Digitally-driven operations enhance industrial sustainability and performance
As we look back to Earth Day 2022, and cap a month of focus on our planet, I am reminded of the COP26 collaboration ambitions and the clear message that industry has a critical, active role to play in in advancing action on climate change. Digital technologies and real-time networks will be key enablers — and businesses stand to gain significantly as they adopt them.
“There is no green without digital,” is a pivotal statement from our Nokia CEO Pekka Lundmark. Connected, digital solutions are making it easier for companies to monitor and manage emissions, control power consumption and optimize and retool their operations, all of which have a direct impact on bottom-line performance. Accenture’s Business Futures 2021 report found that companies with strong environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) ratings report 3.7 times higher operating margins and 2.6 times higher shareholder returns than those with lower ESG scores.
By giving greater visibility into overall operations, digital technologies can boost safety, productivity and efficiency in physical industries such as mining, manufacturing and oil and gas, according to Nokia Bell Labs Consulting. This requires critical connectivity at the operational foundation — as a catalyst for automation, efficiency, agility and new applications and as a tool for measuring sustainability performance across the operation.
Connected operations for a renewable future
The energy sector is a great case study showing how digitalization and sustainability go hand in hand. “Advancements in digital technology… promise to boost efficiency and drive costs down across both conventional and renewable energy value chains,” according to Deloitte’s recent report on The 2030 Decarbonation Challenge.
Equinor, one of the most forward-looking energy companies in the world, is working with Nokia and systems integrator NetNordic to deploy private LTE network technology at two UK windfarms. The project will give Equinor reliable, secure, high-capacity connectivity to support greater collaboration among teams involved in renewable energy production.
Deployments like these are key because renewables are essential both to the long-term sustainability of the energy sector and also to achieving global climate goals. No wonder, then, that renewable energy sources are on track to account for 70% of total new power generation capacity by the end of 2021, according to the International Energy Agency.
Since renewable sources are often located in offshore or remote environments, connectivity is critical: the network is a lifeline and a platform for ensuring optimum performance, safety, security and crew quality of life.
Private LTE (4.9G) and 5G are the best, most affordable and most resilient technologies for reaching across these remote and challenging environments. Nokia has been working with network operator nCentric since 2018 to prove that, expanding the company's North Sea network, delivering secure, reliable 5G-ready broadband coverage to 14 wind farms in the Belgian North Sea and Dutch waters.
Digitalization brings sustainability advantages for any sector
Any industry with “moving parts” or distributed assets can become more profitable, innovative, competitive and climate-friendly by adopting digital technologies like AI, automation and advanced networks. In mining, transportation and logistics, for example, digitalized port systems and improved automation can help minimize the idling of ships offshore, protecting coastal environments. As outlined in Forbes, the combination of digital technologies and AI can give companies in the sector near-term gains in operational optimization and safety for more efficient trips and greater fuel efficiency.
At the foundation of all of these efforts is infrastructure that helps people, machines and systems act together — a strong network of pervasive high-bandwidth connectivity and intelligence for the Industry 4.0 era. Nokia is committed to helping companies build agile, connected industrial campuses and field environments that meet their Industry 4.0 visions and advance their business and sustainability goals at the same time — a real win for everyone.