For a keynote with the theme “Can your data save the world?”, you would know it would be different. Very different from traditional Hexagon keynotes. In a world that is drowning in data, the topic couldn’t be more exciting. What added to the excitement is the ongoing discussions about Digital Revolution and 4IR on one hand, and the Climate Change and Global Warming related debates. And if you had been checking some of the tweets coming from the Hexagon handles in recent times, you could have guessed what was coming. And Ola Rollen didn’t disappoint.
Rollen started off with a soul-searching question “Does the world need saving”. And backed it up with carefully compiled facts, charts and graphs to state that it is actually mankind which is under threat and needs saving. And not just mankind, a million species on earth are facing extinction due to human influence. Humans have caused a loss of 15% of all fish population, killed 50% of all plants, and killed 80% and 83% of all marine and land mammals, respectively. In 120 years we have cut down 10 million hectares of forest, which is about one-tenth of Canada. Polluted air, micro plastics in food and drinking water, population growth are some of the things he touched upon to impress upon the audience the gravity of the situation.
Once he had built the background, came the interesting change in track — how data can save the world and how to make a business out of saving the planet. He gave the example of 4Ocean — an inspiring example of such a sustainable business venture. Appalled by the sheer amount of plastic in the South Pacific, 4Ocean has removed over 4.7 million pounds of trash from beaches and coastlines since 2017.
While 4Ocean is a commendable business initiative in itself, “where industries can take the lead is what if we removed all this plastics and used it construction industries? What if we used all this plastic to pave roads? You can even feed the power plants instead of dumping it all into the ocean.” he wondered.
Everyone knows CO2 emissions are causing immense damage to the ozone layer. The world generates 36 billion metric tone of CO2 each year, which is going to double in the next 20 years. The biggest contributor in this is energy and agriculture, with industries, transportation and buildings bringing up the rear, Rollen stated.
It’s a no-brainer that reduction in waste and improving efficiencies could reduce carbon emissions. “A staggering 68% of energy produced in US goes waste every year. That’s like powering UK for seven years,” Rollen underlined, as he finally switched to the much-awaited part of address – how Hexagon will address these challenges with its innovations and technologies.
Technologies that can save the world
He laid out Hexagon’s solutions and vision for putting data to work in organizations to reverse the trend of resource depletion, explaining, again with carefully compiled facts and figures how higher productivity and quality outcomes will drive sustainability and growth for our businesses as well as the planet. He gave examples of how Hexagon has been working with Formula One to increase combustion power of engines and cut wastes, precision agriculture (a combination of geospatial and mapping technologies, positioning and autonomous technologies) can increase output with less waste and pollution. Reducing yield loss in industrial sector (which has around 40% productivity) by using data scientifically could increase profitability and also reduce CO2 emissions.
“Hexagon has a far-reaching vision for putting data to work to reverse the trend of resource depletion and waste overwhelming Earth’s systems,” said Rollen. “By empowering an increasingly autonomous future, our ‘do well to do good’ approach will drive sustainability through efficiency gains, increased safety, improved productivity and less waste — the very business outcomes our customers seek,” he said.
Businesses that will transform themselves to do scale up and do businesses sustainably by using data will be the winners in the times to come, he said. Of the 100 largest polluters in the world, 29 are countries and 71 are companies and corporation. “There is no conflict between making money, adding to shareholding value and saving planet. There needs to be a balance. Saving the planet needs to be industrial movement,” he added.
“We have 30 years to fix this problem and we have to take the initiative and sort this out. It’s your data which can save the world, but only if you put it to work.” The message couldn’t have come at a better time.
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