Can technologies like AI help societies and businesses solve sustainability challenges? One thing is clear: without data, there will be no intelligent solutions. Data is really the key, something that the speakers at AI for Good Snapshot at Epicenter in Stockholm all agreed on.
How can a 300 year old company lead in an industry revolution? Well, if these centuries have been filled with non-stop adaptations, then innovation power is in the very DNA, according to Anders Johanson, SVP Innovation and Technology, CTO, Husqvarna Group. Now, the industry revolution, driven by the shift from petrol to battery, mechanics to digital/AI and manual to autonomous operations, calls for new ways to lead.
What to do then? Sustainovate, both for the sake of business and for the planet. As sustainability is no longer an option, you simply need to evolve your business model around sustainability. Among other things, Husqvarna Group is dedicated to breaking the bond between CO2 emissions and growth. By 2035, the company wants to reduce CO2 emissions by 33%. To succeed, robotics and AI become more important, as well as access to data and smart analysis. A few years ago, Husqvarna Group established its own AI lab to accelerate change.
A flexible energy system
Processing data from connected pieces is an absolute game changer, says Per Edoff, CDO, Fortum. The energy company has a vision about a cleaner world by reshaping the energy system, improving resource efficiency and providing smart solutions. To Fortum, AI-driven district heating plays an important role in solving the climate challenge and holds a great potential to reduce emissions.
As the energy production goes from centralized to decentralized, with scattered resources such as solar and wind, there’s a need for increased flexibility both when it comes to producers and consumers. It’s about utilizing electricity, storing heat and maintaining energy system balance. In the future, consumers will not only use energy but also have to produce energy.
The SmartLiving pilot project in Stockholm addresses energy management. Here, energy consumption is monitored in real time: water, heat and electricity of the whole building, but also in each apartment. This makes it possible to, for example, do the laundry off peak time.
Maja Brisvall, CEO and founder at the non-profit organization Quantified Planet, encourages as all to become data philanthropists. Why? To build a new AI-based intelligence, huge volumes of open data are needed. The power of that data will then contribute to a sustainable, resilient planet for the benefit of humanity.
One way to participate in doing that, is via Quantified Planet’s platform. Here, data about air, temperature, light and rainwater, are fed in from people, cities and companies. The backend system makes that data available in APIs, accessible to data scientists, R&D departments, visionaries and decision makers to explore in an open ecosystem. An example of an ongoing project is The Heat Project, where mobiles, houses and satellites feed in hyper local temperature data to the system, so called fast-moving data sets.
Where should you start your own AI/sustainibility journey then? According to Maja Brisvall, you should focus on data and collaboration first – then the business model will follow.