Despite the best of intentions, waste is a dilemma for businesses. From the industrial plant to the local retail shop, waste creation is a natural yet costly reality of productivity. More waste is an unfortunate byproduct of good everyday business, making and selling more or simply growing. Expand the shop for more customers, or build a factory to meet demand, and there is more waste created in the process and every day after.
The dilemma today in waste management is finding how to accomplish it better while improving and providing results. The idea of environmental, social, and governance (ESG), balancing and linking business results with global stewardship, suggests — doing the productive thing but doing the right thing for the environment. The Internet of Things (IoT) technology is helping to bridge this challenge with precise data visualization monitoring that enables waste to be more effectively controlled and remedied, with benefits more clearly demonstrated.
How IoT Helps Manage Waste
IoT technology is leading the way to new solutions that use real-time data to monitor the accumulation or depletion of liquid or solid waste and a wide range of other operating conditions. For example, a device called a distance sensor captures the precise status of a given condition, the current position, or the volume of contents in a container. While this reading is meaningless as an isolated data point, IoT software and visualization give it value and relevance in three ways:
- Measure: A calculation involving programmed data (sizes, shapes, angles, etc. of a container, a shelf, a parts bin, a room, garage, building, or other space) occurs within the IoT application software and delivers the meaning of a given data point relative to the monitor’s purpose, for example, the percentage (%) of full or empty of the container
- Interpret: The IoT platform illustrates the meaning of the data by reproducing and displaying it in a visual/depicted form for the user or manager. A simplified, at-a-glance understanding of the current condition is received in real-time at programmed intervals.
- Apply: The IoT platform, applying established parameters, can auto-alert users to conditions needing attention, or specify a precise action, be it one or a distributed network of thousands of distance sensors.
Wasting Less Time on Trash, With IoT
KS Technologies (KST), distance sensor specialists, developed a turnkey application template for custom IoT monitoring that “Really makes the data that our sensors create come alive,” according to KST president Bob Kressin. KST’s “Trash to Treasure” waste management solution combines its specialized distance sensor with Losant’s IoT expertise and application enablement platform in a highly efficient, timesaving monitoring system. In addition, the capability is achieved efficiently and is easily scalable.
One might say the basic concept of a gauge is not new. Yet the ability to measure, calculate and graphically monitor practically any physical condition, with the precision and functionality described in the KST solution, is a significant step forward with groundbreaking potential in waste management and beyond. Paired with IoT capability, a single measure of distance can be applied in different ways that provide answers to a wide variety of operational and waste-related conditions:
- Is the waste material bin getting full; when should it be emptied
- Is the sewer system near or exceeding its capacity
- Is the production line parts bin in need of a refill; when will it run out
- How many people are in the room or building
- How many available spaces are there in the garage
Distance sensor utilization is one example of how IoT can provide real-time insight and visual context relative to a business function or a waste management protocol. ESG is a place of good intentions and initiatives increasingly seeking to prove impact and resulting value — turning “We want to do better” into “We are doing better, and here is how.” IoT technology is part of the “how.”
If you’d like to learn more about how Losant can help your organization meet its IoT application development needs, connect with us here.