Illegal dumping is a significant issue for local governments and municipalities. Not only is it a public health issue, it also is a threat to the environment, contaminating soil and nearby waterways. Often, it is costly to prevent, monitor, enforce and clean up illegal dumping sites, with the main challenge being the time and resources needed to capture those doing the dumping.
Recently, an artificial intelligence (AI) provider launched a cost-effective approach to monitor and deter illegal dumping utilizing smartphone technology.
Based in Sydney, SenSen Networks provides data-driven business process enhancement solutions. Dr. Subhash Challa, CEO at SenSen Networks, said he believes this new solution is a game changer for governments, cities and municipalities.
“Cities worldwide look to provide their citizens with a number of civic services, including ensuring cities are safe and clean to live in. Technology is greatly enhancing the services cities can provide, but the cost of today’s specialist equipment and technology is prohibitively expensive for most cities in the world,” said Challa in a statement. “We wanted to change that and make these solutions affordable, accessible and reliable to every city all over the globe.”
Waste360 recently sat down with Michael Doherty, director of sales and marketing at SenSen Networks, to discuss the new app and its impact on the waste and recycling industry in the U.S.
Waste360: What is the Gemineye app?
Michael Doherty: Gemineye is an AI-powered app aimed at helping cities worldwide tackle issues such as illegal dumping. It does so by providing governments with an affordable, accurate, cloud-based smart city platform in the palm of their hands.
Using the latest smartphone technology, the app provides a smart monitoring solution for governments, utilizing the smartphone’s camera and processor. The app enables councils and governments to monitor the environment in which it is placed, tracking and analyzing the data it receives from the smartphone’s camera.
It is designed to make complex and expensive smart city analysis solutions, which have traditionally required expensive camera equipment, affordable and accessible, by delivering the same intelligence and services at a much lower cost.
Waste360: How does the Gemineye app work?
Michael Doherty: The way the app works is simple. Municipalities or government operators select the service they require through the Gemineye smartphone app. The smartphone will then begin to analyze feeds from its sensors and cameras in real time, utilizing SenSen’s proprietary AI-powered software. SenSen will then identify activities of people, vehicles of interest and assets of relevance to the city and upload this data to their smart city cloud infrastructure in real time.
Waste360: What is the technology behind it?
Michael Doherty: Put simply, a smartphone. The phone’s camera is used to capture data. The app then utilizes the compute power of the smartphone to conduct analysis, leveraging our artificial intelligence software, before sending the relevant information to SenBOS—SenSen’s dynamic back office system, which receives app data and processes it in real time to generate valuable insights.
Waste360: How will this technology benefit the waste and recycling industry?
Michael Doherty: Gemineye will help tackle the huge government issue of illegal dumping. Illegal dumping is a threat to our environment as well as our health, not to mention it costs taxpayers millions to prevent, enforce, monitor and clean.
Essentially, Gemineye allows you to monitor a target area and set the activity you need to identify, such as a spillage, illegal dumping or key asset. The app will then notify the relevant parties in real time once it detects that activity, enabling action to be taken to mitigate the issue immediately.
By providing cities with an affordable and intelligent solution to automate monitoring and enforcement, Gemineye will help keep our cities cleaner, modern and livable. It also could ensure all waste is directed to the appropriate facilities, such as recycling centers and tips.
Waste360: What challenges have you faced in implementing this technology?
Michael Doherty: It goes without saying that taking technology, which is costly to implement, and making it accessible via a smartphone app is no easy feat.
This breakthrough technology is something we have been working on for a long time, as well as a significant investment in R&D [research and development], but we are really proud to say we’ve done it. The end product is just as reliable, accessible and easy to use as we imagined, offering an affordable smart city infrastructure monitoring application with enormous potential.
Waste360: What is the cost to use/upload the app?
Michael Doherty: This varies on a case-by-case basis, but what we can say is Gemineye is a significantly cheaper solution for cities, compared to technology such as CCTV [closed-circuit television, or video surveillance], which normally costs cities millions of dollars to implement.
Waste360: How else can the app be used in the future?
Michael Doherty: We believe the possibilities of Gemineye are virtually endless, from using it to allow retailers to track their stores and foot traffic, to allowing manufacturers to monitor and advise on efficiencies.
The potential for the waste industry lies in streamlining manual labor and increasing efficiency and cleanliness of our cities and facilities. For instance, the AI powering the platform could intelligently identify recyclable versus non-recyclable material on a conveyor belt or in a tip and determine the appropriate course of action for workers.
For smart city solutions, features such as asset mapping, traffic and road management and policing can make implementing smart city technologies possible. Not only that, but public and private sector organizations can leverage smart AI-powered analytics to deliver a better level of service.
Waste360: What other process automation services do you offer related to waste and recycling?
Michael Doherty: Gemineye is initially launched with two features—parking enforcement and real-time illegal dumping detection. We are currently working on a number of new features to bring affordable analysis solutions to cities worldwide, whether that is in relation to recycling and waste, police enforcement, mapping or traffic management.