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Martina Morawietz

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Digitization for sustainability - three examples

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Using environmentally friendly means of transport and extending the service life of machinery and plants. This is how companies achieve their climate goals. Sounds simple and is simple - thanks to digitization. 

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Technology helps companies achieve their climate goals. The Trendbook on sustainability gives examples. © iStock-1181366400

Sustainability has become an integral part of companies' strategic goals. Consumers, investors and analysts expect companies to have sustainable business models. Customers reward this with rising demand and punish shortcomings. Legislation in Germany and the EU is forcing action. "Sustainability is a strategic investment in a company's future readiness," emphasizes Bernhard Steimel, head of "Mind Digital," in the Trendbook Nachhaltigkeit mit Digitalisierung (Sustainability with Digitalization; Trendbook available in German only). This study, published by "Mind Digital" in cooperation with Deutsche Telekom, explains how companies can do business with digitization in a sustainable way. "Sustainability and digitization go hand in hand. Sustainability can be accelerated with responsible digitization, and both can be combined to open up new sources of value creation," says Steimel. Three examples.

Longer operating life of equipment through predictive maintenance

In Dresden, the U.S. semiconductor manufacturer Globalfoundries produces high-performance microchips for automotive manufacturers, manufacturing companies, IT and mobile phone service providers, and producers of consumer electronics. More than 1,000 process steps are required to manufacture the chips in so-called clean rooms. The control valves for ultra-pure water, an important supply medium in the production of semiconductors, play a central role in this process. While specialists used to inspect these valves on site, an IoT solution now checks the critical components. Here, sensors for acoustics, machine learning algorithms and a flexible cloud platform help detect damage at an early stage. Technicians only need to retrieve the data in an overview. Continuous monitoring of the valves' condition enables as-needed maintenance and thus minimizes costly control inspections. This increases the service life of the equipment and avoids unforeseen interruptions to production. In addition, the solution ensures higher yield and product quality. Fewer resources - including many specialty chemicals - are needed to produce a given quantity of the semiconductors' devices. 

Digital error detection saves costs, time and CO2

Customers of ZIEHL-ABEGG can easily monitor the operation and condition of their fans themselves in a very environmentally friendly way - for example for those in large factory buildings. ZIEHL-ABEGG, the specialist for ventilation and air-conditioning technology, has developed the "ZAbluegalaxy" platform together with Deutsche Telekom. In the past, when there were problems with a fan, technicians had to travel to the customer's site to find the problem in the system. Maintenance took place at closely timed intervals. This meant many kilometers on the road and CO2 emissions. Now ZIEHL-ABEGG's customers monitor their plants via a web browser - at any time, at the specific location, without having to travel. This is made possible by the ZAbluegalaxy platform, an Internet of Things (IoT) solution based on the Microsoft Azure Cloud. The systems, networked with sensors, send data on temperatures, vibrations or power consumption to an IoT gateway every second. This transmits the aggregated and encrypted information to the cloud. The information is stored, visualized and evaluated there. Customers can react more quickly in the event of errors and when threshold values are reached. This allows downtime to be reduced. Maintenance is carried out as required. This saves costs, time and CO2.

Achieving climate targets with employees

Concerning sustainability, companies want to take on more and more responsibility. They often have to rely on estimates when it comes to indirect emissions. This includes the CO2 balance of employee mobility. The EcoShift sustainability platform provides support with an app: After having selected the mode of transport, the app records employees' journeys. A distinction can be made between commuting and business trips. Employees receive a detailed, daily overview of their journey on their cell phones. This includes CO2 emissions, and, as an incentive to switch, a comparison of the CO2 emissions of other means of transport. The collected data is anonymized and, in compliance with data protection regulations, is transferred to the central platform. This gives companies an overview of their employees' mobility and a complete carbon footprint, including distinctions based on commuting, business trips or even company locations. They also receive suggestions for reducing CO2 emissions in order to avoid high compensation payments. The solution helps companies to actively manage CO2 emissions and achieve their climate targets. 

"Clean" supply chains are "trendy": benefits for companies

The growing awareness of sustainability in society and the requirements of regulation are accelerating the digital transformation of companies. This translates into benefits for them in euros and cents: 

  • Companies achieve their climate and business goals through lower CO2 emissions.
  • They achieve a better company evaluation. 
  • They open up new target groups, register more demand and have greater freedom in pricing. 
  • They have easier access to financing.
  • They retain committed employees in their company.

By the way: Deutsche Telekom's data center in Biere near Magdeburg is powered 100 percent by renewable energies. This also applies to the entire Deutsche Telekom network and Group-wide power consumption.

DL_Factsheet-GreenMagenta-EN

Factsheet "Climate protection at a glance"

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