IoT and the Carbon Market: How Data Can Help Drive Decarbonization

IoT and the Carbon Market- How Data Can Help Drive Decarbonization

Let’s set the stage for what greenhouse gasses are by using a familiar scenario. You’re walking  in a greenhouse. That warm, damp air that you feel on your skin and the additional sunlight that  warms the space likens it to  a 24/7 hot yoga session for plants. That, in a simple example, is the greenhouse gas effect.  Now, take that greenhouse and expand it to the size of the planet. Imagine the world as one large terrarium with man-made greenhouse gasses (GHGs) trapping heat in the atmosphere. The impact, according to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Emissions Gap Report, is measurable and critically damaging to life on planet earth.  Global temperatures are expected to rise at least 2.7C this century. The report goes on to say that GHGs need to be halved by 2030 to avoid a climate catastrophe.  According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), one of the leading GHGs is carbon dioxide (CO2), which accounts for 79% of all GHGs from human activities. Reducing CO2 (or decarbonization) is critical. The EPA points out that carbon emissions alter climate patterns and that “human health, agriculture, water resources, forests, wildlife, and coastal areas are all vulnerable to climate change.” Fortunately, data available from Internet of Things (IoT) technology can help accelerate decarbonization efforts as explained, in part, below.  The Intersection of IoT and Carbon Markets As the world faces the challenge of reducing GHG emissions, industries are turning to regulated carbon credit markets and voluntary carbon offset markets to help them shrink their carbon footprints. Carbon markets — where carbon credits and offsets are sold and bought, similar to commodity futures like grain — provide a way for industries to compensate for unavoidable emissions by investing in certified projects that reduce or remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. These projects mitigate the environmental impacts of industrial operations while helping organizations work toward net-zero commitments and environmental, social, and governance (ESG) reporting goals. Carbon credit markets create accountability. Along with international pacts to drastically lower GHG emissions, consumer demand to reduce environmental harm is spurring carbon market growth. This demand is driven by deep-seated concerns that are literally keeping Americans up at night. A new survey from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) reveals that one-third of adults (32%) “always or often” lose sleep due to worries about environmental issues. Investing in carbon offset projects shows that an organization’s commitment to combat climate change goes beyond lip service. A worldwide awareness of climate change could be one reason companies are taking note. The voluntary carbon market recently exceeded $1 billion in global value and could surpass $30 billion in annual value by the end of the decade, according to a Bain & Company report. While investments are clearly on the rise, “the carbon market has reached a crossroads,” the report states. That’s because carbon markets today are built largely on trust — and as it turns out, that trust is tenuous.   Enter the critical role of data. Verification methods for carbon offsetting lack uniformity, which raises uncertainties about the fair market value of credits as well as doubts about the efficacy of the projects they fund. As a result, many organizations that need carbon offsets to meet their net-zero commitments have nevertheless chosen not to buy them. For carbon markets to achieve their potential, reliable emissions measurements and data are needed for valuation and verification.  “Zero Trust” Begets Absolute Trust Leveraging IoT technology consisting of sensors, network configurations, and cloud-based analytics can significantly improve the accuracy, reliability, and scalability of the carbon offset verification process. That’s where FreeWave comes in and its partnership with Inmarsat to provide global coverage, collecting IoT sensor data from anywhere and transporting it to the cloud for analysis and action. The FreeWave platform has reputable third-party auditors who analyze data to confirm the efficacy of certified carbon offsetting projects. For example, in a reforestation project, auditors can accurately measure and convey to offset buyers how much carbon is being sequestered, and it won’t be long before buyers, through a dashboard, can track these measurements themselves and compare them against a projected scenario of how many tons of carbon emissions would have occurred were it not for the project. Using incontrovertible metrics to assess project performance increases investor confidence, while sellers can ensure that their credits are backed by measurable emissions reductions. This could ultimately help move the voluntary carbon market toward a more transparent, zero-trust model. When there’s absolute trust in carbon market performance, the value of carbon offsets will increase. That’s good news for industries like smart agriculture that can potentially capture more carbon than they produce, enabling them to sell offsets as an additional revenue stream. Beyond Carbon Markets — Sustainability Best Practices Carbon offsetting is part of a holistic sustainability plan that starts with reducing the use of fossil fuels and pollutants, taking carbon reduction efforts as far as possible before offsetting any remaining emissions. Here, too, IoT and FreeWave come into play, deploying technologies that improve operational efficiency while protecting and conserving natural resources.  Growers, for example, can use sensor data to optimize efficiency for irrigation and fertilization programs. IoT data allows agriculture and other industries to monitor and manage their environmental impact. It also gives them data-based ESG impact reports that they can use to their competitive advantage — and to discredit accusations of greenwashing (exaggerated claims of environmental practices). Most business leaders (76 percent) in major industries doubt their peers’ ESG reporting, according to recent research by satellite solutions provider Inmarsat.  Beyond the environmental and humanitarian imperatives, investing in climate-smart IoT technologies can be part of a long-term revenue enhancement strategy. We at FreeWave believe that products that are verifiably carbon-neutral will warrant premium pricing in the eyes of environmentally conscious consumers, just as produce grown organically commands a higher price. The Journey to Net-Zero  Most business leaders believe that data collected via IoT solutions is critical to building trust (81 percent) and improving ESG outcomes overall

