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Sustainable Software Development: Examples Based on the Manufacturing Sector

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Eugene Makieiev, BDM
Sustainable Software Development: Examples From the Manufacturing Sector

Software development and maintenance significantly influence energy consumption, affecting environmental sustainability. On the other side, the activities of various businesses are susceptible to natural factors. Numerous CxOs ranked climate change among the top three issues, surpassing others like innovation, competition for talent, and supply chain challenges. Remarkably, only the economic outlook held a slightly higher position in the rankings.

All this increases business responsibility for sustainable software development. As an outsourcing vendor, Integrio is taking strong steps in green engineering. Today, we will explore this topic in more depth, focusing on the benefits of this principle for business and ways to implement sustainability in your workflow. As a bonus, we will consider the possibilities of eco-initiatives for software development in the manufacturing sector.


What Is Sustainable Software Development?

Sustainable software engineering is an approach that prioritizes minimizing the environmental impact of enterprise software at every stage of its lifecycle. It includes optimizing code, utilizing efficient hardware, and choosing energy-efficient data centers:

  • Eliminating unnecessary code bloat and overengineering contributes to sustainability. As a result, prioritizing code efficiency enhances application performance and reduces energy consumption.

  • Selecting processors, memory, and other components that consume less power contributes to a greener software infrastructure.

  • Consider providers committed to sustainable practices and use technologies that enhance energy efficiency in data processing and storage.

As you can see, sustainability brings benefits for companies themselves, such as optimizing development budgets. But what about customers? They also win.

Sustainable software development reduces downtime, as core-level changes can be implemented faster. This results in more reliable and available systems for end-users. At the same time, rapid implementation of updates enhances overall performance and lowers application ownership costs for customers.

Let's overview the green software framework in detail:

1. A carbon-efficient software development lifecycle involves factors like choosing energy-efficient programming languages (compiled over interpreted) and platforms, as well as adopting green architecture design and DevOps practices.

2. Designing a user-friendly digital experience includes efficient accessibility, performance optimization, navigation improvements, and support for features like dark mode.

3. Responsible AI practices, such as setting target accuracy levels and repurposing existing models, cut the carbon footprint of AI/ML models.

4. Efficient cloud-based data processing involves eliminating storage waste, data compression, and optimizing network utilization.

5. Energy-efficient distributed ledger technology (DLT) algorithms and blockchain technologies positively impact emissions. They employ consensus algorithms, compression strategies, increased transaction frequency, and network design.

6. Responsible procurement and end-of-life management of devices, network components, and data center equipment also contribute to green computing.


The Benefits of Adopting Sustainable Software Engineering Practices

Embracing a sustainable app can offer businesses a multitude of advantages:

Earth-Friendliness

The International Energy Agency (IEA) reports that in 2022, data centers consumed approximately 1-1.5% of global energy. In small countries such as Ireland, these indicators are even more significant — 18% in 2022. In Denmark, the energy used by data centers is expected to go up six times by 2030, making up almost 15% of the country's total electricity use.

Sustainable software development aligns with the urgent need to reduce resource consumption and carbon impact.

Resource Optimization

Sustainable software is cost-effective as it utilizes less power and places less demand on servers. It leads to direct cost savings and lowers maintenance expenses, making it an economically efficient choice for both product owners and end-users.

By adopting sustainable coding practices, companies contribute to both environmental and financial sustainability, which is especially crucial in the face of fluctuating energy prices.

Attracting Workers

In a competitive labor market with a shortage of qualified workers, offering sustainability initiatives becomes a strategic advantage. Prospective employees increasingly seek employers who commit to meaningful and socially responsible work, making sustainability an attractive differentiator.

Better Motivation

Sustainable software has a positive impact on team motivation and productivity. Workers are more enthusiastic, believing in the social benefits of their products. Also, it fosters creativity and commitment among team members. High employee motivation translates into more innovative and effective solutions, directly influencing increased revenue.

Higher Margins

According to the IBM 2022 CEO Study, CEOs implementing sustainability and digital transformation initiatives report higher average operating margins. The efficiency gains, cost savings, and favorable market perception of sustainable practices collectively contribute to overall financial success.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

Green coding practices positively impact the company's Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) profile, showcasing a genuine commitment to ecological responsibility. Stakeholders, including customers, investors, and the community, view companies with eco-friendly practices more favorably, resulting in increased trust and positive brand perception.

