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Connected Cars: Putting Green Businesses Into The Fast Lane

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Every day more than a billion cars take to the roads, contributing to rising congestion and carbon emissions. However, innovations in connected car technology are fueling more positive attitudes towards eco-informed design practices across the transport sector, potentially revolutionizing the way we drive.  By Alexander Nicholson, MD & co-founder of Autotrip

The fact is, although talk of ‘smart’ cars is usually reserved for glamorous topics such as driverless vehicles and big names such as Google or Jaguar LandRover, developments are far more extensive. Autonomous vehicles, whilst exciting, are a very small segment within a rapidly growing industry loosely known as ‘the Internet of Cars’.

Built on cloud computing and networks of data-gathering sensors, connected vehicles involve increased machine-to-machine communication. As an industry, it is now worth an estimated €40bn, and projected to increase to €122.61bn by 2021.

Given this projected boom, it is not surprising that connected cars represent the most visible part of the wider Internet of Things.

From Bluetooth connections for our phones and music players, to in built GPRS and automated traffic updates, we take for granted many of the upgrades car manufacturers and technologists create. They make our journeys smoother, safer, and more efficient, and they’ve been synching with our various technologies for almost a decade.

Moreover, many vehicles now feature over 100 million lines of programming code and can process up to 30 gigabytes of data every hour. As such, cars are now creating as much digital activity as twenty personal computers.

The data being generated by cars is putting sustainability in the fast lane.

Technology for our cars is at a point where it not only improves driver comfort and road safety but also makes our journeys more efficient, alleviates congestion, and reduces carbon emissions. Through consuming, creating, supplementing, directing and sharing digital information, our internet-supported cars are accelerating the way towards a greener transport ecosystem.

Applying connected technology to our cars also allows for significant economic productivity gains. For example, at AutoTrip, we’re involved in the digitalisation and streamlining of mileage data reporting. This tackles the problem of unreliable mileage information. On the surface it might seem innocuous but then look at the figures: an estimated 20-40 per cent of mileage data is inaccurate and delayed, posing a significant problem to company bottom lines and to potential emission calculations. By harnessing that data, turning it into a useful tool in the business arsenal, it’s possible to run greener fleets with greater accuracy.

If this information teaches us anything, it is that we need not rely solely upon a transition to electric cars to improve automotive emission rates. Instead, the Internet of Cars represents another  way technology is helping with cutting costs, saving on fuel and reducing carbon footprints.

Amidst the global attention on climate change with world leaders, in politics, and the private sector, finally unifying in their aims to meet the goals laid out at COP21, the technical potential of the Internet of Cars is one the world cannot afford to ignore. Mechanisation and automation may be accountable for the rise in atmospheric carbon levels, but now that same technology can also provide part of the solution and help reverse global warming.

In a world where convenience is key and financial benefit is a must for consumer engagement, it may be that the connective cars sector is on to a winner. Not only is the technology user friendly but it also promises to save time and money. It is likely to make it easier to engage corporate leaders. This is a chance to do good for people, planet and profit. Through connected solutions they can finally have their cake and eat it, all the while driving the way for a greener future.

About Alexander Nicholson: Alexander Nicholson, an expert on developing and commercialising technologies in the Internet of Things, is the co-founder and MD of AutoTrip.

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Economy

A Good Look At How Homes Will Become More Energy Efficient Soon

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energy efficient homes

Everyone always talks about ways they can save energy at home, but the tactics are old school. They’re only tweaking the way they do things at the moment. Sealing holes in your home isn’t exactly the next scientific breakthrough we’ve been waiting for.

There is some good news because technology is progressing quickly. Some tactics might not be brand new, but they’re becoming more popular. Here are a few things you should expect to see in homes all around the country within a few years.

1. The Rise Of Smart Windows

When you look at a window right now it’s just a pane of glass. In the future they’ll be controlled by microprocessors and sensors. They’ll change depending on the specific weather conditions directly outside.

If the sun disappears the shade will automatically adjust to let in more light. The exact opposite will happen when it’s sunny. These energy efficient windows will save everyone a huge amount of money.

2. A Better Way To Cool Roofs

If you wanted to cool a roof down today you would coat it with a material full of specialized pigments. This would allow roofs to deflect the sun and they’d absorb less heat in the process too.

Soon we’ll see the same thing being done, but it will be four times more effective. Roofs will never get too hot again. Anyone with a large roof is going to see a sharp decrease in their energy bills.

3. Low-E Windows Taking Over

It’s a mystery why these aren’t already extremely popular, but things are starting to change. Read low-E window replacement reviews and you’ll see everyone loves them because they’re extremely effective.

They’ll keep heat outside in summer or inside in winter. People don’t even have to buy new windows to enjoy the technology. All they’ll need is a low-E film to place over their current ones.

4. Magnets Will Cool Fridges

Refrigerators haven’t changed much in a very long time. They’re still using a vapor compression process that wastes energy while harming the environment. It won’t be long until they’ll be cooled using magnets instead.

The magnetocaloric effect is going to revolutionize cold food storage. The fluid these fridges are going to use will be water-based, which means the environment can rest easy and energy bills will drop.

5. Improving Our Current LEDs

Everyone who spent a lot of money on energy must have been very happy when LEDs became mainstream. Incandescent light bulbs belong in museums today because the new tech cut costs by up to 85 percent.

That doesn’t mean someone isn’t always trying to improve on an already great invention. The amount of lumens LEDs produce per watt isn’t great, but we’ve already found a way to increase it by 25 percent.

Maybe Homes Will Look Different Too

Do you think we’ll come up with new styles of homes that will take off? Surely it’s not out of the question. Everything inside homes seems to be changing for the better with each passing year. It’s going to continue doing so thanks to amazing inventors.

ShutterStock – Stock photo ID: 613912244

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Economy

IEMA Urge Government’s Industrial Strategy Skills Overhaul To Adopt A “Long View Approach”

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IEMA, in response to the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, have welcomed the focus on technical skills and education to boost “competence and capability” of tomorrow’s workforce.

Policy experts at the world’s leading professional association of Environment and Sustainability professionals has today welcomed Prime Minister Teresa May’s confirmation that an overhaul of technical education and skills will form a central part of the Plan for Britain – but warns the strategy must be one for the long term.

Martin Baxter, Chief Policy Advisor at IEMA said this morning that the approach and predicted investment in building a stronger technical skills portfolio to boost the UK’s productivity and economic resilience is positive, and presents an opportunity to drive the UK’s skills profile and commitment to sustainability outside of the EU.

Commenting on the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, Baxter said today:

“Government must use the Industrial Strategy as an opportunity to accelerate the UK’s transition to a low-carbon, resource efficient economy – one that is flexible and agile and which gives a progressive outlook for the UK’s future outside the EU.

We welcome the focus on skills and education, as it is vital that tomorrow’s workforce has the competence and capability to innovate and compete globally in high-value manufacturing and leading technology.

There is a real opportunity with the Industrial Strategy, and forthcoming 25 year Environment Plan and Carbon Emissions Reduction Plan, to set long-term economic and environmental outcomes which set the conditions to unlock investment, enhance natural capital and provide employment and export opportunities for UK business.

We will ensure that the Environment and Sustainability profession makes a positive contribution in responding to the Green Paper.”

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