Digital transformation of peatland eco-innovations (‘Paludiculture’): Enabling a paradigm shift towards the real-time sustainable production of ‘green-friendly’ products and services
Rowan, Neil J.
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The world is heading in the wrong direction on carbon emissions where we are not on track to limit global warming to 1.5 °C; Ireland is among the countries where overall emissions have continued to rise. The development of wettable peatland products and services (termed ‘Paludiculture’) present significant opportunities for enabling a transition away from peat-harvesting (fossil fuels) to developing ‘green’ eco-innovations. However, this must be balanced with sustainable carbon sequestration and environmental protection. This complex transition from ‘brown to green’ must be met in real time by enabling digital technologies across the full value chain. This will potentially necessitate creation of new green-business models with the potential to support disruptive innovation. This timely paper describes digital transformation of paludiculture-based eco-innovation that will potentially lead to a paradigm shift towards using smart digital technologies to address efficiency of products and services along with future-proofing for climate change. Digital transform of paludiculture also aligns with the ‘Industry 5.0 - a human-centric solution’. However, companies supporting peatland innovation may lack necessary standards, data-sharing or capabilities that can also affect viable business model propositions that can jeopardize economic, political and social sustainability. Digital solutions may re duce costs, increase productivity, improve produce develop, and achieve faster time to market for paludiculture. Digitisation also enables information systems to be open, interoperable, and user-friendly. This constitutes the first study to describe the digital transformation of paludiculture, both vertically and horizontally, in order to inform sus tainability that includes process automation via AI, machine learning, IoT-Cloud informed sensors and robotics, virtual and augmented reality, and blockchain for cyber-physical systems. Thus, the aim of this paper is to describe the appli cability of digital transformation to actualize the benefits and opportunities of paludiculture activities and enterprises in the Irish midlands with a global orientation.
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