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IoT technology will save eight times the energy it consumes by 2030, new report shows

A new report from Transforma Insights and 6GWorld has shown that IoT operations in 2030 will save more than eight times the energy they consume, amounting to net savings of 230 billion cubic meters of water and eliminating one gigaton of CO2 emissions.

The report (pdf, email required) sponsored by InterDigital, looked at the incremental impact of new technologies by examining the resource impact of enterprise and commercial technologies on electricity, fuel usage, eWaste, CO2 emissions, and water usage.

In terms of electricity, the report found that the manufacturing of new IoT technologies will increase global electricity use by 34 terawatt-hours (TWh) by 2030, but that IoT solutions will also reduce electricity consumption by more than 1.6 petawatt-hours (PWh), enough electricity to support more than 136.5 million homes’ energy use for one year.

For comparison, the total electricity consumption of the global ICT industry is forecast to increase to around 8 PWh by 2030, meaning that together new IoT technologies will generate energy savings equal to around 20% of the total power consumption of the ICT industry.

For fuel, the IoT industry will result in an additional 53 TWh of fuel being used for distribution and deployment of solutions. However, IoT’s net effect on fuel consumption will result in an annual 3.5 PWh reduction of (hydrocarbon) fuel.

Despite this, distribution and deployment of fuel will generate incremental eWaste, of which the overall impact will be more than 657,000 tons of IoT-generated eWaste.

Finally, IoT devices will conserve nearly 230 billion cubic meters of water. 35% of this impact will come from improved smart water grid operations, whilst the remaining savings will be supplemented by IoT-enabled agricultural applications like crop management and remote pest control.

The report also identified that the most impactful IoT solution in terms of fuel savings (above) will come from road fleet management of vehicles, accounting for 37% of fuel saved by IoT solutions of all kinds. However, the report points out that IoT technologies’ impact will be notably lower in regions that already have a greater representation of sustainable energy supplies.

Speaking on the findings, Jim Morrish, founding partner of Transforma Insights, said: “It is clear that developing and deploying new technologies has a sustainability footprint, but it’s important to note that many enterprise applications are deployed in order to increase efficiency, and the efficiencies generally outweigh the footprints of the solutions themselves.”

It’s official: the semiconductor industry suffered more than most with the initial effects of Covid-19, but there was a recovery by the end of the year.

Gartner has published its final results and closed the book on 2020 global semiconductor revenue, reporting a total of $466.2 billion for last year. This represents an increase of 10.4% from 2019.

In terms of specific vendors, Intel retained its position at the top, seeing growth of 7.4% to secure 15.6% market share at $72.8bn. Samsung Electronics remained the second player at 12.4% market share, while SK Hynix (5.5% share) and Micron Technology (4.7%) also retained their positions.

Qualcomm and Broadcom swapped to complete the top five, with 3.8% and 3.4% share respectively; Qualcomm’s revenues growing 29.5% year on year. Lower down, NVIDIA saw a notable 45.2% yearly growth, placing the company in the top 10 vendors.

Andrew Norwood, Gartner research vice president, noted the difficulties in some areas but consolidation in others. “Memory, GPUs and 5G chipsets led semiconductor growth, driven by hyperscale, PC, ultramobile and 5G handset end-market demand, while automotive and industrial electronics suffered due to lower spending or a pause in spending owing to Covid-19,” said Norwood.

In January, IoT News explored the shifting sands of the semiconductor industry amid a turbulent 2020. At the beginning of the year, Gartner noted in its preliminary results that global revenues were down 11.9%. The emergence of Covid-19 after this, with travel restrictions, slowing of supply chains and other uncertainties, could have had serious repercussions.

The answer can potentially be seen lower down the rankings. Gartner said NVIDIA’s growth was ‘primarily’ driven by its gaming-related and data centre businesses. Demand for 5G and smartphones, as well as demand on data centres and infrastructure, enabled a solid uptick once the ‘initial shock’ of the pandemic’s effect on supply was worked out, according to Cliff Leimbach, senior analyst for memory and storage at Omdia.

It is also worth considering that revenues do not always correlate to volume. The memory sector, which was the second best performing device category, also benefited from the shift to home working and learning as the hyperscale cloud providers built out to accommodate it. Within that sector, NAND flash and DRAM will be in shortage, Norwood argued. This will send pricing higher, with an expected revenue hike of 25%.

Norwood added this could set Samsung, focused more on memory, up with a ‘good chance’ to overtake Intel by the end of 2021.

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