LLGA Winner's Smart Waste Sensors Pilot Beam Hourly Updates in Barcelona

In February 2010 Urbiotica’s Showcase ‘Intelligent Urban Waste Management’ was announced at the Living Labs Global Awards as winner of the opportunity to pilot in Barcelona, specifically in the 22@ Urban Lab area.[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ql1kHhD0EiI]

Of course the Award was immediately providing a more direct way to access decision-makers within the municipality regarding innovation and procurement of urban services. So we quickly started conversations with all the stakeholders involved in the waste collection service –including the environmental department, the 22@ Urban Lab coordination and also Urbaser, the service company in charge of the waste collection for that area of the city.

Our goal was to use the pilot opportunity to prove that our technology provides an integral solution for significantly improving the waste collection process, both in terms of costs and quality of the service. Our wireless sensor networks –composed of active sensors, communication devices and middleware platforms to handle the data collected- provide real-time information of the fill level of each container so that collection routes can be optimized to save resources  and improve the overall service.

During 2010 we took care of agreements with the different stakeholders involved in the pilot regarding the best locations of the sensor and communication elements, the best installation procedures and the expected preliminary results of the project – for example, how to serve and treat the real-time data collected from the dumpsters. In the end 8 sensors where installed: 2 for plastic dumpsters, 2 for glass, 2 for paper, 1 for generic waste and 1 for organic waste.

Several communication elements were also installed in the corresponding street lamps. The result is that for the past 12 months, these 8 sensorized dumpsters are sending data about their fill level every 1 hour; the data is processed through our middleware and served as useful information directly to the municipality as well as the management system of Urbaser, the company providing the collection service.

The collaboration with the different stakeholders in the pilot has been constructive and fruitful. The results are positive and meet what we had expected initially: our system is now installed and running in a small area of Barcelona and we keep an active reporting with the municipality as well as the company in order to refine the whole process and extract valuable practices, which can be used to extend the solution to larger areas of the city and/or to other cities.


- Irene Compte, Urbiotica

The Living Labs Global Award 2012 is open for submissions. 22@ Barcelona is among 20 global cities calling for solutions to improve the lives of 100 Million citizens.

Monitoring Our Rivers. Hudson, NY

http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=8085732&server=vimeo.com&show_title=1&show_byline=1&show_portrait=1&color=&fullscreen=1&autoplay=0&loop=0 Beacon Institute: REON from Beacon Institute on Vimeo.

Last week, Director and CEO of NY's Beacon Institute for Rivers and Estuaries spoke at an even that IBM held on advances in streaming and analytics for IT bloggers. Of the speakers at the event, Cronin stood out for his emphatic yet progressive take on role sensors can and should play in the environmental movement. Arguing that environmentalism has become detached from innovation and that this attitude is killing our waterways unless we are able to use technology to bolster real-time monitoring, Cronin made the case for some of his institutes most progressive, ground-breaking and tech-saavy programs. The idea is simple: IBM and Beacon, which is developing technology, systems and sensors to monitor water in real-time, aim to create the equivalent of a water weather report; Cronin pointed out during out that where we might have access to information on the weather report on the other side of the world, we have very little day to day information on the state of our water systems.

With the help of IBM, Beacon hopes to make the Hudson the most networked waterway in the world with real-time data management and transmission data. Cronin noted "The Hudson isn’t an ecosystem. It’s an information system. If we don’t look at it in a 21st century fashion we’re doomed.”

The need for such systems isn't lost on most of us, especially in light of the oil spill in the gulf. As water becomes scarce, the need for such initiatives seems more imperative than ever. Interested readers can learn more about the Beacon Institute and their initiatives here.