Researchers at Lancaster University think the world should consider ways to limit data growth on the Internet in order to prevent runaway energy consumption and help limit carbon emissions.
In their discussion paper, the researchers argue the growth of the Internet of Things (IoT) has the potential to bring unprecedented and, in principle, almost unlimited rises in energy consumed by smart technologies.
The paper highlights the fact that Internet usage has increased significantly in recent years as users watch more video, stream programs on smart TVs, check their social media accounts, and track their fitness. They say this increase in data use has brought with it a rise in energy use, despite energy efficiency improvements.
The researchers contend until this point, there has always been a potential ceiling for increases in data on the Internet. However, autonomous streaming of data by billions of sensors built into a range of IoT devices removes the existing potential constraints to the growth in Internet energy consumption.
"The Internet of Things is still in the making and it is important to consider existing ideas for a 'speed limit' to the system, especially in comparison to having to retrospectively reduce Internet traffic in the future," says Lancaster University researcher Mike Hazas.
From Lancaster University
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