A study commissioned by the International Energy Agency and conducted by Prof. Alexander Klapproth's iHome Lab at the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences made a sobering determination: The internet of things is a power guzzler! Instead of saving energy, that light switch that today does not use any power when connected to the internet uses a lot of power.
The study found that today, the about 10 billion IoT devices deployed worldwide suck up 10 TWh of electricity. By 2025, they project a total energy waste of 46 TWh. 78% or 36 TWh will be wasted by home automation devices, followed by connected home appliances with 15% or 7 TWh, and smart lighting with 7% or 3 TWh.
The main culprit is the power supply, which wastes more energy than the internet control device itself. The latter also uses too much power because inappropriate communication technologies are used.
Fortunately, energy-saving technologies already exist, as proven by smartphones, laptop computers, and other personal digital assistants. All the IoT vendors have to do, is to hire engineers with expertise in power management.
M. Friedli, L. Kaufmann, F. Paganini, and R. Kyburz. Energy efficiency of the internet of things. Technology and energy assessment report prepared for IEA 4E EDNA, iHomeLab, Lucerne University of Applied Sciences, Switzerland, April 2016.