Video technologies are often associated with the idea of security, leaving little to the imagination of what can be done beyond that space. In fact, one might never think it could have a part to play in sustainable strategies. However, that is set to change — with the advent of data analytics, AI and IoT — you would be surprised how much value video can add to ongoing conversations surrounding sustainability and the environment. A common misconception is that sustainability initiatives require dramatic overhauls of existing solutions and adopting costly, cutting-edge alternatives instead. In fact, smart video technologies can provide sweet reprieve — proving both easy and affordable to implement, while providing effective results.

Environmental conservation

Firstly, video technology can be effectively utilised to impact environmental conservation efforts. Beyond enabling the forecasting of weather, observation of coastal patterns and pollution tracking, video networking solutions have proven particularly useful in observing surroundings too delicate or dangerous for humans to monitor. Halfway around the world, this can already be seen with video technology used to track polar bear movements in Canada, which helps them maintain a safe distance from nearby cities.

Closer to home, an Australian rainforest observatory had sought to study an osprey’s nest, which was perched atop the forest canopy. To enable researchers to observe the birds and happenings surrounding the nest, researchers mounted cameras in precarious positions, which then provided remote and round-the-clock tracking on a consolidated video management platform. With these intuitive video management systems, researchers were also able to quickly download and monitor the osprey camera output from various remote research facilities.

In Singapore, this could be applied in a similar capacity, aiding the research and conservation of endangered local wildlife, or even the inspection of trees. And it’s not just stationary camera systems that provide this support; video drones also present an exciting option in enabling real-time visibility over wide expanses of land or water. Singapore’s NParks, for instance, is currently exploring drone use as part of its smart roadmap to improve efficiency in its environmental conservation and management efforts. The Forest Fire Detection and Monitoring Systems prototype will see an installation of cameras in forested areas to enable continuous, real-time monitoring and the early detection (and prevention) of forest fires.

Corporate sustainability

Beyond equipping organisations in their efforts to save the environment, video technologies, such as video analytics, can play a crucial role in sustainability strategies today – these include monitoring energy consumption and wastage and even suggesting ways in which energy-saving technologies may be applied. Such reduced energy emissions can directly correspond with significant savings in energy spend.

Video can empower everyday businesses to adopt sustainable business practices. Research continues to prove that doing one’s part for the environment and prioritizing profitability do not have to be mutually exclusive — Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat had recently advocated on embracing sustainability in corporate mandates, as they actually do make ‘good business sense’. Furthermore, as Singapore realises its Smart Nation ideals, smart building solutions become increasingly pertinent considerations for business leaders. With a plethora of smart building management solutions in the market, video stands out as a multi-faceted tool that goes beyond security to provide smart metrics for intelligent workplace management.

For starters, having an AI-powered camera network within offices provides operations managers with data on key areas of traffic and footfall. This then translates to actionable insight on how office spaces and resources can be used to maximise work productivity. With IoT-backed capabilities, organisations will be able to monitor and act on common areas that are at capacity or when shared resources need to be replenished. Furthermore, these solutions can automate the adjustment of air conditioning and ventilation systems based on how populated spaces are, as well as adjust lighting requirements based on how much natural light enters the office.

Think about that for a second — simply consider the office lights, air-conditioning and digital appliances left on and charging throughout the night. This can account for a hefty percentage of your average business’ energy bills; money that could then be rechanneled into the business.

Although Singapore firms are well ahead of other countries in their smart building implementations, a simple way to effectively boost corporate sustainability efforts may lie in greater adoption of intelligent energy solutions such as these. In short, it remains a win-win situation.

Adopting video technology solutions empowers organisations to better identify opportunities to embrace sustainable business efforts, circumvent existing problem areas in wastage management and save operational costs in the long run; exemplifying how businesses can do their part for the environment, while ensuring profitability.

In a time where the technology space is saturated and existing solutions are constantly drowned out by emerging ones each day, it remains evident that there continues to be plenty of applications of video technology in enhancing our lives and environment.

There remains much more that Singapore can do for sustainability and leveraging video solutions can serve to further propel those efforts. So perhaps what sustainability requires isn’t necessarily a redo, as much as it is a rethinking and resolve in our approach. Innovation gives us a leg up in tackling today’s increasingly complex challenges, but a simple solution can already be found in video technologies.