It was the great muppet philosopher Kermit the Frog who first proclaimed in 1970 that "it's not easy bein' green." While that may have been true decades ago, with the swipe of a screen to control your thermostat or the automatic rerouting of delivery vehicles to avoid traffic and save gas, wireless innovation is making a fibber out of one of America's most beloved environmental icons.
Today, mobile technologies empower all of us--from small households to large businesses--to make little changes that add up to big savings for our environment and our wallets. Consider this one fact: Just a one percent increase in efficiency from the mobile-fueled Internet of Things can save up to $15 trillion by 2030--almost the equivalent of adding another USA to the global economy.
Mobile Future's new graphic white paper It's Easy Being Green with Wireless Tech highlights how wireless innovation is helping reduce carbon emissions while boosting the bottom line. It also shines a spotlight on the growing universe of wirelessly connected tools. As the Federal Communications Commission puts the finishing touches on rules to govern the auction of new spectrum capacity, the report brings to life real-world examples of the growth from 35 million mobile connected devices today to more than 271 million by 2018.
Buildings consume more than 70 percent of U.S. electricity. To combat that massive energy drain, smart buildings armed with wireless sensors that manage temperature, light and water are generating energy savings of up to 15% annually. Clearly a wave of the near future, smart buildings will be home to more than 100 million wireless sensors by 2019. Las Vegas' Aria Hotel is leading the charge, boasting 70,000 wireless sensors and in-room tablets that allow guests to control everything-including their climate. On the home front, simply programming your thermostat properly with help from mobile can save 20 percent in heating and cooling costs.
While those wireless sensors are minimizing energy use, they do require electricity. Fortunately, smart grids nationwide are adopting mobile technologies to improve the efficiency, reliability and security of electricity distribution. And those smart grids can lead to smart savings while drastically reducing our carbon footprint. Just a four percent reduction in electricity usage thanks to smart grids can save U.S. consumers and businesses $20.4 billion by 2030. Meanwhile, if every one of the 117 million U.S. households used smart grid capabilities, carbon emissions would be reduced by the equivalent of 117 million tanks of gas for a full-size truck--each year.
Smart fleets, including planes, trains and automobiles, rely heavily on mobile innovations to reduce emissions and boost bottom lines. Optimizing transportation routes with mobile technologies can prevent up to 80 million tons of CO2 emissions. That's the equivalent of taking 22 coal plants offline. And mobile routing technology means transportation fleets see emission reductions and significant fuel savings. In 2012, mobile routing helped UPS save 206 million minutes of idling time and more than 1.5 million gallons of fuel. On the consumer level, the rising popularity of mobile-enabled car-sharing businesses like Car2Go is adding up to big savings for our planet. Up to 13 cars are taken off the road for every one car-sharing vehicle.
We'll always love Kermit. But with the mobile technology now at our fingertips, it's time for the frog to update his shtick.
Mobile Future Chair Jonathan Spalter, a technology executive and former senior federal government national security official, leads a coalition of technology companies/stakeholders dedicated to increasing investment and innovation in the burgeoning U.S. wireless sector.