10 IoT Initiatives for a More Sustainable Future

Katherine Lazarevich

The Internet of Things is creating the building blocks for a brand new world of connected everything. We’ve witnessed the current power of IoT at CES 2018. Monoliths and newly born startups have demonstrated the massive rise of the technology and mind-blowing futuristic pictures of tomorrow.

However, there are tangible risks that will come along with this new, connected world unless we solve environmental problems and stop the effects of imprudent human behaviors that spring up like mushrooms.

Fortunately, a hefty part of IoT enablers and cleantech innovators are already on a mission to make the emerging connected world a cleaner, more sustainable place. Here are 10 notable IoT initiatives across different verticals and industries that are worth taking a closer look at.

Clean Agriculture

There’s an idea that every school should teach gardening because “food is kind of important.” Meanwhile, technology agencies and industry-focused companies introduce IoT-based tools and services that increase the efficiency of the food and agriculture industry, keep it clean and sustainable, and most importantly, automated.

1. PrecisionHawk Drones

Highly rated by the independent experts at Global Cleantech 2017, PrecisionHawk’s unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), a.k.a. drones, for field mapping and farm management and unrivaled software for real-time and comparative data analysis made it to the list of notable IoT products to watch in 2018.

The company offers an automated, highly efficient and consistent field monitoring technology for an array of aerial surveys – collection of granular imagery, thermal, video and hyperspectral analysis, regular field health and wear monitoring. Drones are armed with plug-and-play sensors, so they are adjustable to various needs. And it’s not the only gem.

What’s so special about it?

PrecisionHawk’s system is incredibly smart and adaptive. Drones are armed with AI-based navigation tools, so they complete hundreds of missions regardless of poor weather conditions. UAVs are able to analyze weather and build safe flight routes to successfully accomplish missions and get back to the take off stage. True hawks.

This revolutionary approach is invaluable for efficiency-hungry farming. First, it eliminates many personnel-heavy tasks. Second, smart drones consistently collect previously unavailable data and help farmers detect field health issues at the very early stage, way before it’s too late.

Finally, backend analytics of collected data allow farmers to perform in-depth yearly and seasonal comparisons and provide farmers with actionable insights for more rational, forward-looking planting and growing decisions.

2. Agrisource Data – Field-centric Data

Precision farming is an agriculture trend piped up by IoT and data analytics. Agrisource Data should be an outstanding example of how a young technology can bring big-number results.

The company leverages the power of intelligent in-field sensors for water levels, soil moisture, in-field crop health, fuel levels, storage temperatures and data analytics to provide farmers with detailed crop and field information and ensure more efficient field management.

These insights allow farmers to optimize water, electricity, nutrient, chemical, and fuel usage. Moreover, the Agrisource Data platform is easy to use – it is designed not to complicate, but rather simplify, a farmer’s life with high-end IoT technology.  

What’s so special about it?

Just like PrecisinoHawk, the Agrisource Data platform relies on detailed field data analysis. Like PrecisinoHawk, Agrisource Data uses machine learning to extract value from real-time and legacy data and help farmers make informed decisions and build better strategies.

Unlike PrecisinoHawk, Agrisource Data puts environmental efforts forward – optimization of irrigation, reduction of chemical usage, and improvement of crop health. Up to this date, the company claims to have saved more than 7 million liters of water and increased average yield by almost 10%.

Clean Energy

Energy could possibly be the richest sector for IoT implementation. Today, more connected facilities, intelligent buildings, and industry environments rely on smart energy consumption. Here are two concepts of how it works at the enterprise and household levels.

3. WattTime – Enterprise Level Control

Everyone wants to go green. But it’s not like you can just plug your iPhone to a wind turbine to charge. Yet, thanks to WattTime you can make your energy consumption choices as clean as possible.

WattTime’s system, installed on selected devices, batteries, and thermostats, continuously monitors and updates power data from grids and the EPA and allows smart devices to automatically switch to the cleanest energy supplier available. Therefore, the owners of the WattTime-enabled devices seamlessly contribute to the clean power initiative and reduce their carbon footprint without additional efforts.

What’s so special about it?

The whole concept is special to begin with. WattTime’s system, based on multi source real-time data analysis, enables consumers and enterprises make better energy consumption decisions.

