im retail blog 2021 05 en

Trends 2021: Automation and Ecology

The 21st century has become an arena of struggle between two seemingly opposite worlds. One of them is unstoppable technological progress, the development of modern industrial and digital solutions. The growing ecological awareness of the society becomes the other pole. The planet we live on is the most precious commodity we have, a good that is very easy to destroy, and impossible to rebuild. Both of these opposites are, however, an integral part of today’s life. So how to reconcile them? Is the growth possible without harming the environment?


Joined forces

It seems that the above-mentioned fight is not the only solution, and technological progress along with ecology can go hand in hand to improve condition of our precious, green house. Technology is not only about gloomy, smoking factories that pollute the atmosphere, rivers and soil. For many years, science has fought for the most effective ways to reduce the amount of poisonous waste, as well as the most productive use of renewable energy sources. More efficient wind turbines, photovoltaic panels and energy storage facilities are created. Chimneys are equipped with 21st century filters, capable of capturing a huge percentage of pollutants. So why is the Earth still struggling with the problem of climate warming, the greenhouse effect? At the moment, this is mainly due to the smallest elements of infrastructure – single-family houses, cars.


Green houses, green roads

For several years, however, we have seen an increase in the popularity of “green houses.” Co-financing programs are being developed for installations obtaining clean energy (photovoltaics), heat pumps, and thermo-modernization of buildings. The effects are immediately visible, both in households’ wallets, but also in the emission of pollutants caused by these buildings. It is estimated that the energy efficiency of houses equipped with such solutions increases by up to 50% compared to traditional ones. However, in order for these actions to have an impact on global changes, they need to be implemented on a huge scale.

The automotive industry also follows ecological trends and looks for solutions to reduce the emission of exhaust gases harmful to humans and the environment. More and more often, we meet hybrid or fully electric cars on the street, and even the traditional, internal combustion ones are being equipped with technologically advanced systems limiting emissions and purifying gases leaving the car’s exhaust.


Ecological automation

The automation of key stages of logistics processes, especially in the field of postal shipments, is also moving towards sustainable development that supports ecology. This is happening on several levels, however, smart parcel stations play a fundamental role in them.

From year to year, we observe a significant increase in the turnover of the e-commerce sector. Its effect is the constantly growing number of packages that have to be sent to their addressees. Only in 2020, partly due to the epidemic threat, over 25% increase in e-commerce sales was recorded. Moreover, experts predict that consumer habits will persist in this channel also after the crisis has ended.

Switching to this sales model requires advanced logistics, millions of kilometers traveled, thousands of liters of fuel burned while driving and during a stop necessary to deliver the shipment. All this translates into the emission of a large amount of harmful substances into the atmosphere, poisoning it, and indirectly all of us. In the traditional delivery model, it is necessary to deliver the parcel to each address, even if there is a small parcel or letter to be delivered. In addition, the absence of the addressee forces an additional delivery attempt, causing unnecessary tension on both sides. The use of parcel machines significantly reduces all the above-described inconveniences by limiting the courier’s route to specific centralized points without the need to visit many places.


The last mile can be green

How much does the use of parcel lockers improve the efficiency of deliveries at the “last mile” stage? According to the report “Analysis of parcel lockers’ efficiency as the last mile delivery solution – the results of the research in Poland” from 2015, delivery to automated parcel stations allows to make up to 10 times more shipments, while reducing the average distance traveled by the courier in one day from 150 to 70 kilometers. Such changes entail a 20-fold reduction in fuel costs per year, and the amount of carbon dioxide emitted during the process is reduced from 22.5 million tonnes to just 1.5 million a year. Such numbers make a colossal impression and show that the use of this type of devices has a very solid economic and environmental justification.