Satellite Connectivity Becomes Next-Generation Tech for Remote Operations

Satellite Connectivity Becomes Next-Generation Tech for Remote Operations

The future of IIoT connectivity is up in the air — literally. Space is the new frontier for IIoT connectivity, as satellite connectivity is fast becoming the networking solution of choice for many industrial use cases.  IIoT, or the industrial internet of things, refers to an ever-expanding ecosystem of sensors, networking equipment, and analytics, which work together to collect, transmit, and analyze data from “things” used in industrial operations. Data transmissions from industrial assets help guide business decisions or automatically trigger actions. For example, in agriculture, IIoT-enabled irrigation systems monitor soil moisture levels, weather forecasts, and other data points to help growers determine the best time to water, or the IIoT solution can automatically activate sprinklers without human intervention if programmed to do so. When talking about satellite, this two-way communication reveals the next-generation tech for remote operations. First, though, let’s take a quick glance back. What Satellite Connectivity Means for People in Remote Areas FreeWave started by helping customers transmit mission-critical data using radio technology in 1993. We’ve seen the evolution of communications since then, with not only our rugged wireless radios continuing to serve the future of the oil and gas industry, but also the advancement of satellite for people leading remote operations. Traditionally, IIoT has mostly relied on cellular connectivity and other terrestrial solutions for data transmission, but as IIoT continues its push into underserved locations — from remote grazing pastures in Colorado to offshore oil platforms in the Pacific Ocean — cellular solutions pose some serious limitations. Connecting people, not things, is the foundational purpose of cellular infrastructure development, so in sparsely populated or remote areas, cellular service may be limited or even surprisingly unavailable. While other non-cellular connectivity solutions exist, for certain circumstances, satellite is becoming a more viable solution, offering distinct advantages. Competition is driving rapid innovation in the IIoT satellite space even as it drives down costs. As a result, companies that previously encountered lack-of-coverage or cost barriers with the various terrestrial networking options now have an affordable IIoT connectivity solution in the form of satellite — with cost savings between four and 20 times what they once might have paid. Satellite connections are, by definition, wireless and don’t require remote operators to install fixed lines — DSL lines or coaxial cable — for data transmission. This added flexibility gives companies the freedom to scale their IIoT applications quickly and easily as their needs and business goals evolve. For example, a major agriculture company with an expanding customer base in remote parts of Brazil, Argentina, and Chile announced it will use satellite connectivity to operate autonomously driven tractors in those countries. In these remote areas with no cellular or Wi-Fi coverage, real-time communication through satellite connectivity allows farmers to stop and start the tractors and other unmanned equipment, monitor the equipment’s performance, and determine what to do when a tractor encounters an obstacle — all through an app-based control panel from afar. Meet