Better Development Discipline

Green coding encourages programmers to simplify and streamline complex infrastructures. This approach improves development discipline by fostering cleaner, more efficient code. Also, developers allocate time more effectively, leading to faster and more streamlined software development cycles.

Efficient Engineering Strategy

Green coding introduces a mindset shift. The new engineering strategy prioritizes a balance between productivity and work-life.

Instead of emphasizing excessive working hours, sustainable software engineering encourages efficient work practices that enhance productivity without compromising the well-being of the tech teams. Managers encourage a focus on intelligent work planning rather than relying on overtime or weekend work to meet deadlines.

Compliance

With the anticipation of new laws restricting carbon emissions and wasteful resource use in the coming decades, sustainable software development has become a proactive strategy. Companies can streamline compliance efforts and prepare for future regulatory frameworks by incorporating sustainability into their products.

Long-Lasting Products

Any tech company aspiring to compete with industry giants must prioritize software sustainability. By incorporating flexibility and adaptability, such systems remain resilient despite technological advancements, market shifts, and changing user demands.

As a result, you get long-lasting, sustainable software that can evolve and remain effective over an extended period.


Sustainable Software Engineering in the Manufacturing Industry: How Does It Work?

Sustainable software engineering in the manufacturing industry focuses on reducing the environmental impact of applications throughout their lifecycle.

Life Cycle Assessment

Life cycle assessment (LCA) can be applied to evaluate the impact of a manufacturing software product throughout its entire life cycle. This includes design, development, deployment, and eventual disposal or decommissioning.

LCA assists in identifying environmental hotspots, allowing engineers to focus on areas with the most significant impact. Engineers can use it to compare alternative scenarios, enabling informed decision-making for eco-friendly design choices.

Software Optimization

Efficient code is pivotal for application performance and energy efficiency in manufacturing settings. Bloated or over engineered code often consumes unnecessary resources, countering sustainability goals.

Developers should optimize functions and omit unnecessary features to maintain a streamlined manufacturing system.

Deployment

Consider using cloud-native applications, where resources are allocated dynamically based on demand. It reduces energy waste compared to constantly running private servers.

Also, you can take advantage of edge computing, where computation and data storage are closer to the data sources, such as production lines or IoT devices on the factory floor. This way, you optimize energy usage by reducing the need for data transfers over long distances.

Data Transferring

Sustainable software aims to minimize the unnecessary processing and transfer of data between system components and third-party platforms.

For example, in manufacturing systems, there may be substantial amounts of generated data. Sustainable practices prioritize transmitting and processing only the crucial data, avoiding unnecessary energy consumption associated with handling and transferring excessive information.

Data Storing

Sustainable software practices help you decide for how long data needs to be retained. Should it be anonymized or aggregated? Are there any legal or regulatory requirements influencing the duration of data storage?

Not all data generated in manufacturing inventory processes may be equally valuable over time. Prioritize selective storage, ensuring that only essential information is stored. This way, you reduce the overall storage footprint and minimize energy consumption associated with data repositories.

Data Size

Manufacturing processes often generate extensive visual data, including images and multimedia content related to product design, quality control, and production monitoring. Sustainable practices involve strategically choosing the quality and resolution of these visuals based on their specific relevance to manufacturing operations.

Compressed data not only saves storage space but also enhances its transmission efficiency. In manufacturing, where real-time data exchange is crucial for decision-making, compressed data facilitates faster transmission, thereby reducing latency and the energy required for transmitting information.

Refactoring

Manufacturing processes evolve, and sustainable software engineering ensures systems adapt to changing requirements. Replacing or refactoring components helps companies align with updated business needs or technological advancements.

This involves regularly reviewing and restructuring the software to eliminate redundant functionalities, outdated processes, or services that are no longer needed. By removing unnecessary components makes the overall system more efficient and consumes fewer resources.

Software Architecture

Sustainable software architectures prioritize efficiency in production processes. For example, deploying serverless functions for specific manufacturing tasks ensures that you use computational resources only when needed. It optimizes energy consumption during periods of varying production demands.

Digital Twins and Smart Manufacturing

Digital twins are virtual representations of physical products or systems that mirror their behavior, performance, and conditions in real time.

At the same time, smart manufacturing employs advanced technologies, including artificial intelligence and machine learning, IoT, cloud computing, and big data, to enhance the connectivity, automation, and intelligence of manufacturing processes.

