Saranjit Singh, VP Telecommunications and Utilities APAC, SS&C Blue Prism discusses whether net zero by 2050 is achievable, or nothing but a pipe dream
The issue of climate change is one which we can no longer ignore, with it now becoming the defining crisis of our time. It is one which can lead to many being left with feelings of hopelessness and vulnerability. However, due to recent developments and initiatives, certain industries, with the inclusion of public sector authorities, now have the power to assist with the change. It is only with joint effort and commitment that we can combat this crisis, and emissions can be reduced. Companies who commit and work towards meeting their net zero targets will be most significant in changing our futures and improving the current climate crisis.
The defining crisis of our time
Following the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos earlier this year, it was confirmed that digital technologies, such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and automation – scaled across industries – have the power to accelerate decarbonisation efforts and can reduce emissions by up to 20%. While it is understandable that people are losing faith in the future and being impacted by eco-anxiety, these findings give us hope by uncovering how digital solutions could pave the way for achieving sustainable outcomes that align with net zero targets. In fact, if scaled, digital solutions could be most effective at reducing emissions in the three highest emitting sectors – energy, materials and mobility.
But to make this possibility a reality, high-emitting industry sectors must rethink their strategies to leverage efficiency, circularity and sustainability.
The valuable power of digital solutions
According to estimates from the World Economic Forum, the energy sector can reduce carbon-intensive operations, and in turn emissions, by 8% when supported by digital solutions. Utilities suppliers must develop better methods for estimating how much energy is required to successfully transition to more renewable energy sources and make better use of resources. This includes systems, staff and partners and will also fill gaps with renewables.
Machine learning is one method which can anticipate energy outputs and demands through its data analysis. These forecasts can then help industries to implement strategies for climate change efficiently, whilst reducing inefficiencies as well as carbon emissions.
The benefits of these machine learning algorithms extend across industry verticals as they can be used in any business. This results in more accurate supply and demand forecasting, contributing to significant cuts in manufacturing and transportation waste with an improved level of understanding when it comes to what’s needed and when. Suggestions for low-carbon items can also drive ecologically responsible purchases by assisting with the optimisation of power usage and avoiding unnecessary waste and storage.
Intelligent automation (IA) solutions can also improve sustainability in vital industries, such as manufacturing, infrastructure and data centers. We’re seeing organisations reduce emissions by employing data automation and modeling to digitise and analyse processes and develop predictive maintenance and monitoring capabilities.
Although IA algorithms that anticipate energy consumption already exist, we think there is room for improvement to ensure they can keep up with the multiple sources of energy production today and the need to meet new and evolving regulatory and measurement requirements. Complex algorithmic features also need fine-tuning to be able to react to changing trends or behaviors, and to expand beyond the industrial level to cater to family and individual demands.
One-stop digital solutions such as IA not only boost efficiency and production, but they also enable the development of new procedures that reduce power consumption and harmful emissions, directly and immediately contributing to the fight against climate change.
How AI can support climate action through waste reduction
The power of artificial intelligence (AI) leads also to how it can support climate action, by reducing waste in all forms, whether this is financial, temporal or material. There is a problem, however, in how fragmented the approach to AI can be, even with firms that use a high level of automation. The result is transformation becoming stifled, wasting valuable time as well as staff resources. It also generates “technical debt”, a term which refers to the costs arising from organisational reworks. These are needed due to sub-optimal solutions being originally chosen for short-term and fast results.
There is a problem, however, in how fragmented the approach to AI can be
Organisations need to reimagine their existing strategies and use varied yet complementary technologies that work together, rather than in isolation, to maximise efficiency and reduce waste. AI-managed energy systems can then identify the appropriate amount of energy consumption needed at any one time. These insights support the fight against climate change by minimising energy waste, simplifying processes and maximising productivity by creating efficient and unified workflows.
Innovation-led climate action
The future ahead may be rife with daunting uncertainty, but there are still limitless opportunities to generate innovative technologies that drive forward climate goals. Only five years ago, a company’s intelligent automation objectives often outstripped the capabilities of available technology. The market hype around advanced technologies didn’t deliver the promised business results. Since then, automation technology has progressed significantly, as billions of dollars have been invested in research and development. The prioritisation of generating digital solutions in this sector, including the use of process analysis and predictive maintenance to reduce energy waste, has done much to accelerate the journey to reaching net zero by 2050.
The power of technology and science has been used to enhance the well-being of bees and other pollinators in a revolutionary project
AI-enhanced digital solutions can help businesses and individuals with the development of tools to help them understand their carbon footprint as well as show them steps to improve it. The potential of digital solutions becomes clear when looking at the example of the World Bee Project. Here, the power of technology and science has been used to enhance the well-being of bees and other pollinators in a revolutionary project. This has led to the creation of the world’s first global bee database, collecting data intelligence from monitored colonies around the world. Monitoring sensors are used to capture and combine data points, such as hive temperature, humidity, pollinator decline and deficiencies. The collection of this data then supervises the formation of solutions which help to maintain a thriving ecosystem.
As a way of preventing unnecessary damage caused by the climate crisis, as well as presenting a way towards achieving net zero by 2050, current digital solutions provide an answer. By continuing to use these, organisations who commit to such targets will be enabled to action these faster with a reduction in waste and simplified work processes. They will also contribute to a more sustainable and enjoyable future.
Written by Saranjit Singh, VP Telecommunications and Utilities APAC, SS&C Blue Prism. Saranjit works on managing business operations, intelligent business process automation, performance reporting and effective resource management at SS&C Blue Prism. Previously Saranjit worked for Telstra developing the strategy and business plans to grow SaaS solution sales.