Waste Management In Action

Unlocking predictive intelligence: Smartsensor Technologies

When it comes to waste management, data is the core component of what makes smart waste smart. Leon Hayes, Smartsensor Technologies Managing Director, explains.

While the axiom data is more valuable than oil has been widely accepted across industrial and manufacturing sectors for at least the last decade, the waste and resource recovery industry has been slow to capitalise on its predictive intelligence.

That said, the floodgates are opening, with private waste companies and local governments appreciating the power lying dormant in their previously ignored ‘facts and figures.’

This is welcome news to Leon Hayes, Smartsensor Technologies Managing Director, who has been pushing industry to recognise the benefits of adopting smart technologies into waste management for 10 years.

“If we look at data as a stand-alone element without considering smart waste management, we realise that it is one of the most powerful tools we have on a global scale to influence decision making,” Hayes says.

“Whether it’s the number of purchases we make as a company or tracking an athlete’s progress in training – data is key to everything we do.”

When it comes to waste management, data is the core component of what makes smart waste smart, Hayes says.

He adds that cities can install bins, sensors and all the bells and whistles, but without data, they’re unable to create actionable insights.

By 2050, the United Nations estimates that 68 per cent of the world’s population will live in urban areas, with solid waste generation to increase by 70 per cent.

“Smartsensor Technologies’ believes that we should be using that data to fuel how quickly and efficiently smart waste management is implemented,” Hayes says.

“If we look to the past, we can see the things we’ve done wrong, and if we look to the future, we can see the things we need to do right, and predictive data will allow us to do that.”

According to Hayes, before waste managers and city planers look at smart waste options, they must first understand the production of waste in their jurisdiction.

“The first thing I recommend is looking at population growth, as where that growth is modelled to head is the biggest catalyst for waste generation,” he says.

“As populations continue to grow and society becomes more disposable, we’re going to create more waste. Waste managers need to look at that modelling so they can better plan for the future.”   

Population density is another factor, Hayes explains, with high density cities typically posing the biggest waste production challenge.

He adds that while the COVID pandemic has led to a slight exodus from the city, that migration will likely be temporary.

“Cities will return and grow, and as a result, there will be a lot of high density living. By focusing on how we manage the production of waste, it allows us to understand where we need to get to.

“It’s also important to extract insights into waste generation and location, so we can understand where services are needed, and more importantly, how we can contribute to waste reduction.”

Furthermore, individual areas create different types of waste, with a city lined with bars and restaurants needing different services than a street made up of domestic households.

“These factors need to be taken into consideration when planning for the future, and that is why data is so crucial. By having a data foundation and understanding of where we’re at, we can make informed decisions on smart waste installation,” Hayes says.

Data continues to play a key role once smart waste is introduced – allowing operators to examine collection fill levels, route optimisation and critically analyse waste.

Smartsensor Technologies’ CitySENSE Application works to help operators along this journey, by combining foundational and historic insights with live data coming in from the sensors and smart bins of each of its customers.

“By overlaying that information, we’re able to create predictive analysis for a range of metrics, such as which bins need to be collected and when. It effectively functions as an in-the-cloud dossier, accessible by anyone within the team at any time,” Hayes says.

Users can access current data to inform collections, as well as predictive data for future modelling.

The application can also highlight which bins are the most and least utilised and which areas are costing the most in terms of labour, vehicle, operational and environmental costs.

Hayes adds that users retain ownership of their data, with all data hosted in Australia under globally recognised certification standards.

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