ON Built on knowledge and techniques accumulated over centuries, environmental work has undergone a real digital revolution over the last ten years, though this process is still in its early stages.
From ancient structures to digital utilities
Inherited from Antiquity, techniques for water and waste management have evolved slowly over the centuries ( illustration on p. 28). But with the arrival of digital technology, these functions have experienced a real revolution over the last ten years. Sensors for predictive management, connected meters and containers, smart sorting robots: the era of digital utilities is emerging.
A booming digital market
Valued at $60 billion in 2025, compared with $4 billion in 2018 (source: Cabinet Keyrus), the artificial intelligence market should account for $232 billion in investment in 2025, compared with $12 billion in 2018 (source: KPMG). The Internet of Things (IoT) is also growing exponentially, with 7 billion connected objects in 2018 compared with 5.9 in 2017; in 2030, we can expect 35 billion (source: Idate DigiWorld). Some technologies are still at an experimental stage, but promise profound transformations in
the environmental sector. In a world increasingly marked by suspicion of all types of institutions, blockchain in particular offers extraordinary prospects for guaranteeing confidence, security and traceability for transactions.
Towards a new balance between humans and machines
This digital revolution involves inventing a new balance between humans and machines to prevent the social imbalances that could lead to lower-skilled tasks and jobs disappearing. Gender equality must also be questioned in a sector where parity is still far from being achieved, despite movement in the right direction: only 14% of start-ups that raised funds in 2017 were led by women (source: Baromètre StartHer-KPMG #2). With volumes of data growing a thousandfold every ten years since 2000, the digital revolution also has an environmental cost that is still poorly understood and that must be controlled for these technologies to provide real social benefits.
TRENDS CLIMATE EMERGENCY DEMOGRAPHIC CHALLENGE DIGITAL REVOLUTION PUBLIC EXPECTATIONS RISKS AND OPPORTUNITIES13