Thanks to wireless technology, consumers and business around the world are more environmentally friendly, cost-efficient and productive. According to a 2009 report from the Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI), the use of information and communications technology (ICT) could “cut annual CO2 emissions in the U.S. by 13-22 percent from business-as-usual projections for 2020,” which would save more than $140-$240 billion in fuel and energy.
For businesses with field workers or use, shipping or fleet management services, wireless technology is proving to save valuable resources and money while offering new levels of efficiency and environmentally responsible operations.
During the 2010 CTIA Enterprise & Applications show, Jackie Woods, UPS systems manager, spoke about some of the innovative wireless technology the company has deployed to manage their fleets and make its drivers safer. For example, UPS has installed telematics software and equipment in their fleets that report each driver’s wheel rotation, seat belt use, doors open or shut and other useful information. At the end of each day, this data is uploaded and reviewed to ensure drivers are following the company’s procedure and are operating safely. Thanks to telematics, UPS is also improving its efficiencies and cost-savings.
In addition, wireless technology helps cities and towns around the world collect data on their infrastructure and transportation systems, such as bridges, roads, trains and metro/subways. Florida International University found the Broward County traffic-monitoring system that cost almost $10 million to install actually provided more than $142 million in benefits for the community since it reduced travel time, fuel consumption, carbon emissions and secondary accidents.
The tragedy of the collapse of the I-35W Mississippi River Bridge in Minneapolis, Minnesota was heartbreaking. When the new bridge, named the I-35W Saint Anthony Falls Bridge, was built, it was one of the nation’s “smartest.” With wireless sensors throughout the bridge, the Minnesota Transportation Department can monitor it for any weakness or structural damage. The wireless devices also monitor weather and when the roads become slippery in the winter, anti-icing systems are automatically deployed. According to the U.S. Transportation Department, these “smart” winter weather-management systems can reduce costs by 10 to 50 percent.
By deploying wireless devices that automatically and systematically reporting climate, energy and other important details, transportation system operators can identify, fix and avoid potential problems. In 2009, the IDC estimated that these “smart” infrastructure projects could become a $122 billion business in three years.
The innovative wireless products and services that many of CTIA’s members are using to improve their sustainable operations are also deployed by other businesses. This includes commuter/telework programs; virtual meetings; waste reduction and recycling programs; smart transportation; and “green” buildings.
One example of the benefits of wireless technology in the work force relates to the 2009-2010 D.C.-area “snowmageddon” or “snowpocalypse” snow storms. The area’s average seasonal snowfall total is 15 inches, but in 2010, the area had a record-breaking 56 inches of snow. When the federal government, the area’s largest employer, closed for an unprecedented four consecutive days, the Office of Personnel Management estimated that each day cost more than $100 million in lost productivity. In July 2010, Congress passed a bill that codified the government’s telework policy which would reduce the amount of productivity lost due to a natural or man-made disaster. The use of wireless service and devices were useful and common tools used by these snowed in teleworkers. The Telework Research Network reported this decision could save agencies and participants more than $11 billion each year.
Wireless products and services are also used to improve businesses’ utility/water efficiency and recycling and e-waste programs.
To learn more about a CTIA member’s specific “go green” initiatives, please click here.