Industry insights from the recent Future Resource exhibition at Birmingham NEC.
The Daizy team recently attended the Future Resource conference at Birmingham NEC. The show is co-located with the Waste Management, Flood & Contamination and Land Remediation exhibitions. Our goal was to understand what use cases could benefit from low-cost, widely deployed sensor networks to reduce waste, increase recycling rates and deal with the growing issues of climate and extreme weather. We were on the lookout for solution providers in the space with vertical expertise who could enhance their propositions with low cost sensor networks.
In general, IoT was conspicuous by its absence. There were very few solution providers showing IoT applications, and fewer still using LPWAN technologies – both of the ones we saw were in asset tracking – with Pin IoT showing their Sigfox and Bluetooth container tracking device (for waste containers), and Norwegian company Stalk It with a fully sealed asset tracker for larger skips and vehicles, based on NB-IoT with a 10 year battery life.
Other interesting products included a leakage detector for domestic properties. The Floodcheck Auto solution has recently been fitted to all units in the Olympic village apartments in Stratford after a recent water leak caused over £8 million of damage. It’s likely we’ll see insurance providers begin to offer discounts for the deployment of such devices which would make sense to be fully connected.
The LimpetReader from Deer Technology enables existing analogue water meters to be read digitally. While not yet a fully connected product, this represents a low-cost way to introduce IoT for water utilities by leveraging their existing investment in water metering.
The IoT Theatre had a number of interesting presentations in the space. Highlights included:
Chris Bataillard, CEO of WND Group , who are the Sigfox network operator in the UK and 13 countries in Latin America, discussed some of the benefits of Sigfox in utilities and metering across widely dispersed populations. Chris also highlighted a use case in the UK powered by the Daizy platform.
Sony Semiconductor & Electronic Solutions
Rajni Agarwal, Telecoms R&D Manager for Sony presented on the capabilities of Sony’s ELTRES low power WAN technology. This mixes long range capabilities with high resilience and high capacity for public LPWAN networks. Rajni talked through a number of use cases deployed in Japan.
Sony provides an ELTRES module which incorporates GNSS for positioning, providing location data in every message. Suited for long range, outdoor applications. They are working with telecoms partners to deploy new public LPWAN networks. ELTRES looks to be a promising technology, if it can gain adoption and break out of its current nascent state in markets outside of Japan.
Electronic Waste – what happens at the end of an IoT device’s life?
One area we were particularly keen to explore is how the millions of IoT devices being deployed will be disposed of at the end of their useful life. A number of IT recycling companies handle IT products – predominantly PCs, where there is a second market for components. Many IoT devices have no useful second life, so the cost or recycling is proportionally higher. We were pleased to see companies that can meet this challenge, and provide routes to responsible disposal of devices on a global basis.
Overall there was plenty of opportunity to instrument existing waste management processes and equipment, however vendors are generally not there yet. Technology advancements in waste management seem to be focussed around commercial waste collection. LPWAN would allow the same solutions to roll out to domestic waste collection at large scale.
It’s clear that Daizy can play a key role in enabling solution providers to scale up IoT solutions as they move from prototype and trials to widely deployed offerings. We will continue to watch with interest as utilities and waste management organisations evolve towards an Internet of Things.