When deploying an Internet of Things (IoT) strategy, it is important to consider the longevity of the network as well as the longevity of the devices that will be attached to said network. The benefit of the IoT lies in its relatively low device costs, but this benefit can be all but negated when the device needs regular servicing or replacement.
Avoiding an expensive service truck roll is paramount, especially when it is just to change out a device battery. Low-power networks typically serve devices which are battery powered, and ideally, these devices should remain operational for years, even decades without the need for attention.
Changing IoT device batteries can harm profitability, but it can be even more harmful to the environment.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), each year Americans throw away more than three billion batteries, which equates to about 180,000 tons of waste. While modern batteries do not contain the same harmful properties of their predecessors, choosing to recycle these batteries is still a better choice as they can take decades to break down in a landfill.
Although the U.S. is a leader in IoT device adoption, it lags far behind other countries in battery recycling initiatives. It is estimated that European countries such as Switzerland, Belgium and Sweden recycle more than 50% of all batteries, while the United States is in the low double digits for battery recycling, despite the prevalence of clean initiatives throughout the nation.
Aside from changing habits, we should look at changing consumption. As advances in battery life technology continue to progress, devices can utilize fewer and fewer batteries throughout their lifetimes. Additionally, designing an IoT network to effectively transmit data at very low power can also help extend battery life. So, when implementing an Internet of Things strategy, remember that the battery is one of the most important “things” that should be considered.
For more discussion on this topic, download our white paper, The Six Secrets to Extremely Long Battery Life.