LEO and GEO Not all satellites are created equal, however. There are three common satellite types:  Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites, Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) satellites, and Geostationary Equatorial Orbit (GEO) satellites. LEO and GEO represent the two altitudinal extremes and are most commonly used for IIoT connectivity. LEO satellites are smaller and orbit closer to the earth, so launching them is less expensive. LEO satellites circle the earth several times a day, so multiples are needed to fly in succession over the target geographic area in order to provide consistent coverage and avoid dataflow disruptions. The ground equipment needed to monitor and maintain LEO satellite constellations is also extensive. GEO satellites — a type of geosynchronous orbit (GSO) satellite — also orbit the earth, but they do so along the equator in the same direction and at the same rate the earth is spinning. Hence, from our vantage point, a GEO satellite looks like it’s standing still since it is always above the same location. Its daily orbit notwithstanding, a GEO satellite, for all intents and purposes, stays “parked” above the area that needs coverage. Since GEO satellites are continuously visible, ground station tracking is not required, and their greater height offers substantially more geographic coverage; in fact, only three GEO satellites can provide whole-earth coverage. LEO satellites and GEO satellites both have their place in IIoT connectivity. With less distance for signals to travel, LEO satellite solutions historically have offered lower latency rates and higher bandwidth capabilities, although newer GEO satellite solutions offer these capabilities now, as well, with a signal-bounce delay of about one-quarter of a second. The end user’s needs, business goals, and budget will determine which IIoT satellite solution is best. We’re seeing an increasing need for two key requirements for satellite connectivity — real-time or near real-time data transmission and two-way communications. Can Satellite Connectivity for Remote Operations Minimize the Impact of Catastrophes? Environmental catastrophes happen more frequently than we are even aware. Being able to positively impact a critical issue before it happens is certainly the goal of many. IIoT and its network-connected sensors and dataflow provides the catalyst for alarming and alerting to help alleviate the impacts of disastrous situations whether they be natural phenomenon, human error, or otherwise created. FreeWave has expanded our footprint in the environmental space, helping customers deploy early-detection IIoT sensors that alert the appropriate personnel in the event of a disaster. Let’s take the case of a timber company using sensors to detect lightning strikes or approaching wildfires. Strategically placed sensors are programmed to detect various gas profiles indicative of those events. A delayed alert could spell disaster, so real-time notifications are of paramount importance. The same is true for oil and gas companies that receive alerts before a catastrophic equipment malfunction—real-time alerts to what’s happening in the field could save millions of dollars and prevent environmental devastation and other ramifications. One-way and Two-way Satellite Communications In many use cases, two-way communication is needed to optimize industrial operations. Some IIoT connectivity solutions only transmit data one way, from the

