Sustainability, E-Waste, and Other Complicated Things in the IoT Business

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By Kateryna Dubrova | 4Q 2020 | IN-6003


The Other Side of Sustainability and IoT Solutions


While the entire world is splitting its attention between COVID-19, the U.S. election, and re:Invent 2020, climate change did not disappear. Innovation and technology are always about bringing efficiencies and tend to be the key for solving various environmental issues. Among sustainable industries, IoT and AI are at the core of the roadmap, with gateway, sensor 5G, and AI deployment paving the way for environmental monitoring and increasing the possibility and convenience of tracking and reducing waste.

The benefits of AI and IoT are clear; however, one of the most overlooked territories of the IoT business is devices and chipsets and their role in environmental pollution, depletion of the Earth’s resources, and perhaps violation of human rights. Up to US$10 billion of precious metals is dumped each year in electronic waste. Some 54 million tons of e-waste was generated worldwide in 2019, up 21% in 5 years, the UN’s Global E-waste Monitor report found. So, what else has potential implications for the sustainability of the IoT business?

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