Welcome back to the HxGN Spotlight blog for the second part in our 3-part series (Our journey, Our influence, Our impact) on Hexagon’s journey to the present as we look forward to an autonomous, sustainable future.
Discussion of sustainability for industry is everywhere these days, but it hasn’t always been that way. Carbon dioxide emissions have risen dramatically worldwide as a direct result of industrialisation. It took over 200 years for humanity to reach a 25% increase in the planet’s CO2 levels, but constant growth accelerated the problem. Twenty-five years later, the planet reached a 40% increase in pre-industrialisation CO2 levels, and after just one additional decade, the global increase is approaching 50%.
Industry’s impact on the climate cannot be ignored, nor can the blame be deflected. We know that human activity is responsible for the changing climate and that modifications are required to change the course of this looming crisis before it is too late. In his keynote at HxGN LIVE Global 2022, Hexagon President and CEO Ola Rollén addressed this fact head-on. “We do not want to go down in history as the CO2 generation, the generation that polluted this planet and destroyed it,” Rollén said, pointing to data from the economic slowdown of the COVID-19 pandemic as proof that limiting human activity drastically lowered CO2 emissions. The message was clear – this damage to the environment is our fault, but it’s possible for us to right the wrong.
None of this is new information, of course. Companies everywhere are talking about sustainability initiatives. However, better, incremental measures that create meaningful improvements in conventional markets will not move the needle fast enough. We must also adopt unconventional methods that bring different and exponential change. More importantly, we must address the root cause behind the slow transition to a more sustainable economy – profitability. If we cannot make sustainable change profitable, businesses will continue to be slow to adopt or quick to abandon sustainability efforts in the name of revenue. In order for industry to correct the trajectory we’re on, sustainability efforts cannot simply be effective – they must also be profitable. This is where Hexagon sees great potential, as we believe sustainability is the biggest business opportunity of the 21st century.
We envision a future where business, industry and humanity sustainably thrive. Luckily, we find ourselves in a time where technology can motivate rapid change profitably while giving back to the planet. While our planet’s natural resources may be finite, there is one resource that is constantly growing in volume and availability – data.
Humanity produces massive amounts of data daily, most of which are either lost or stored rather than leveraged. This data deluge is the invisible waste product of industry. The good news? It CAN be put to work – through the incredible power of autonomy.
Technology provides a framework for accelerating our ability to harness data while autonomy levels the playing field, leveraging artificial intelligence and machine learning to dissect and make sense of ALL data. This goes far beyond the capacity of normal human processing. Our brains are not meant to cope with this data. And when it takes humans out of the equation, it eliminates human errors and mistakes.
This leads to improvements in quality, efficiency, productivity, and safety – the antidotes to the status quo of waste, pollution, diminishing margins, and increased risk.
Hexagon’s R-evolution, the sustainable innovation and green-tech investment subsidiary of Hexagon, is proof that industry can decisively address the sustainability crisis while supporting profitable economic growth. R-evolution is dedicated to mobilising tech-enabled solutions across profit-driven projects that can speed global adoption of renewable energy and storage, green hydrogen, carbon capture, plastic waste management, desalination, plant-based food, ecological monitoring, sustainable agriculture and circular economy transitions.
R-evolution’s project portfolio, built on the premise of applying Hexagon’s sensor, software and autonomous solutions to reduce the impacts of CO2 emissions, includes:
- Exploring and scaling the potential of seagrass meadows as carbon sinks in partnership with Beneath the Waves
- Building an 8.24 MWp photovoltaic solar park near Malaga, Spain, eventually expanding to a capacity of 40,000 bifacial solar panels and 16.44 MWp
- Creating a blueprint for the digitalisation of wind energy production
- Facilitating new advances in green hydrogen production, which has the potential to supply up to 25% of the world’s energy needs by 2050
The contribution autonomy has to offer sustainability efforts doesn’t stop at energy initiatives. From reducing agrochemical use and supporting more sustainable farming practices to improving manufacturing design processes and protecting cities from climate-influenced natural disasters, autonomous solutions by Hexagon are making an impact worldwide and influencing the next generation of sustainability initiatives by example.
Changing the world isn’t easy. But committing to bettering our world is the first step in addressing the climate crisis, and Hexagon is dedicated to using our influence in the world of industry to show that there is a solution where everybody wins.