The Little Book of Sustainability for the Internet of Things

Stead, Michael Robert and Coulton, Paul and Lindley, Joseph Galen and Coulton, Claire (2019) The Little Book of Sustainability for the Internet of Things. Imagination Lancaster, Lancaster. ISBN 9781862203600

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There are numerous loud and powerful voices promoting the Internet of Things (IoT) as a catalyst for changing many aspects of our lives for the better. Think healthcare, energy, transport, finance, entertainment and in the home – billions of everyday objects across all sorts of sectors are being connected to the Internet to generate data so that we can make quicker and more efficient decisions about many facets of our lives. But is this technological development completely benign? Despite all their positive potential, IoT devices are still being designed, manufactured and disposed of in the same manner that most other ‘non-connected’ consumer products have been for decades – unsustainably. Furthermore, little of the discourse around the IoT recognises or responds to this growing issue. We hope this Little Book will kickstart this important conversation and help those creating future IoT products and services to consider new approaches that have sustainability baked-in. Further, we propose the re-characterising of IoT objects as spimes1 to provide an alternative approach for enabling sustainable IoT device design. Spimes are a potential class of internet-connected objects which, unlike present day IoT devices, would be designed such that they can be managed sustainably throughout their entire lifecycle, from their initial design and production, to having their components recycled and reused at the end of their life.

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06 Feb 2019 09:30
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12 Sep 2023 03:46