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Let’s not rubbish smart waste management

Written by Joe Powell - Key Account Manager, Field Service UK&I for Panasonic TOUGHBOOK

Let’s not rubbish smart waste management

I’m sure we have all reflected on how much rubbish we are producing when we put the bins out and wonder if we could be doing more to reduce waste through recycling but the scale of the problem is still hard to imagine.

Waste management is a huge issue across Europe. Incredibly, 5 tonnes of waste are produced by the average European each year, only 38% of waste in the EU is recycled and over 60% of household waste still goes into landfill in some countries. The EU has set out ambitious policies to reduce this burden. It is aiming to achieve a carbon-neutral, environmentally sustainable, toxic-free and fully circular economy by 2050. But as waste management is often under the control of already budget pressured local authorities, an essential element of our success will rely on more effective and efficient collection services.Waste management worker

This is one area where technology can help. For many years, the bin collection round didn’t change radically. The waste collection crews follow the exact same route and collect the bins on the same day each week. But the introduction of smart software applications and mobile computing technology is starting to radically change this approach.

The latest in-cab waste management technology can provide waste collection crews, operational supervisors and call centre staff with an overarching view of any issues in real-time, helping communication and collaboration. For example, using rugged tablets equipped with YOTTA's connected asset management platform, called ALLOY, is an ideal solution for waste management service providers. The system has the capability to track and effectively manage waste collection services. The in-cab software is used to real-time track progress and communicate with collection crews helping to reduce complaints and swifter resolutions.

The addition of sensor and control technologies connected to ALLOY via the Internet of Things (IoT) can add another layer of opportunity for improved service delivery. For example, local authorities are increasingly relying upon fill-level sensors, geo-location tracking, Bluetooth beacons and automatic location sensing to optimise their waste management services.

Of course, this intelligent software can only work effectively if the computing devices being used by the waste collection crews can be relied upon and that’s no easy task. It’s a difficult working environment for computing technology. Dust and dirt, extreme weather conditions, knocks and scrapes and vibration are all common problems that can quickly destroy the average tablet device. So rugged technology like Panasonic TOUGHBOOK tablets are ideal partners for use with YOTTA’s intelligent applications.

Used to working with waste management software partners, Panasonic can provide a true end-to-end solution with vehicle installation consultation, vehicle docking solutions, integration design services, and rugged devices – all certified to the required European safety regulations. The products are rugged from the inside out and engineered to withstand the conditions found in a waste management environment. The bright and responsive touchscreen displays are comfortable to use – even in the rain and sun and with reflections from the truck windows and while wearing gloves.

Waste management software

The TOUGHBOOK devices are highly configurable and customisable to fit specific needs. For example, if looking to use the IoT, we can integrate sensors, cameras, barcode readers, HF-RFID readers and more. And our devices are supported for the long-term, so when you choose to upgrade the device, all the accessories will still work with the new devices.

Lastly, for a mobile crew working in some of the most densely populated cities or the most rural areas, connectivity is critical. Our devices are used by emergency services around the world because they are unrivalled in terms of connectivity. We are the only mobile computer manufacturer that designs and produces its own antennae, which are tested to the limit and optimised in our very own anechoic chamber.

It’s clear that today’s technology solutions can radically change the service provided, making local authorities aware of waste collection issues in real-time and helping them to resolve problems quickly and efficiently. It’s great news for the planet, local authorities and for residents too. Now remind me, is it recycling or rubbish bins out this week?

Find out more about TOUGHBOOK waste management solutions, take a look a this webinar we hosted with Yotta.