Things vs. Nature: Will the Internet of Things (IoT) Help or Harm the Natural Environment?

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a game changer that will impact every industry vertical, across every business ecosystem, ranging from product/service idea to consumption.

IoT poised to provide businesses with greater efficiencies, operational effectiveness, and improved revenue potential.  IoT will provide consumers with more flexibility and choices in products and services while transforming lifestyles.  Along the way, IoT is also expected to reduce energy consumption through efficiencies and reduction in travel needs, which will have the most positive impact in transport dependent industries.

IoT is going to create a linkage between the natural (physical) environment and the digital world that is unprecedented in terms of the ability to communicate and control real-world things with virtual world objects.  This will be accomplished through a variety of technologies and solutions including addressing/mapping physical things to virtual objects, identity management, authentication and authorization controls, sensing and actuation, data gathering and analytics, artificial intelligence, robotics, and more.

Big changes are coming to every business ecosystem due to IoT.    These changes will impact the physical ecosystem, digital ecosystem, and form a new hybrid physical/digital ecosystem.

The type of products and services consumed will change.  The manner in which consumers engage in products and services will change.  How much consumers use products and services will change.  Virtually everything will change.

These changes will be very positive for companies that position themselves accordingly.

The question is: How will IoT impact the natural environment ecosystem?

  • Will Earth’s ecosystems be improved because of reduction in natural resources (energy, materials, land, water, etc.) required?
  • Will nature be harmed because IoT will drive more business activity and many new business models that require even more natural resources?
  • Will the impact of IoT to the natural world be neutral, because of shifts from old businesses and business practices to new ones balancing out, leaving the overall physical landscape largely unchanged?

Thinking beyond business and money with a perspective that Earth is indeed a spaceship that we all rely upon, these are perhaps the most important questions of all when it comes to the game changing business expectations of IoT.