Using M2M to go ‘green’ makes business sense

There is continual discussion on how we can be more ‘green’ to better use resources and protect the environment. As Ryan Keefe writes, much of this discussion is driven by governments launching environmentally-friendly initiatives and regulations.

The more forward thinking companies, however, do not see themselves driven by the regulations, but see the use of M2M technology to ‘go green’ as making business sense and to demonstrate to the market, their corporate responsibility for helping improve the environment. Their solutions not only make for a good corporate image, but also result in cost savings for both companies and their customers.

Robin Duke-Woolley, CEO, Beecham Research Ltd., (www.beechamresearch.com), says M2M energy management solutions are usually adopted either to save money or meet regulations. “Corporate adopters can justify energy monitoring and control from a cost/benefit perspective,” says Duke-Woolley. Solutions related to smarter energy use represent a major segment of the green market for M2M. While individual companies are working to implement energy management systems, M2M is also viable for smart energy on a wider scale.

In the short term, Duke-Woolley believes smart metering and the smart grid offer immediate growth prospects for M2M. He says smart metering projects are “coming to the top of the agenda in all regions worldwide,” and that these programmes are “substantially justified on the basis of energy conservation and reducing CO2 emissions”.

The following are examples of companies delivering innovative ‘green’ machine-to-machine (M2M) solutions. From solar-powered, wireless parking meters that allow credit card payments, to a web-based irrigation control system, the solutions from IPS Group, GreenRoad, Weathermatic, EDC Technologies and EnergyICT are positively impacting our society – both protecting the environment and saving money and time for businesses and consumers.

Solar-powered connected parking meters

In today’s economy, consumers and businesses alike are looking for convenient, cost-effective solutions to everyday problems. Unlike old, battery-powered models, the solar-powered connected parking meters (see Fig. 1) from IPS Group take the pain and stress out of parking, allowing users to pay with coins, a credit card, or a reusable, rechargeable parking ‘debit card.’

In addition to customer convenience and green technology, these meters offer lower maintenance and operating costs for municipalities nationwide. Revenues in locations with IPS meters typically increase between 20% and 40% within six months of installation and data collection time can be reduced by as much as 95%. Furthermore, because the meters are solar powered, municipalities needn’t worry about the disposal of hundreds of thousands of batteries each year

Fig. 1
Using M2M to go green makes business sense figure 1

Safety and fuel consumption manager for fleets

Businesses and consumers alike are being significantly impacted by rising fuel costs. In fact, according to a recent US survey by GreenRoad, a leader in driver performance and safety management, fuel costs represent 26-75% of total costs for more than 61% of all fleets. Driver behaviour, such as rapid acceleration,speeding and harsh braking can dramatically impact fuel consumption, contributing to higher costs and increased fuel emissions.

With a technology-based, personalised driver performance solution, like the GreenRoad Driver Improvement Loop™ (see Fig. 2), organisations see improved efficiencies, reductions in fuel costs of up to 10%, as well as reduced emissions. Furthermore, with the GreenRoad solution, risk is reduced and safety improved with real-time driver feedback (see Fig. 3), resulting in fewer crashes. The GreenRoad solution has garnered over 25 awards since 2008.

Fig. 2Fig. 3
Using M2M to go green makes business sense figure 2Using M2M to go green makes business sense figure 3

Web-based irrigation control system

Ordinary irrigation systems cannot adjust to changing weather conditions, often resulting in overwatering, high water bills and potential property damage.

For commercial and municipal properties, web-based irrigation control systems and wireless controllers, such as the SmartLink Network (see Fig:4) from Weathermatic, can dramatically reduce water consumption and provide significant water bill savings. For as little as $0.50 per day, users of SmartLink can monitor and control irrigation, respond to system alerts, and generate monthly reports on water usage and savings – all from a connected smartphone, PC or tablet.

In a recent SmartLink pilot conducted by a leading national retail bank, it was estimated that water consumption would be reduced by approximately 9.8 million gallons and US$56,000 in savings would be realised across just six of the bank’s properties in the first year. Project payback was estimated at 3.3 months.

Advanced hot water controller technology

Today, with the advent of the internet, energy savings are achieved by analysing and programming water temperature to meet the actual demand needed for each half hour on a weekly cycle. Additionally, savings are achieved through designing and fine-tuning the heating system for maximum efficiency.

With advanced hot water controller technology, EDC Technology clients – including natural gas utilities, property management companies, hotel owners, restaurants and senior care facilities – not only achieve significant energy savings, but they are also provided with remote and proactive monitoring which records the nuances of day-to-day usage looking for system anomalies and performance irregularities.

This proactive approach ensures that cost-effective changes can be achieved long-term, providing true sustainability. Among the many recognitions their technology has received, EDC Technologies was awarded Gold for its Hot Water Controller at the 2011 Connected World M2M Value Chain Awards.

Fig 4
Using M2M to go green makes business sense figure 4

Remote energy consumption monitoring

In this age of high energy prices and environmental concerns, everyone from homeowners to the largest energy consuming businesses are interested in reducing their energy consumption. Large businesses such as multi-site industrial companies and retailers recognise that to control energy costs and to enhance their total energy performance is crucial to maintain competitiveness. Moreover, environmental regulations, whether part of company policy or imposed by authorities, further require large energy consumers to reduce energy waste and monitor a growing number of parameters.

EnergyICT’s customers use a WebRTU data logger for remote meter reading, which allows for the collection of timely and accurate energy consumption data. Collecting accurate data provides customers with the information they need to start reducing energy consumption and thus overall energy costs. EnergyICT was able to implement the solution with customers Europe, the USA and Australia.

“This solution has helped us put one of our devices in every ASDA and Tesco store in the UK, which is having a big impact on these organisations’ efforts to reduce their carbon footprint,” said Stefan Grosjean, CEO and founder of EnergyICT.

These are excellent examples of the many companies with whom we are working who are seeing the business benefits of going green and are building a better environment. When innovative green M2M solutions are paired with Wyless’ managed services, lives can be enriched and the environment protected. This is M2M at its most rewarding and it is great to see so many of our partners enjoying success in this rapidly developing market.

Ryan Keefeabout autor: Ryan Keefe is VP Global Business Development at Wyless
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