Understanding supply chain to optimise net-zero

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Organisations need to use to data and the Internet of Things (IoT) within their supply chains to understand where the weak links are in terms of emissions so they can get to net zero.

Frank Zeichner, CEO at the Internet of Things Alliance Australia spoke to Digital Nation about how organisations can use IoT sensors and data to reach their net zero goals.

“Unless we understand both consumption right through the value chain, as well as the generation, we can't work out how to optimise, we can't learn where the best place to get to net zero makes sense and can't work out where we might be trading offsets,” he said.

“We need the data through the supply chain and we often have in the more advanced industries, some real time data in the production. But we have very little information, real time information around the consumption side, certainly at the consumer level, but even at the business level, we don't.”

Zeichner explained due to the lack of information businesses have to retrospectively decide how much they spend rather than make real-time decisions.

“There is a lot of work to be done to have a real time way of doing that and even more before we can get to a real time trading scheme that might allow it to accelerate even faster,” he added.

Before implementing IoT systems, organisations still need time to digitally mature, Zeichner explained.

“That's not to say they're not digitally smart, they just don't understand IoT and open systems. Many understand supervisory control and data acquisition understand (SCADA) brilliantly, [which are] closed systems where they're not sharing data and it's completely controlled and managed,” he said.

“But in this open IoT where there are no new security risks, where there are new vendors and service providers that you didn't know before, that maturity is not there yet.”

Zeichner said the conversations need to go faster, “We need interoperability questions to be solved much better, so people don't feel locked in. There's a lot of work to be done to get to the maturity that we really need to be at.”

There also needs to be more cooperation between enterprises which in turn helps education and digital maturity within these organisations.

“The way that we can move quicker is by collaborating more by talking more by crossing over more. It also helps governments take leadership positions, set targets that focuses people a lot better so that will help,” he said.

“But in the end at the grassroots, it's simply companies talking to one another and us helping people understand what works. What are the case studies that work? What are the interoperability principles that you need to apply? Who can you trust? Those are the things that we need to move on quickly.”

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