The Internet of Things provided by IoT Energy has grown in number not only due to the convenience and reliability for consumers, but also as an answer to the threat of dwindling energy resources across the globe. At the rate that each country is consuming energy, it is predicted that most energy sources will be depleted within fifty years. Energy assessments must be done at every level in order to minimize damage to the environment and, subsequently, to human life. With the help of IoT Energy it is easy to monitor the energy usage of any building or home.
Energy Relevance of Internet of Things
The proliferation of the Internet of Things offers opportunities but may also present challenges. A neglected aspect of the IoT– as with any relatively new system– is the potential for increase in power consumption. IoT mitigates this concern by playing a key role in energy assessments since it can collect real time data and only release energy when needed. IoT devices are usually expected to be reachable by other devices at all times. This implies that the device itself, or at least its communication module, is consuming electrical energy even when the device is not in use for its primary function. When not in use, most devices will enter a standby state, which consumes significantly less energy. Billions of such devices however raise concerns regarding excessive standby energy consumption, even if the individual device has only moderate power needs. Global electricity consumption of network enabled devices has already reached 615 TWh in 2013, overtaking the electricity consumption of Germany. This demand is forecast to grow to 1140 TWh by 2025, corresponding to 6% of current total final global electricity consumption. These estimates are based mainly on the expected proliferation of “traditional” network-enabled devices, such as desktop and laptop computers, tablets, set top boxes, game consoles and smart TVs. Novel IoT devices such as sensors, household appliances, personal health gadgets and RFID tags, are not yet fully included in these projections. Therefore it is necessary to address the topic of IoT at an early stage to develop guidelines and policies to prevent excessive energy consumption of these novel network-enabled devices.
Energy Usage of Internet of Things
We have estimated that the applications highlighted in green are of high relevance regarding additional standby energy consumption, because the future number of devices in use is expected to be high. We have either assessed the expected proliferation to be comparatively low (e.g. sleep monitoring, fall detection, vending machines), or the application is already well established and only migrates to a novel communication infrastructure in conjunction with IoT. Based on this assessment we have focused the remainder of the project on the following applications:
- Smart Lighting
- Home Automation
- Smart Appliances
- Smart Street Lighting
- Smart Roads
We would like to emphasize that besides causing additional standby power, all five applications may also help to save energy. Especially for Smart Street Lighting and Smart Roads it is likely that the achievable savings outweigh the additional power consumption of the devices caused by their communication capabilities. For the Smart Home applications Smart Lighting, Home Automation and Smart Appliances, the saving potential is less clear, since these applications are driven by the paramount need for comfort, convenience and security.