Technology trends

Top Trends in Technology, Media and Telecommunications: Technology Trends

The technology sector is a key player in the environmental, social and governance (ESG) value chain, as a source of emissions as energy consumption increases, and also as a key driver of effectiveness and ESG policies through the various services and solutions they provide. .

Below are the top technology trends impacting ESG performance, as identified by GlobalData.

Internet of Things (IoT)

The IoT will be a billion-dollar industry by 2024, thanks to the rapid growth in the number of connected devices in enterprise and consumer markets. Technology companies are using IoT in their factories and data centers to operate with much greater efficiency and flexibility, allowing them to continuously monitor energy and water consumption.

While the IoT can meet a range of sustainability goals for technology companies, the manufacturing of connected devices creates its own environmental issues, such as generating large amounts of e-waste, especially in the consumer market. consumption. Regulators are increasingly being asked to bring greater transparency to environmental audits in order to reduce levels of greenwashing.

Data analysis

Advanced data analytics allows companies to monitor their operations in real time and thus improve operational efficiency, including the impact on environmental factors such as reduced idle inventory and excessive energy consumption and of water. Analytics combined with new technologies, such as augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and others, can help reduce the environmental impact of businesses in all sectors.

Several IT service providers now offer broader sustainability services that can help companies measure and report on strategies and roadmaps to track and measure sustainability initiatives. Atos, for example, offers a range of digital solutions that aim to help decarbonize business processes, while Capgemini is pushing artificial intelligence (AI) and analytics to help companies optimize energy consumption. energy and logistics operations.

cloud computing

The growth of hyperscale cloud data centers reflects the continued move away from on-premises enterprise data centers as computing resources move to the cloud. Multi-tenant data centers with shared infrastructure and resources help maximize operational and energy efficiency.

Exponential growth in data volumes and the shift to cloud trends, further spurred by Covid-19, raise questions about the limits of efforts to increase energy efficiency, even as giants like Amazon, Google and Microsoft focus on the production of renewable energy. With the increase in monitoring, detailed information on energy consumption and associated emissions will be a prerequisite for companies in this field, as well as for their major customers.

Lithium ion batteries

Lithium-ion batteries power most electronic devices today and are increasingly becoming a vital resource for electric vehicles and power grids. Although ubiquitous, lithium batteries are a significant environmental concern. This is because lithium is a scarce natural resource and the huge amount of water needed to extract it and the damage to areas around the mines is enormous. In addition, the unsustainable working conditions of the workforce are a cause for concern.

Technology companies must act responsibly with respect to the environmental and social factors associated with lithium mining. This would require stronger governance policies. Those who pioneer sustainable lithium mining will be better positioned in the eyes of investors, regulators and customers.

5G

5G adoption is increasing across the globe, with carriers investing large sums to deploy the new networks and provide additional capacity to carry the massive amounts of data consumed by 5G devices. Operators have been keen to emphasize the power and data efficiency of 5G networks, at least compared to previous generations such as 4G.

However, 5G networks represent additional network builds, adding to the environmental footprint of existing networks. Faster networks and more advanced devices will power more data-intensive applications, such as video streaming and gaming, requiring additional network investments over time. Operators will be subject to continuous review of how they manage ESG impacts, from e-waste to energy consumption.

Software Defined Everything (SDE)

Software-defined networking (SDN) and the related trend toward SDEs have significant implications for security and broader ESG issues. The software-defined architecture helps automate virtual security measures for networks and data centers.

In an SDE scenario, security features such as firewalls and intrusion detection are decoupled from proprietary hardware. This allows network operations or data center administrators to update and manage security from a central point using software tools.

Where compliance with local regulations is a factor, such as the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), appropriate security protocols, such as encryption and read-only access, can be applied specifically to appropriate sensitive data, as required.

This is an edited excerpt from ESG – Main trends by sector – Thematic research report produced by GlobalData Thematic Research.