Moreover, it allows clean energy grids participating in the initiative to take stronger positions in the market, competitively provide cleaner energy and sustainable service, and most importantly, reach a wider range of energy consumers. WattTime is a sort of enabler of fair competition in the clean energy sector.

4. Ecobee – Household Level Control

Another Global Cleantech 2017 awardee, ecobee is an oldie in the market, and it keeps getting better.

This smart thermostat has won the heart of the average consumer not because of the sleek design and plethora of features. Apart from helping consumers control home temperature remotely from basically any device available, it is packed with room sensors that allow you to automatically manage different in-house spots. In other words, it helps households perform more granular temperature management and thus use less and save more.   

What’s so special about it?

Ecobee is often compared with other smart thermostats, like Nest. Here’s what beats them all: Ecobee has a built-in Alexa and works with Google Assistant, an indispensable feature in the world where voice assistants are getting hotter and hotter. Moreover, the company has a strong contract with Apple and works with Apple Home Kit, possibly the most complete connected home framework up to this point.

Solar Power

In general, IoT is the backbone technology for the solar energy sector. Efficient operation of solar fields greatly depends on the IoT systems that enable control and adjustment of solar panels, monitoring and management of both generated and stored energy, predictive maintenance of the whole infrastructure, and processing of the streams of real-time data. These two examples demonstrate how IoT systems help get the best of solar power.

5. Alencon Systems Field Architecture

Alencon Systems uses innovative solar field architecture, layout, and IoT-enabled technology to take the performance of PV plants to a new level. The company introduced a flexible solution that combines the power of DC-DC optimizers, central inverters, and monitoring software to help get more energy and higher yield from solar fields.

Innovative architecture allows Alencon Systems to eliminate the disadvantages of conventional PV plants. The company recognized the main cost and effort bearers, points of failure and layout imperfections of traditional PV systems and reorganized solar fields to make them perform at their peak at less cost.

What’s so special about it?

PV plants bring clean energy. Optimizing the architecture of PV installations allows us to make this energy cheaper, more efficient, and predictable. In other words, Alencon Systems introduced a better way to generate, store and transmit solar power.

Moreover, thanks to granular monitoring and VR-based infrastructure visualization, the company made a new PV system more controlled,and thus more durable and efficient.

6. Sunpartner Technologies Smart Surface

While Alencon Systems was busy optimizing solar grids, Sunpartner Technologies was creating innovative solar power solutions based on smart surface technology. This company has a long history in producing transparent PV-enabled glass that accumulates and transmits solar power to supply buildings, vehicles, and even consumer objects such as smartphones, tablets, smartwatches, and ebooks.

Today, the company offers a wide range of smart surface products that are able to transform traditional walls, windows, screens and top covers into autonomous clean energy generators.

What’s so special about it?

The first generation of smart surfaces from Sunpartner Technologies brought revolution into construction. Today, the idea of self-charging fully-autonomous smartphones, car windows, shop screens, and even air shuttle locks creates the image of simpler off-grid solar energy for everyone.

Armed with sensors, the smart windows are able to automate and power air-conditioning and shading while walls can generate enough power to supply building’s energy consumption needs. On top of that, personal devices never go off because of low charge battery.

Water Preservation

Efforts to preserve water and save the planet encourage individuals, buildings management, and whole enterprises to make more conscious decisions about water consumption. Not surprisingly, numbers, be it saved dollars, kilowats or liters, motivate each of the target groups equally effectively. These IoT-enabled solutions help to visualize the results of water preservation efforts.  

7. Wexus App for Agriculture

The Wexus platform is a mobile tool to monitor and control irrigation pumps. It remotely connects to an AG irrigation system, tracks water consumption cost, monitors system health, indicates maintenance needs, and sends alerts on unusual behavior such as water well dropping level, extreme consumption points, and increased cost.

Moreover, the system’s analytics allows us to identify year-to-year patterns, determine high and low efficiency irrigation patterns, and recommend the best water consumption schedules. Not to mention remote control features are enabled all over the irrigation system.

What’s so special about it?

It’s an app. The whole complex irrigation system monitoring, remote control, real-time data analysis, and pattern recognition are available in a simple-to-use mobile app.

