Which technologies will be important for sustainability?

3 Dec 2021

Gerard O’Neill, Amárach Research, and Tony Yangxu, Huawei Ireland. Image: Conor McCabe Photography

At a recent event, Huawei Ireland CEO Tony Yangxu said sustainability relies on digital technology capabilities.

Sustainability is continuing to become a key business consideration for many leaders, and digital technologies could help deliver a significant reduction in carbon emissions.

That’s according to a recent report by Amárach Research, which was launched last week at Huawei Ireland’s Innovation Day.

In his opening address at the event, Huawei Ireland CEO Tony Yangxu said sustainability relies on digital technology capabilities. “Huawei would like to be part of this big agenda from the technology point of view.”

Among 300 senior decision-makers surveyed, 49pc of respondents said they believe IoT, robotics and big data will be the most important technologies for sustainability in the next three years, while 42pc considered application modernisation, machine learning and low-code or no-code technology to be important.

Other technologies such as AI, blockchain, cloud computing and 5G were name-checked by just under a third of respondents as important for sustainability in the next three years.

Gerard O’Neill, chair of Amárach Research, said the digital sustainability report, which was commissioned by Huawei, highlighted how innovation will play a key role in achieving overall climate goals for both Ireland and individual companies.

“Depending on your sector, you need to be engaged in a conversation with your colleagues and maybe even with your peers about the right tools to invest in now, because it is an investment process,” he said.

The survey found that more than half of senior decision-makers across the energy, agrifood and public sectors now see climate as the most important business consideration.

However, many leaders have a number of concerns when it comes to future IT investment, with security coming in as the top worry for 38pc of respondents.

Other concerns cited by around a third of respondents were the upfront investment costs, the current lack of technology knowledge and integrating new tech with existing systems.

“There is no one tool or technology that’s going to deliver all your requirements in just the next few years,” said O’Neill.

“This is a 10-year process we’re part of, and that requires a lot of investment. Apply the proper return on investment decisions but make sure you’ve got the right combination of technologies to deliver your goals.”

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Jenny Darmody is the deputy editor of Silicon Republic