Since our inception almost 30 years ago, Qualcomm has invented the future. Today, however, we must recognize that unless we are able to work together to address climate change, the future of the planet is at stake.
As a company that is passionately committed to innovation, we see the climate as an issue in need of innovation from stakeholders across society—governments, civil society, business and consumers. That’s why in November we signed onto the Climate Declaration: because we believe that tackling climate change is one of America’s greatest economic opportunities of the 21st century.
Qualcomm’s most valuable asset is our people, who constantly push the boundaries of what is possible. They invent, for example, the technologies that will enable the cities of the future, like parking spaces that can tell your car they are open, reducing an estimated 30 percent of traffic congestion in urban areas associated with people looking for parking. Not only that, but our connectivity solutions will continue to power next-generation automotive user experiences while Qualcomm HaloTM technology will make it possible to re-charge electric cars without cables.
In order for them to continue to come up with solutions to society’s problems, big and small, these inventors need a policy environment that ensures that they will be rewarded for their innovations.
That’s why Qualcomm has participated in the international climate negotiations since 2009 and supports the efforts of the international community to achieve a new international climate agreement in Paris in 2015. As a matter of fact, I’m at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference of Parties in Lima, Peru at this very moment.
It is also in part why Qualcomm wants governments to support strong intellectual property rights. Patents, with the incentives they create for investment, play an increasingly important role for clean technology and the clean-technology industries, just as they do for other innovative fields. These incentives have never been so important.
With 70 percent of the world’s population expected to live in urban environments in 2050 (up from approximately 50 percent today), cities are facing huge challenges to modernize their infrastructure and services. We believe that adding connectivity and intelligence can result in immediate improvements in resource management, public safety and operational savings—as well as lower CO2 emissions.
One example of this is Qualomm Technologies Inc.'s collaboration with CH2MHill on water management in Saipan, a U.S. territory in the Northern Mariana Islands with 40,000 residents. We worked together to create a machine-to-machine (M2M) technology that keeps track of the water supply’s movement throughout the system—and more importantly, where it’s being lost.
The new system will not only enable Saipan to conserve water, saving $750K for each 10% reduction: the goal is to reduce loss associated with theft and leaking pipes by two-thirds over the next five years, which will save the community millions of dollars in energy costs and provide higher quality and availability of water.
Another example of our contributions to more intelligent cities is through our work in New York City with CityBridge on LinkNYC, a first-of-its-kind communications network that will bring the fastest available municipal Wi-Fi to millions of New Yorkers, small businesses, and visitors. CityBridge is comprised of experts in technology, user experience, connectivity and advertising. When completed, LinkNYC will deliver free gigabit Wi-Fi capacity, the fastest public Internet speeds available, to citizens and visitors connected to the LinkNYC network comprised of up to 10,000 kiosk structures across the five boroughs.
Inventors who work on solutions like these don’t just need a policy environment conducive to innovation; they also need a work environment that promotes the development of great ideas.
To date, Qualcomm’s energy efficiency investments in five million square feet of building space in California alone have saved over 48 million kilowatt hours of electricity annually, valued at over $6.8 million in avoided costs each year. This is equivalent to avoiding 14,618 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions or eliminating the annual emissions of 2,658 cars.
Our buildings are populated by engineers who care about our planet and who continue to invent the future—addressing challenges like the global explosion of mobile data traffic, which is expected to increase one thousand-fold, and developing new ways to make electric and water grids more intelligent.
These technologies will help us use less energy, and they will help others do so too, as we all work to address both the challenges and the opportunities presented by climate change.
I don’t know how you felt when you woke up this morning, but here in Lima it looks like a beautiful day to negotiate the future of the planet.