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Smart bins to clean up Tasmanian city

The not-too-distant future of Hobart, Tasmania is full of endless possibilities and one of those is the use of smart bins.

According to a recent report released, the smart bins are called such because they are able to figure out when they are full.

The bins that will be used for this trial are not new. Existing bins in Hobart City Council in Sandy Bay will be installed with sensors.

The sensors will work on a low-power and long-range network known as LoRaWAN, which underpins multiple types of smart technology.

Although Hobart is not one of the first cities in Australia to be completely covered by the LoRaWan network, the Hobart City Council decided that a waste management strategy would be the perfect way to trial it.

LoRaWAN is a media access control (MAC) protocol for wide area networks.

It is designed to allow low-powered devices to communicate with Internet-connected applications over long range wireless connections.

The sensors that will be attached to the bins would sit in them and send back information on how full they are. This Smart City Strategy will definitely aid in cleaning up the city.

The project would entail a better deployment of the bins as this will be able to forecast where the bins are, pinpointing the locations that needed more bins and those that do not.

Moreover, this is not about how often the bins are emptied, but more on how often they are utilised and how they can be maximised.

A range of different sensors are being tested by the Council. Some would provide information whether they might be full already.

Some would send information if someone drops a cigarette butt and causes a fire or if someone has fish and chips or fresh fish, which may be causing offensive smells.

The sort of information it may give out can be something like ‘this bin needs attention despite being outside of the usual bin collection schedule’.

The pilot stage of the project will see between 10 – 20 bins in Sandy Bay that are going to be installed with sensors.

Each of the sensors costs A$ 200 at the moment, while the gateways for the network are approximately A$ 5,000.

For the pilot project, three gateways will be installed but it is estimated that around 15 gateways are needed to cover the whole city of Hobart.

The council is hoping that a Federal Government grant called the “Smart Cities and Suburbs Grant” will take some of the pressure off, which will find out in November.

The Smart City Strategy is open for consultation until the end of the year. Suggestions for other upgrades are welcome as the possibilities are endless.

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