Broadband for a sustainable environment
Agriculture accounts for more than seventy percent of total fresh water consumption. Water use efficiency in the industry is often less than fifty percent. A changing climate and increasing competition for fresh water are stressing water supplies globally and limiting the scope for further expansion of agriculture to meet growing food production requirements. This situation is threatening the economic viability of many agricultural regions both in Australia and around the globe. It is a national imperative to develop solutions that will sustain this vital industry in the future.
Improving water use efficiency through better irrigation practices is one method for coping with these challenges. Costs associated with capital outlays and engineering complexity are barriers to widespread adoption of efficient irrigation technologies. This paper presents a platform that leverages broadband communication networks to reduce these barriers to technology adoption and thereby vastly improve water use efficiency in agriculture. Results from recent field trials are presented that demonstrate increases in water productivity in dairy pasture and horticultural production.
The impending mass electrification of road transport, driven by concerns for climate change and sustainability, enables an opportunity to substantially reduce greenhouse emissions from passenger vehicles and to simultaneously provide services to the electricity grid. Electricity grids are characterised by a lack of storage capacity, which can be provided by grid connected electric vehicles charging and discharging their batteries under centralised control. This paper argues that the Vehicle to Grid (V2G) methodology offers operational, financial and sustainability synergies between vehicles and electricity grids. Broadband communications is an essential service to facilitate the aggregation, distributed control and metering of V2G services.
Advances in mobile access broadband technology have a high potential to improve environmental sustainability both directly by enabling novel network deployment concepts and indirectly by changing the way people live and work. In this paper, improvements of the network topology enabled by ubiquitous broadband access are investigated. It is shown that a joint deployment of macro- and publicly accessible residential picocells can reduce the total energy consumption by up to 70% in urban areas. In addition the high potential of indirect effects of improving telecommunication networks, such as enabling teleworking and replacing business travel through video conferencing, is demonstrated and compared with the direct effects.
From: Telecommunications Journal of Australia, Volume 59, No. 1, February 2009
ps: The Eckermann-TJA award was set up by my colleague Robin Eckermann, Principal, Eckermann & Associates and Adjunct Professor, School of Information Sciences and Engineering, University of Canberra.