Business Insider: Finland invests in printing the Internet of Things – to avoid a global environmental nightmare30.9.2016
Business Insider Nordic, Sep 27th:
While vendors are in a mad rush, exploring the opportunities of IoT for the business, and industries are dragging heels on its actual implementation, mainstream IoT community seems to almost completely overlook one issue – the challenges IoT has brought to the environment.
The problem may not be obvious now, but keeping in mind that by 2021 IoT is expected to encompass 200 billion interconnected devices with a silicon chip and a battery stuck on each of them, stemming the tide of e-waste can become a Herculean task. According to United Nations University estimates reported by ITU, 53 million metric tons of e‑waste were disposed of worldwide in 2013. With the pervasiveness of IoT, the production of e‑waste is predicted to accelerate.
IoT as a sustainable, energy-autonomous system
Ahead of many other countries, Finland has been looking to avoid this environmental nightmare by boosting sustainable research and development of wireless technology.
Tampere Region has been identified by the Finnish Government as the key one for the implementation of the country’s Cleantech Strategy. Regionally, the Kolmenkulma Eco-Industrial Park has a central role in the implementation of this strategy, along with Tarastenjärvi Waste Management area.
Pirkko Eteläaho, Development Manager, Cleantech at Tampere Region Economic Development Agency Tredea, specifies that the sustainable development of the city of Tampere and Tampere Region aims to boost green innovations in every sector of cleantech - including IoT as a cross-sectoral theme.
“So far there’s been little discussion about what is needed to practically implement the IoT,” says Donald Lupo, Professor in the Department of Electronics and Communications Engineering at Tampere University of Technology. “Usually it’s assumed that all Internet-enabled devices will be equipped with a battery, but we don’t think that’s a sustainable approach. Everything is going to 4G, 5G, 10G, bigger, faster, better. But the higher the frequency band, the more energy you need. However, once you think of IoT as a sustainable, energy-autonomous system, you also have to think of how to minimize the energy.”