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Tech Highlights from WasteExpo 2017

Some key takeaways from event’s technology tracks.

Discussions of the industry’s use of technology were a big part of WasteExpo held in New Orleans last month. Technology and software providers were also heavily represented at the event’s exhibit hall.

Here are some key takeaways from event’s technology tracks:

  • During the “Big Data & Smart Waste” session,Amity Lumper of Cascadia, Don Ross of Kessler Consulting, Jason Gates of Compology and Scott Lukach of Rehrig Pacific discussed what the growth of big data means for waste and recycling.
  • Ross kicked off the session with the quote, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.”He shed light on how data can be used for service verification, fleet and telematics, route optimization, bin volume, behavior tracking and smart cities. He also predicted that big data will be used for predictive service models, crowd-sourced pickups, demographic route planning, machine learning, the Internet of Things, and data visualization in the future.
  • Lukach made the case that big data is changing the way we live and how we communicate with each other.Changing times require a changing strategy, and big data can help with that. He also said that cities have reams of data, and they are thirsty for more in the digital age.
  • Gates gave a broad overview of Compology and its service offerings.In addition, he stated that “thanks to low costs and reliable sensible technologies, collecting data is no longer the hard part of the big data process.” Gates also commented that using a cloud-based architecture can give you more flexibility when it comes to managing your data.
  • The “The Digitalization of Waste & Recycling” session tackled how municipalities across the U.S. are beginning to embrace the “smart cities” movement—integrating data and technology to drive efficiency and respond to citizen demands.
  • “Hauling technology includes what we call ‘tech in trucks’ and big data platforms that enable dispatchers and operations professionals to optimize their assets; customer-facing technology provides visibility and customer service like never before; and sustainability technology provides verified diversion metrics, carbon tracking, and reporting—all as a foundation for sustainable change,” according to Michael Allegretti, head of public policy for Rubicon Global located in Atlanta.
  • Artificial intelligence, machine learning and autonomous vehicles are just some of the ways the waste industry is looking to evolve in the near future, but today, the “smart cities” movement is quickly revolutionizing what public works departments and sustainability officers at the municipal level can achieve, according to Allegretti.
  • “Digitalization means gathering more data, leading to better quantitative and qualitative analysis. By gathering data on our waste/recycling status quo, we'll be able to adjust and adapt our policy execution to be more effective and more efficient and hopefully more sustainable and resilient,” said Stephanie Stuckey, chief resilience officer for the City of Atlanta.
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