The future is here

In the era of prevailing ecological trends, the use of parcel lockers is justified, and their effectiveness in reducing pollutant emissions has been proven by numerous studies. Despite the fact that they have settled for good on the polish market, many industries still do not see their potential. With their help, you can carry out a very wide range of tasks, both postal and related to the provision of all kinds of services, the delivery of subscriptions, grocery shopping and more. It is certain that in the coming years we can expect a further increase in the share of these technologically advanced, yet easy to use devices.


If you want to participate in a technological revolution that will positively affect the natural environment and at the same time increase the sales of your traditional or online store. Contact us. Our specialists will find optimal solutions for you.


Energetically independent technology – it is possible

The word „technology” evokes a certain chain of loose associations in each of us. Most often, when we think about technology, we mean electronics, machines and complicated processes. Where  above-mentioned ones occur, electricity is needed in a considerable amount. Its price is growing every year. Is it possible to break this line and gain independence resulting in a significant cost reduction? It turns out that yes!


Out off the grid – out of the box


Considerations on energy independence should begin with recalling a fact. Connecting to the publicly available power grid is everyone’s right, but it is not an obligation. It is also not obligatory to pay very high electricity bills, as long as we do not use this electricity. So how to meet the needs and power the devices that require access to energy?

Off-grid systems, also known as island systems, are independent sources of electricity, not connected to the power grid, which are most often based on renewable resources provided by our planet. Such systems are usually photovoltaic panels or small, yet very effective wind turbines.


What is independent already?


Currently, off-grid systems are quite commonly found in the construction of modern road infrastructure elements. It is enough to look around while traveling through the city to see traffic lights, light points, information boards powered entirely or partially by a small photovoltaic element.

Larger systems that independently produce energy are also used to power summer houses, mobile homes (campers) or secluded, remote places without access to the network (such as mountain settlements and shelters, smaller islands).


What can become independent soon?


Progressive miniaturization and the desire to create the most compact and capacious energy storage possible will inevitably lead to the development of off-grid systems. The bottleneck that manufacturers of such solutions are currently struggling with is insufficient battery capacity. Most of the independent installations are based on natural energy, to which constant access is never guaranteed. Therefore, it is necessary to use them to the maximum and efficiently store the produced energy. Work on this is underway, and we will soon experience a whole range of possibilities: from simple completely wireless electronic devices, through production or service machines, to vehicles and even entire self-sufficient buildings and huge production plants.


Impressive numbers


The development of the entire off-grid market is perfectly demonstrated by impressive statistics. According to a report by the World Bank Group and the Global Off Grid Lighting Association, in 2019 the off-grid solar installation market reached an annual value of $1.75 billion, and provided energy services to over 420 million users. These numbers are still in a growing trend. The Off-Grid Solar Market Trends 2020 report also found that the industry has made great strides in recent years. Since 2017, revenues from the island systems industry have grown steadily, with a 30 percent increase every year.

It must not be forgotten that around 840 million people still have no access to electricity, which shows that there is plenty of room for further development.


What is the purpose of it all?


The question may seem simple, but the answer is much more extensive. The first advantage of disconnecting from the grid is the reduction of expenses by over 90%. In any business, electricity bills are a significant cost generator that we can avoid using off-grid solutions. Another value that cannot be overestimated is independence. Installations of this type do not need to be reported or supervised by the officials, no complicated process of connection to the network is necessary. The location of “off-grid” powered devices becomes possible literally everywhere, even in isolated and inaccessible places. We decide for ourselves where and how our equipment should function. Additionally, it is all based on ecological, natural renewable sources. Each device powered by an off-grid installation is “clean” and does not contribute to the use of electricity from power plants, which are often the biggest polluters of the natural environment.


In a deluge of benefits


Thanks to the rapidly developing technology of recent years, the creation of completely energy-independent devices or entire systems is becoming a reality. Of course, choosing such a method of supply requires some increased financial outlays at the initial stage, but due to the long-term profit that is easy to calculate, it can be treated as an good investment. The multitude of economic, infrastructural and practical advantages shows, that off-grid systems will be the object of interest of many conscious and modern technology companies in the coming years.