2023 and Beyond: A Visionary Q&A with FreeWave

2023 and Beyond- A Visionary Q&A with FreeWave

With fresh insight and excitement for the year ahead, the FreeWave leadership team discusses their vision for the future, predictions about the evolution of data, and collective approach to protecting life’s essentials.  Though you might not find their names in the next Marvel film or DC comic book, industrial leaders – whether in agriculture, energy, utilities, or another resource industry – are the heroes of the modern world, real-life Guardians of the Galaxy, if you will. These heroes fight today’s challenges every day, while life’s essentials like food, air, energy, and water are threatened daily. With technology at the ready, industrial operators continue to come to the rescue, finding innovative solutions to defend the planet and preserve its most precious resources. At FreeWave, our goal is to continually build upon technology advancements to help you build a better world within your industry. With 2023 right around the corner, we asked four of FreeWave’s senior leaders, including Kirk Byles (CEO), Michael Tate (COO), Parthesh Shastri (CTO), and Jeff Horton (CRO) to share their thoughts on how FreeWave Technologies is helping the heroes of today protect life’s essentials to create a better tomorrow. ___________________________________________________________________ Q: What is one of your favorite FreeWave memories from this past year? Kirk Byles: It’s hard to even remember before this quarter, but the Reinke Dealer Conference was definitely a top highlight for me this year. Not only did it show the work our collective teams have been doing to build relationships and finalize a new product offering, but it was also really cool to see the impact our work is having in real-time, as we partner with Reinke – one of the largest pivot irrigation manufacturers in the world – to help growers and producers save water and raise crops. This was really big. Parthesh Shastri: This year, we really came together across disciplines within FreeWave, too, increasing our focus on target outcomes to deliver products that our customers use and deploy in the field, and we had a lot of fun while doing it! As we look at 2023, we are excited to scale this model and implement it across new industries. Q: How is FreeWave helping industrial operators protect life’s essentials?   Jeff Horton: The top thing that comes to my mind is bringing automation to irrigation. We work closely with our partners, like Reinke, to provide real-time analytics, which saves a lot of water and nutrients, and both of these things are invaluable for farmers. Technology also helps to reduce fuel consumption on ranches by eliminating the need to manually check cattle watering tanks. Some producers often spend 12 to 15 hours a week driving around just to look at their water tanks. Think about the wear and tear on those pickup trucks or even the rising cost of fuel. Being able to reduce greenhouse gas and save these guys money while also producing a high return on investment is a really big deal. We can do that easily with the Tank Level Monitor. Mike Tate: And it’s not just the ROI. These producers are suffering. Ranching is not the lucrative business that it once was, and these ranchers are getting beaten at every turn. A lactating cow needs one gallon of water for every hundred pounds, every six hours! Water is a huge concern for both producers and growers, and being able to give them back more time while reducing their expenses is a great value add because every dollar counts for them. Q: Is the word “efficiency” changing for industrial operators?  Jeff: When you look at conditions today, both here in the United States and globally, you see so many labor shortages, droughts, inflation, and climate changes, and it’s forcing efficiency, not for efficiency’s sake, but for sustainability and survivability. Businesses have to fundamentally change the way they produce a product, and they have to find the least expensive, most efficient path to go to market. Efficiency isn’t an option anymore; it’s a necessity. Kirk: For years, everybody has wanted to do more with less, and usually, there’s some sort of limitation in the way until someone invents a solution that takes things to the next level. That’s what we’re all about at FreeWave. We’re not doing anything necessarily earth-shattering; but we are innovating. We’re providing a mechanism for our customers to become more and more operationally efficient – to increase their bottom line – and make things better, and not just for their business, but for their employees and life, in general. Case in point: oil and gas companies, considered by some to be big polluters. However, these companies have many sustainability and environmental initiatives and tenants they strive to uphold. They are a critical component of our everyday lives. They’re evolving and innovating, too. FreeWave, helps them get the most out of the equipment they have on-site so that they’re more effectively getting the oil and gas out of the ground with minimal impact. Overall, a more efficient company means less impact on the environment, and these kinds of solutions help create a better planet. Q: In your wildest imagination, where can technology take the industrial leader in the next ten years?  Parthesh: There are so many great examples. In China, there’s currently a 12-story tall facility being built to raise hogs in a conditioned environment. It’s like an office space for swine. In this environment, technology is being used in such a way that human intervention is really minimized, and because most things are entirely data-driven, they are able to be a lot more efficient. Now, there are pros and cons to what’s taking place there, and we won’t know the final outcomes for a while, but the march of technology is going to continue to go on, and I believe we will continue to see a lot more practices like this in the future. Jeff: Another example is indoor growing facilities in Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Massive facilities that are purpose-built for farming simply because there is

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