As another year goes by with the planet still under threat of any number of environmental disasters, Microsoft is looking to the future to see just what's in store for green technology in 2017. Rob Bernard, Microsoft's chief environmental strategist, wrote up four predictions that we can all expect to come to fruition next year.
- IoT and Cloud Computing will begin to transform utility energy management
As the strain on the Earth's resources gets heavier, so too does the world's need to manage data. Many people are embracing digital infrastructure in the Internet of Things to manage things like electric vehicles and solar panels, so Microsoft thinks that cloud computing and IoT are going to be two big influences on green energy next year.
- Water will begin to emerge as the next critical world-scale environmental challenge
As acidification, pollution, and a warmer climate cause water scarcity, the next big environmental problem makes itself evident. If things keep going the way they are, people's food, water, and livelihoods could all be in serious risk. Bernard notes that the Great Barrier Reef is already showing signs of what the consequences of this water problem could be.
- Data will increasingly be used to try to better understand our planet
In typical Microsoft fashion, Bernard believes that data will be the answer to our problems in 2017. More accurately, the companies that are all putting effort into truly understanding the numbers behind their environmental impacts will be able to help move change forward. As more data becomes available, it's more likely that we'll see that data be put to use proactively.
- Organizations and policy makers will start leveraging cloud-based technologies
If we're going to protect the environment, we need to use technology to do it. The problems we've caused are too massive for us to handle without the assistance of cloud-based technologies that can collect and utilize the data we need. Bernard thinks that, while it will take many years to truly take hold, 2017 will have people finally start to embrace technologies like machine learning when they approach environmental issues.
The environment is in serious danger, and it's great to see giants like Microsoft be willing to help lead the change to a more green future. We'll have to keep a keen eye out for the goings-on in the environmental scene next year to see just how accurate Bernard's predictions ended up being. Let's just hope that, whatever changes next year, it's for the better.