scale cloud computing or equipment that gets thrown away. Predictive maintenance becomes easier to plan, reducing downtime, making infrastructure run more smoothly, and this reduces pollution.

Regulatory compliance becomes simpler. An increasingly strict regulatory environment, plus the drive for environmental conservation, drives the need for more efficient tools to manage data with less computing power.

Edge Computing for Environmental Sustainability is a primer on this topic.