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Piloting Digital Technology to Advance Recycling

03.06.2020, 14:10

Piloting Digital Technology to Advance Recycling

Veolia is trialling Nvirobot, a virtual voice assistant and smart speaker solution that provides area-specific information on recycling and waste, in 13 Council areas across London, Midlands and the North of England.


Clear and targeted communication has been proven to significantly improve recycling rates and service efficiency for homes and businesses. To further increase communication and advance use of digital technologies, 


The latest innovation follows the range of smart services to revolutionise city management and make urban services more efficient and the first user’s in this pilot programme will use their Amazon account with access to the Alexa app or an ECHO dot. The Nvirobot will respond based on the address the account is associated with, for example if the address is within the Watford borough, the bot will respond with the schedules associated with the postcode in Watford.


The bot will be serving the following areas in this first phase: Brent, Bromley, Camden, Croydon, Harlow, Kingston, Lambeth, Merton, Northampton, Sheffield, Southwark, Sutton and Watford. Initially the bot will be able to answer intents surrounding next waste collections such as ‘when is my recycling being collected’ and correct bin colours, such as ‘when is my black bin going out’. In future the bot is looking to have new features including advice on how busy the local recycling centre is, advice on materials that can be recycled, and reminders of when bins need to be collected. 


Commenting on this latest use of technology Stuart Stock, Veolia’s Chief Information Officer, says: “By harnessing the real power of today’s digital technologies we will be able to create ever more efficient services, maximise recycling, and lower carbon emissions. In this way this latest programme really highlights the progress that is being made, and how we are transforming the resource industry”.


To support local authorities and companies in their digital transformation, the company has previously designed smart waste collection solutions including electronic sensors and automating material collection and sorting processes. In this way Veolia has developed smart solutions capable of improving waste flow control and helps communities and businesses to recover more. For example new efficient routing based on road network aims to reduce collection route miles and avoid traffic sensitive areas to help ease congestion during collection times.

The municipal smart technology, known as ‘ECHO’ provides the ability to track vehicles, confirm tasks, change routes and add collections into the system in real-time, facilitating the delivery of a tailored service that can react to day-to-day occurrences.This also helps reduce contamination and curb fly tipping through a ‘Hotspotting ’ approach by supporting targeted education and engagement campaigns. 


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Staff Reporter covers the latest news, trends and opinion from the facilities management (FM) and corporate real estate (CRE) sectors. The FM market is currently estimated to be worth USD 1 trillion annually and is projected to grow at a compounded annualised rate of approximately 5% between now and 2026.

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