Information Systems for Environmental Sustainability

IT, Resource Productivity, Environmental Preservation, and the Fourth Industrial Revolution

NY Times on Smart Infrastructure

1 Comment

Today’s Times has a nice piece about IS for sustainability:

In the mid-1990s, the Internet took off because its technological time had come. Years of steady progress in developing more powerful and less expensive computers, Web software and faster communications links finally came together.

A similar pattern is emerging today, experts say, for what is being called smart infrastructure — more efficient and environmentally friendlier systems for managing, among other things, commuter traffic, food distribution, electric grids and waterways. This time, the crucial technological ingredients include low-cost sensors and clever software for analytics and visualization, as well as computing firepower.

Good coverage, but seemed too IBM-centric. Inclusion of other applications like Google Power Meter or UbiGreen would have made this sexier to readers rounded out the perspective.


Author: nigelpm

Associate Professor of Information Systems, Stephen M. Ross School of Business, University of Michigan - Helping organizations to navigate digital transformation.

One thought on “NY Times on Smart Infrastructure

  1. The biggest IT solution the NYT has not covered is Automated Rapid Transit. Vast energy savings will be gained when high-speed smaller more efficient rail trams proliferate, for both national and local travel, up to 150 mph.
    Public transit’s main weakness is that huge/heavy vehicles were needed to maximize passenger to driver ratio. (also stopping to load and unload other passengers at each corner kept transit slow)
    Automated trams systems will be much lower cost because ultra-light rail trams do not need heavy/costly infrastructure. IT transit will also be much faster than driving, because passengers will usually be matched with a tram going to their exact destination with minimum. IT will also make it possible for private and cargo vehicles to share the grade-separated rails with transit, and rail transportation is vastly more efficient than road and tire-based vehicles. With IT, colisons will be unheard of.
    These improvements mean that some new trams systems will actually power themselves produce EXTRA electricity simply from solar panels on the guideway/ROW.

    But automated transit has been floundering IN THE U.S. because federal leadership/approval is required. The single-most practical technology,, was created with U.S. sponsorship but privatized and abandoned after 2000. Private investment is warranted, but without news coverage and more govt. encouragement, foreign nations/companies are now trying to take the lead in automated transit.

    Meanwhile, much of the stimulus is being wasted on outdated inefficient infrastructure projects that will cost our environment and economy, and slow the adoption of automated transit that is needed to end oil-dependency, and the ONLY realistic way to cut the the transportation component of GW. This is why the U.S. made the design of automated trams a priority over a decade ago.

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