How technology is facilitating more sustainable business

By Kris Makuch, Director of Digital

One of the fundamental principles of technology has always been to solve problems. Technology makes the difficult easy. From the use of the wheel to the invention of the internet, technology serves to save time, energy and often money. Where there is a problem, technology can facilitate the solution.

The biggest problem we have globally is that the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is increasing to a level that is too high to sustain carbon-based life. These greenhouse gases are created by the vast energy consumption of humans innocently going about their daily lives. To put it another way, the materials on which humans are dependent are the very materials that will end their existence. How bleak.

This development has created quite the stir among human folk and boffins around the world are tinkering away searching for solutions that can solve this heated problem.

In 2018 the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy showed that domestic use accounts for 28.9% of all UK energy consumption. The remaining 71.1% was spread across commercial, industry, public administration, agriculture, and transport. Organisations can therefore play a huge part in reducing the amount of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere and technology is there to help facilitate this transition. Here’s how:

Better forecasting

British weather allows for few BBQ opportunities each year. Yet every year supermarkets stock their shelves with burgers and buns, ever prepared to catch these wonderous weekends. This hopeful guesswork from supermarkets in the summer months results in either over-stocking, causing wasted inventory, or under-stocking, causing a loss in potential sales.

Black Swan Data teamed up with Tesco to solve this problem by developing a formula to forecast when people were planning to host a BBQ. By analysing online comments and cross-refencing this with the weather forecasts ahead of the weekend they could predict within 96% accuracy how many burgers Tesco would sell.

Virtual product testing

Audi changed the way in which companies sell vehicles, with the introduction of an innovative showroom concept named Audi City. Audi City allowed visitors to try Audi’s cars in small locations, where large showrooms weren’t a possibility. Using innovative media technology, customers can customise the car, then experience the model using VR headsets without having to leave the store.

Smart products and more informed decisions

Johnson Controls created a thermostat that gives building owners remote access through web and mobile apps. The thermostat is also connected to cloud services allowing the data to be monitored and processed for better efficiency. Johnson developed software that responds to activity in the room and automatically adjusts accordingly. Furthermore, it compared the efficiency of on-premises storage to outsourced solutions and discovered that by using a third-party they could significantly reduce their carbon footprint.

Increasingly companies are using technology to find more efficient solutions. Ultimately, use of technology in the information-age allows organisations to simplify complex data, accelerate green solutions and better manage company resources.

This piece first appeared in Cicero/AMO’s February news and insights update – click here to access our full update.

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Kris Makuch

Director of Digital