Sun, sea and sand are fantastic, but Mallorca has so much more going on than just that. In recent years, the island has actively courted technology companies who have creative ways to help manage the island’s resources. Look Mallorca explores this growing trend.
Sustainability and Technology
Not long ago, no one would have put technology together with sustainability. Today, it is almost commonplace. Whether it is catching a water leak, measuring the environmental impact of cruise ships or using complex sensors to gather air, water and animal traffic data on farms, technology is now as much a part of the solution as it ever was.
To this end, Mallorca has begun to actively recruit companies to the island that are using creative approaches to natural resource management issues.
Who’s Doing It?
The concrete proof in the pudding comes in many forms. For example, Parc Bit (Parc Balear d’Innovació technològica) located on the outskirts of Palma near the University. This science and technology park opened its doors in 2002. Since then, it has attracted over 150 companies and employees roughly 3000 workers. Many ground-breaking research sites and businesses related to the tourist industry are located here, such as TUI and Logitravel. All the companies have street cred in the fields of biotech, software development, marketing/consulting and audiovisuals. There is even the pioneering Escola Global International School on site. They focus on teaching young minds to think outside the box for a more sustainable future.
Parc Bit is also the home of extraordinary companies such as IoTLabs. They provide entire systems to collect data and monitor resources. Through sensors or communication networks using LoRaWAN (Low Power, Wide Area) technology which connects battery operated “things,” like sensors, to the internet. Data is then readily available for customers to see anytime via antennae or radio on an online dashboard. It’s like having several extra employees on 24/7 watch.
Internet of Technology
The Internet of Things, or IoT, is a system of interrelated computing devices, mechanical and digital machines, objects, animals or people that are provided with unique identifiers. They have the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction.
This may sound like a lot of mumbo-jumbo, but if you are a farmer and your land is spread over mountainous or difficult terrain making regular visits impossible, having a system in place that connects you to the remotest parts of your land is invaluable. Beside the obvious data tracking, these systems alert people to problems. Knowing about them can mean the difference between dealing with a small issue and a massive disaster.
Even the Government is Using it
The local government has installed a LoRaWAN network across the island to manage natural resources and public services more effectively. With a system of antennae each covering 14km2, the island has near total coverage. This allows an unprecedented flow of information that would otherwise have been cost prohibitive.
This will help them formulate plans on how to manage water supplies, air quality and observe traffic patterns, for example.
…and the Port Authority
Since 2017, an IoT project based on sensor platform technology created by Libelium that controls the environmental impact of vessel leaving and entering the Port of Palma.
With the recent concerns over cruise ship, ferry and pleasure boat traffic pollution, the Port Authority has made efforts to prevent negative effects. Using nano-sensors to collect data on noise, CO2, NO2, O3, PM10 and SO2, they finally concluded that mornings were the worst as far as pollution goes.
This realisation has allowed the port to react. To reduce pollution, they asked ships and boats to cut engines whilst docked as well as offering free electric power to incentivise.
Measures such as these are important first steps. There is a long way to go for sure, but as technology improves and becomes more affordable, it’s usage will become more common. Eventually, these kinds of technology could assist in making Mallorca one of the greenest places on the planet. Not a bad goal!