With a mission to redefine the waste sector by providing data to make waste collection more efficient, Nordsense was incepted. The Silicon Valley funded start-up is based in Copenhagen, Denmark and currently operates in Europe, Israel, and the USA. With over 25 years in the IT industry, CEO, Anders Engdal wants to turn the entire industry on its head, address the inefficiency issues and lack of sustainability within traditional waste management, and create software that gives a competitive edge to waste handlers. In an interview with Insights Success, Anders sheds light on how Nordsense is making the world’s waste collection greener, cleaner and smarter.
Below are the highlights of the interview:
What were the challenges Nordsense came since the foundation of the organization in 2015?
The main challenge Nordsense has faced is going from the infancy stage of technology to an enterprise solution – and building an organization around that. Back in 2015 when we first started, several cities wanted to be part of the smart city trend but didn’t fully understand what that would entail. The challenge is getting them to understand that this technology isn’t a gadget – it’s a scalable solution with far-reaching, transformative potential.
Being an experienced business leader, what is your opinion regarding the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Renewables & Environment Industry? And how has Nordsense managed to overcome this significant challenge?
We expect to emerge stronger than ever after COVID-19. The pandemic has shed light on our need for real-time data and the ability to react fast to changing behavior and patterns. COVID-19 has acted as a kind of tipping point for many waste authorities to take action and acquire smarter solutions that allow for real-time response. For example, with all of the lockdowns, there were huge changes in waste patterns, with residential waste generally overtaking street and commercial waste. These changes can be easily navigated and taken care of with the Nordsense solution. Plus, digitizing collection routes and waste processes in general during this uncertain time secures services against absenteeism, due to quarantine or illness, as new drivers and sanitation workers can get started immediately thanks to the technology.
What truth everyone needs to know about Smart Waste with IoT, Big Data, and Machine Learning?
It isn’t so much about the complexity of technology, how IoT works, or the intricacies of machine learning. It’s more about what the data can do for you and which worthwhile problems technology can help you solve. Ultimately, smart waste management fueled by IoT provides you with transparency – transparency around your own business processes and your customers’ or citizens’ needs. And this empowers you to approach your waste efforts in a data-driven way, enabling better and smarter decision-making.
What is your opinion on the advancements for Waste Management and Smart Waste to improve the offerings with newer technological developments, especially when it comes in building a positive environmental impact?
Technology and data have a responsibility to disrupt the status quo and contribute to societal improvements. Advancements in the waste management sector are by no means an exception. The world needs to make bold moves towards a circular economy and that entails a radical transformation of how we deal with waste. Data gives us an understanding of what kind of waste people are throwing away and how much of that waste can be turned into a reusable resource. We need to become more sustainable and efficient in our waste operations and data gathered from smart waste technology is just one tool that can help us on this journey. Data really is the key to turning waste into a resource.
In what ways have you or Nordsense contributed to the community? If given a chance, what change would you bring in the climate sector with Waste Management processes?
Nordsense has helped cities and municipalities across the globe take steps to become greener, cleaner, and smarter with their waste management. We’re proud to be working with local waste authorities in two leading C40 cities – cities which are noted for taking ambitious climate action. Our most recent work includes helping a major Californian city reduce overflowing waste by 80%, empowering a large UK waste authority to monitor and improve their food waste recycling initiatives, and enabling a Danish municipality to adapt their waste services and make significant cost savings in the face of COVID-19 lockdowns.
Where are you focusing your energy now, and where do you hope to make an impact next? what according to you could be the next big change in the Waste management and Environment Industry?
At Nordsense, we are focused on turning waste into a resource and kickstarting a digitalization and transparency transformation across the industry. The next big change in waste management is all about going digital and building a data hub – and most likely, the universal adoption of smart waste containers will play a part in that. There is no denying now that we live in a highly unpredictable world, where we need to be able to adapt and react fast to changing circumstances. This requires access to real-time data about our operations – something that sensor technology can provide. I truly believe an IoT powered waste sector is the future, because it enables us to become more efficient and agile, make data-driven decisions, and positively impact the sustainability and circular economy agenda.
What would be your advice to the up and coming business leaders aspiring to make an environmental impact on the world?
Establish your company around the goal of making a positive environmental impact, rather than only concerning yourself with driving profit. If you truly want to make a change in the environment sector and make an impact as an organization, your company must be based around the higher purpose of making the world a better place. In fact, this should come before your corporate revenue goals, because you aren’t just building a company – you are also trying to do something good for the environment. Keep your environmental purpose in mind and the financial benefits will follow.