Obviously, the Wexus relies on high-end technology for data processing, connects all parts of the sophisticated irrigation system, and calculates cost and efficiency via proprietary algorithms at the backend. However, what a client gets is a simple app with diagrams, pop-ups, tips, and bill reports.

8. APANA for Industrial and Commercial Facilities

APANA is another water preservation solution. It helps industrial and commercial enterprises, smart buildings and even small single-site operations monitor water consumption, identify malfunctions and provide prompt correction guidelines to avoid water wasting.

This IoT-based system uses sensors to scan water infrastructures 24/7, analyze data to determine patterns in water consumption, alert on abnormal events and water pressure change, and identify even minor leakages. Thus, APANA completely eradicates heavy waste events and helps management take full control over water consumption with little effort.  

What’s so special about it?

APANA relies on a proactive approach. The platform allows to us identify waste events at a very early phase and minimize repair cost and water loss.

APANA smart analytics uses complex algorithms to provide quick fix and repair guides and make sure the problem doesn’t escalate. In other words, APANA both keeps the eyes and ears on enterprise’s water infrastructure and provides emergency and first aid help.

Smart Buildings

With more IoT solutions available in the market, households receive more control over their energy and utility bills, vehicles learn autonomy, objects become connected, while buildings get smarter. Here’re two outstanding light and air solutions that make buildings smart.

9. Digital Lumens Intelligent Lighting

Seven-time Global Cleantech 100 awardee, Digital Lumens provides industrial buildings with smart lighting systems. The company equips facilities with a centralized control platform that relies on rich sensor data and software intelligence system. It allows us to customize LED lighting to real-timem changing needs and enables unprecedented energy saving – up to 90%.

In short, theDigital Lumens system monitors the facilities to identify energy-saving opportunities and automatically turns on saving regimes preserving a secure and comfortable light environment.

What’s so special about it?

According to Global Cleantech 2017, “[Digital Lumens are] competing head to head with GE and winning.” The company managed to leverage the capabilities of sensor technology, strong hardware and streaming data analytics to create an intelligent, highly-automated system for cost-efficient and energy-saving lighting control.

Today, the company can equip any type of building – industrial, commercial, and even single-room facilities – with a new generation of automated lighting monitoring and control system.

10. enVerid HVAC Optimization

Traditional HVAC systems monitor indoor air conditions and gradually replace contaminated air with freshly cleaned air every 2-3 hours. This is a working, but costly and energy-wasting, technology that has been around for decades. However, hardly will it find aplace in smart buildings.

enVerid introduced a smarter air purifying solution. Why not augment HVAC and clean the inside air to decrease heavy energy consumption? With this thought, the company has created a HLR system that continuously tracks indoor air quality, absorbs contaminated particles and cleans a building’s inside environment, instead of sucking a new one from the outside.

This system is self-control. Thanks to sensitive sensors, data analytics and advanced materials, the system automates indoor air management, decides when it should run in absorption, regeneration, or simply standby mode, and preserves consistent air quality with optimal energy consumption.

What’s so special about it?

enVerid was built in the best tradition of IoT technology. It use sensors, collects and analyzes real-time data, and operates automatically in an on demand mode.

HLR uses self-monitoring to activate maintenance and sorbent regeneration and reports on its state and operation to engineers and building managers, if needed. In other words, it’s an autonomous air-purifying system that makes its own decisions when and how to clean both the air and itself.


These are 10 outstanding IoT solutions in cleantech focused on creating a more sustainable and safe environment. The role of mature and newly born companies in this field is expanding, as the world speeds up it’s shift to connected cities, buildings, vehicles, homes and consumer products and transits to clean renewable energy. Thus, we can expect more outstanding solutions, innovative concepts and big names to show up in the field.  

Katherine Lazarevich
Katherine Lazarevich
Katherine is a co-founder and managing partner of Digiteum, digital technology agency. Passionate about innovation and high-end technology, Kate shares her opinion, knowledge and experience on an array of topics, including the Internet of Things, ...
Katherine is a co-founder and managing partner of Digiteum, digital technology agency. Passionate about innovation and high-end technology, Kate shares her opinion, knowledge and experience on an array of topics, including the Internet of Things, ...