Internet of Things (IoT) can help to pave the way to the circular economy and to a more sustainable world by enabling the digitalization of many operations and processes, such as water distribution, preventive maintenance, or smart manufacturing. Paradoxically, IoT technologies and paradigms such as edge computing, although they have a huge potential for the digital transition towards sustainability, they are not yet contributing to the sustainable development of the IoT sector itself. In fact, such a sector has a significant carbon footprint due to the use of scarce raw materials and its energy consumption in manufacturing, operating, and recycling processes. To tackle these issues, the Green IoT (G-IoT) paradigm has emerged as a research area to reduce such carbon footprint; however, its sustainable vision collides directly with the advent of Edge Artificial Intelligence (Edge AI), which imposes the consumption of additional energy. This article deals with this problem by exploring the different aspects that impact the design and development of Edge-AI G-IoT systems. Moreover, it presents a practical Industry 5.0 use case that illustrates the different concepts analyzed throughout the article. Specifically, the proposed scenario consists in an Industry 5.0 smart workshop that looks for improving operator safety and operation tracking. Such an application case makes use of a mist computing architecture composed of AI-enabled IoT nodes. After describing the application case, it is evaluated its energy consumption and it is analyzed the impact on the carbon footprint that it may have on different countries. Overall, this article provides guidelines that will help future developers to face the challenges that will arise when creating the next generation of Edge-AI G-IoT systems.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.