Top 3 uses for the internet of things (IoT)
Top 3 uses for the internet of things (IoT)
In no particular order, we take a look at internet of things (IoT) technology, and the ways in which it can improve our lives at work and at home
Forbes states the following about IoT. Focusing on the Internet of Things (IoT), it is becoming a progressively growing topic of discussion, both in the business and personal world. This concept not only has the potential to massively impact how society lives but also how it will change the working environment. Simply stated, the Internet of Things is a concept that involves connecting any device with an on and off switch, to the internet (or/and to each other). Examples of this include: Mobiles, Washing Machines, Headphones, Wearable Devices; most items can be included within this list. More specifically, components of machines, such as a jet engine, could also be added. Gartner , the analyst firm, notes that within 2020, there will be well over 26 billion connected devices. IoT is the foundation of this giant network, of connecting ‘Things’ - which can also be people. The relationships can form as follows: people-things, people-people and things-things.
Below are 3 main uses for the Internet of Things, that can be used in both personal and working environments.
- Smart Energy
Many individuals are now installing ‘Smart Meters’ within homes, to be able to get a better understanding and idea of how our electric consumption is being used, and by what devices. The meters monitor the usage and the cost equating to that usage. From this, the industry itself is benefiting from society’s use of the Smart Meter, by simplifying the process and being able to sell energy back to the grid.
The Internet of Things has been making colossal strides within the automotive sector. Tesla, for example, are one of the top trending brands within the automotive manufacturing industry who are focused on how to enhance technology within its vehicles. With the continuation of progress that is already being made within the automotive sector, alongside the use of communication technology such as 5G, will all aid in the most anticipated end result; autonomous driving solutions.
- Smart Cities
Undoubtedly, cities, globally, are getting smarter. With the use of IoT data collection, narrowing down how these connections are being used. Other data that is being collected stems from all aspects within how society lives and moves within a city. Sensors measuring the quantity of people entering a building, or observing the traffic levels, can all be redeployed in order to make improvements for the city, whether it be for economical or sustainability terms.
Tech Corporations Fight for Alternative ESG Filings
In 2021, almost a third of global equity inflow went into ESG funds, according to the Bank of America. In April alone, ESG assets hit US$1.4tn, growing at 3x the rate of non-ESG funds. And although it seems like solar panel and electric car firms should take the cake for sustainable investment, it’s actually the world’s largest tech firms that command the market.
The Wall Street Journal reported that the most commonly held S&P 500 stocks in actively managed sustainable equity funds include Microsoft, Alphabet, and Apple. So it struck many as odd that in a June 11th letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Alphabet requested that ESG information not be disclosed in annual 10k filings.
Who Signed The Letter?
Only some of the most influential tech giants in the world...
To be fair, these companies aren’t against ESG and sustainable business. ‘Collectively, we purchase more than 21 gigawatts of clean energy and many of us are members of the UN Race to Zero and America is All In campaigns’, the joint letter to the SEC stated. ‘Each company has an individual goal to procure 100% renewable energy’.
Then Why Protest?
According to the tech companies, filing ESG information might open them up to legal risks. After all, sustainability reporting relies on estimates and assumptions that involve uncertainty—and governance issues such as fair labour are much harder to track than annual financial data. ‘It is important not to subject companies to undue liability’, the companies wrote.
Instead of reporting ESG data in their annual 10k filings, Alphabet et. al suggest that the SEC should allow for new climate-related reporting outside of the current annual or quarterly schedules. By adjusting the reporting frequency and timing, they argue, companies can provide a better and more accurate measure of how they’re doing with ESG.
Who Opposes Alternative ESG Reporting?
For the most part, asset managers aren’t thrilled. Pimco, Invesco, and other major asset funds want ESG information disclosed—the standard way. As of right now, the SEC still intends to make ESG 10k filings mandatory. ‘[Alphabet] positions itself as a sustainability leader’, said Josh Zinner, CEO of the Interfaith Centre on Corporate Responsibility. Added Molly Betounray, Director of Shareholder Advocacy at Clean Yield Asset Management: ‘While it’s great to see corporate ESG leaders advocating for climate disclosure standards, we disagree with their assertion that these disclosures should fall outside current standard SEC filings’.
What’s the Verdict?
Maybe Alphabet, Amazon, and Intel are honestly trying to frame ESG reporting in a new light. As Patrick Flynn, Vice President for Sustainability at Salesforce said: ‘[ESG disclosure] is a new process for companies to go through, and they’ll need to establish new procedures. Allowing for some sort of safe harbour from liability…[allows] companies to push in willingly and not just do the bare minimum’.
In their letter to the SEC, these companies chose to recommend several concrete actions:
- Use a principles-based framework, akin to the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD)
- Base GHG emissions on global standards, such as the World Resources Institute GHG Protocol
- Leverage existing SEC frameworks to reduce the reporting burden
- Adjust the timing and frequency of ESG reporting
In short: before we mandate ESG reporting, the SEC should at least think twice about how to design it.