The Internet of Things (IoT) is a giant network of all things, whether a device, machine, object, animal, or person, that can transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction. While the power of IoT and the endless amount of opportunities it creates is a concept that is hard to grasp fully even today, unfortunately, too much of a good thing is never good.
In 2018, the International Energy Agency (IEA) reported a 4% increase in global electricity demand, the fastest pace since 2010, with a total of 26,700 Terawatt hours (TWh) of electricity consumed. Swedish researcher Anders Andrae predicts an increase in the ICT industry’s power demand to around 1,200 to 3,000TWh by 2025. This figure suggests that if the Internet were a country, it would rank third in the world for electricity consumption, with China as the leading contributor at 6,167 TWh, the United States in second place at 3,971TWh, and India fourth at 1,243TWh.
It is evident that the unprecedented rate at which the Internet is growing has caused a hike in global electricity consumption. According to The Next Web, there has been a 9% year-over-year increase to a staggering 4.4 billion internet users globally in 2018. Realistically speaking, the Internet could have contributed to 20% of global electricity consumption and up to 5.5% of all carbon emissions by 2025. With the ever-increasing connectivity to smart devices via IoT, it is expected that the overall global emissions will continue rising in the next few decades.