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5 Reasons to Use Technology to Solve Complex Environmental Problems

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Like many other sectors, the environmental industry is moving towards deeper technology adoption. This has the potential to change incumbent business models that have stood for decades. At Ambisense we believe that weaving technology into the traditional environmental consulting business model will not only make companies more efficient but will deliver better client outcomes. In the deeply competitive consulting world, both are highly valuable sources of competitive advantage. Here are 5 Reasons to Use Technology to Solve Complex Environmental Problems:

#1. Deeper Insight at Lower Cost

Bigger datasets can generate much deeper insight

The falling price of sensors and the ubiquitous nature of internet connectivity means that the cost per data-point is falling exponentially. Remotely deployed instruments can, therefore, generate big datasets at a fraction of the cost.

#2. Switch Time from Acquiring to Analysing

Historically, consultants have spent almost as much time acquiring data (field visits, assembling lab reports, downloading information from loggers) as analysing it. The acquisition of information is very much pulled rather than push. Modern technology platforms reverse that model.

Data from remotely deployed sensor platforms can be received, manipulated and displayed using simple graphing software, all with minimal staff involvement allowing consultants to spend their time analysing the data rather than acquiring it.

#3. Save Time on Report Delivery

Client report delivery is usually a long process – you have to wait until you get the field data back, analyse and compile your report. By using remotely deployed instruments, you can assemble large datasets with speed, allowing you to examine field data quickly and in real-time.

Characterising site behaviour can then begin immediately and not only when information is retrieved from a logger. This can literally save weeks in terms of delivery of reports to clients.

#4. Enable Clients to Move Quickly Through Planning and Approval

Technology can help you predict the future! Well, that might be stretching it but there is no doubt that assembling a large dataset over a number of months will reveal a lot more about a site than relying on spot monitoring samples alone.

Modelling and predictive analytics tools can be utilised to enable consultants to predict likely behaviour of a variety of contaminants, all of which can smooth the regulatory pathways and enable clients to move through planning and approval cycles quickly

#5. Protect Your Clients

Ultimately consultants protect their clients from issues relating to environmental performance and pollution. Incorporating new technologies can greatly improve this aspect of service delivery. For example, real-time data lets you see instant alerts of e.g. pollution events, thus enabling the client to take action immediately.

Due to the complex nature of the tasks undertaken, technology will always be a tool to be used to supplement rather than replace the work done by environmental consultants. The trick, therefore, is to choose technologies and solutions that will improve efficiency, minimise non-value added work and ultimately deliver better outcomes for clients.

WOW! This article was amazing - I want to read the next one as soon as it's written


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Steve Wilson

Steve specialises in the investigation, assessment and mitigation of ground gas and hydrocarbon vapours and is an Accredited Risk Assessor (ASoBRA) for permanent gases and vapour intrusion (he also acts as a scrutineer for the scheme) . He has written several key technical papers on this subject and has contributed to recent CIRIA, British Standards and Chartered Institute of Environmental Health guidance on ground gas assessment and mitigation. He was a member of the drafting committee for BS8567, Guidance on sampling of ground gas and the 2015 update of BS8485 on gas protection design (with 2019 amendment). He advises local authorities in the UK on planning, Part IIA and other issues relating to ground and landfill gas. He has completed several Part IIa risk assessments in relation to the risk of gas migration from landfill sites towards existing buildings, including options appraisals and mitigation design. He has designed numerous vent trench and barrier systems to prevent ground gas migration. He has recently completed work into the effects of flooding on landfill gas risk and looking at landfill permit surrender guidance in the UK. Steve has acted as an expert witness in court cases involving landfill or ground gas migration in the UK and Australia and for a site in Bangladesh where a gas exploration well had blown out. He has been involved in the design of gas and VOC mitigation measures for sites around the world affected by gas from various sources including mine workings. This has included retrofit schemes for existing buildings affected by gas ingress. He also provides expert support on ground gas to several Licensed or Accredited Contaminated Sites Auditors in Australia.