Digital twins and smart manufacturing enable continuous monitoring and control of the environmental impact of products throughout their life cycle, from design to maintenance.


How to Build a Sustainable App: Your Roadmap in 2024

Today, more and more companies are turning to sustainability practices. As for the actions already taken, Deloitte reported the following:

  • 59% of companies use more sustainable materials (recycled materials, lower-emitting products, etc.);

  • 59% increase in the efficiency of energy use (in buildings, for example);

  • 54% employ energy-efficient or climate-friendly machinery, technologies, and equipment;

  • 50% train employees on climate change actions and impacts

Sustainable software development is part of those efforts. Follow our brief roadmap for this process in 2024.

Environmental Impact:

  • Incorporate energy-efficient strategies throughout the product-building lifecycle. This may involve optimizing code for energy efficiency, choosing energy-efficient data centers, and employing eco-friendly technologies in sustainable software development.

  • Choose hardware and office equipment with sustainable sources of origin.

  • Collaborate with suppliers committed to eco-friendly practices to implement sustainable supply chain strategies.

  • Regularly assess and improve environmental practices, keeping abreast of advancements in sustainable technologies and methodologies.

Stakeholders:

  • Engage stakeholders to maximize positive impact by aligning with the expectations of various interest groups, including investors, team members, and end-users.

  • Address their concerns and priorities to ensure a holistic and valuable sustainability strategy.

Sustainability Strategies:

  • Conduct regular team meetings to keep everyone informed about the end goals of sustainability.

  • Foster a culture of sustainability within the team, encouraging members to contribute ideas and initiatives that align with environmentally friendly practices.

  • Utilize sustainability reports to track and communicate progress.

  • Cooperate closely with partners, suppliers, and third parties to exchange knowledge and enhance sustainable practices.

  • Collaborate on shared sustainability goals to amplify positive impacts.

Measuring Success:

  • Define specific and measurable goals like targets for emission reduction, energy efficiency improvements, or adoption of sustainable practices.

  • Establish realistic timelines for achieving sustainability goals, considering the feasibility of implementation and the resources required.

  • Be prepared to adjust, reset, and reevaluate goals as needed. Stay agile in response to changing circumstances, emerging technologies, or new sustainability benchmarks.

  • Regularly evaluate progress to maintain control of deliverables and adapt to evolving sustainability standards.


Benefit from Sustainable Software Engineering with Integrio

Sustainable software development emerges as a pivotal strategy for businesses, offering multifaceted advantages beyond environmental responsibility. They vary from enhanced brand reputation to long-term cost savings and better operational efficiency. And considering the steady trend toward green engineering, preparing for future regulatory changes is better.

There are many ways to join sustainable software building. You can optimize data storage and transfer, compress files to the optimal size, apply refactoring, and improve processes with DevOps. Contact Integrio to get assistance with your project and make your business more responsible.


FAQ

In software engineering, sustainability means designing, developing, and maintaining systems with a focus on minimizing environmental impact. It involves optimizing code for energy efficiency, reducing resource consumption, and adopting practices that align with ecological responsibility throughout the software development lifecycle. This way, created products are environmentally friendly, resource-efficient, and adaptable to changes.

Sustainable software suits organizations committed to reducing their environmental footprint and aligning their operations with eco-friendly practices. It is particularly beneficial for businesses aiming to enhance their corporate social responsibility, especially when consumers prioritize products and services that demonstrate a commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship.

Adopting sustainable practices enhances a company's reputation, attracting environmentally conscious consumers and investors. Moreover, this principle can lead to long-term cost savings by optimizing resource usage, improving efficiency, and preparing for emerging regulatory requirements.

Sustainable software engineering offers several advantages, including reduced environmental impact by optimizing energy consumption and minimizing resource use. It enhances a company's reputation and attracts environmentally conscious users and partners, contributing to positive brand perception. Additionally, sustainable software can lead to long-term cost savings, as it promotes efficiency, lowers energy consumption, and aligns with environmental regulations.

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Sustainable Software Development: Examples From the Manufacturing SectorWhat Is Sustainable Software Development?The Benefits of Adopting Sustainable Software Engineering PracticesSustainable Software Engineering in the Manufacturing Industry: How Does It Work?How to Build a Sustainable App: Your Roadmap in 2024Benefit from Sustainable Software Engineering with IntegrioFAQ

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