IoT Blog
IoT Blog

Octave Customer Spotlight: How Axibio Uses the IoT to Facilitate Smart Biowaste Management

by Benoit Tournier, Director of Marketing, Transportation
Last year, Sierra Wireless previewed Octave™, our new all-in-one edge-to-cloud solution for connecting industrial assets to the cloud. Octave enables companies to securely extract, orchestrate, and act on data from their industrial equipment to their cloud infrastructure – opening up a world of possibilities for innovative new Internet of Things (IoT) applications.

Case in point: The clever folks at French company Axibio, who are developing smart biowaste management solutions that can help municipalities and individuals alike to transform biowaste into compost and clean biogas.

Given the European Union’s passage in 2018 of a Circular Economy Package (CEP) requiring all member states to increase recycling and phase out landfilling – and to sort biowaste from other forms of waste by 2023 – Axibio’s biowaste management solution is more than just a way to encourage greener waste disposal practices: it’s a way to ensure compliance with new regulatory requirements, and enable new business models for garbage tax management, from “pay flat tax” to “pay as you throw” and ultimately “earn as you throw”, to encourage virtuous recycling behaviors.

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A Bin with a Brain

The foundation of Axibio’s solution is the Gaïabox™, its smart biowaste collector. These waste bins are located in residential neighborhoods, where individuals and businesses can deposit organic biowaste, such as food scraps, and other compostable items. After biowaste is collected in the Gaïabox, it is picked up and transported by trucks to the nearest Gaïacenter, where it is transformed into compost and biogas.

Here’s the smart part: the Gaïabox can determine the weight of the biowaste collected every time someone uses it, and then record this data to that user’s account. This traceability – the ability to understand exactly who is depositing organic waste, and how much they’re depositing – incentivizes virtuous recycling behavior because municipalities can offer rewards and credits to households and businesses who are doing their part to support a circular economy. 

This capability sets the stage for a shift from the traditional “Pay as You Throw” waste disposal model, where individuals and businesses are charged for the amount of garbage they generate, to an “Earn as You Throw” model, where they can be rewarded for their ecologically conscious behavior. 

Shortening the “To-do” List for Deploying Smart Biowaste Management Solution

When an individual approaches a Gaïabox, they use an RFID or NFC tag reader to identify themselves, and deposit their organic waste, which is then weighed. The Gaïabox dutifully records all of this information – but, how does Axibio get that data from its Gaïaboxes to the cloud?

This is where Octave comes in.

Octave greatly simplifies one of the key challenges of any IoT project, which is building out the IoT infrastructure itself. Rather than trying to connect edge devices, cellular services, and device and connectivity management solutions from multiple vendors, Axibio opted to use Sierra all-in-one edge-to-cloud solution to build out the IoT infrastructure for their smart biowaste management solution. Octave also enables the extraction of data from a variety of sensors, microprocessors, and automation protocols, normalizing all this data after it is extracted. These capabilities allowed Axibio to focus on building their IoT application, rather than the infrastructure needed to support the application.

Octave also provides an intelligent approach to orchestrating their IoT data. In its first year, Axibio expects to deploy approximately 100 Gaïaboxes – each of them able to generate a massive amount of data. Octave allows Axibio to securely extract, orchestrate, and act on data from all this equipment to the cloud, while also using their IoT application to efficiently manage their Gaïaboxes.

Traditionally, data is processed and filtered in the cloud, but for companies like Axibio, which have a large number of machines deployed across multiple locations, the data needs to be processed and filtered at the edge, before it enters the cloud. This not only reduces data transmission costs, it also ensures that the cloud application is not overwhelmed by too much data. Octave provides Axibio with a common JavaScript framework that democratizes data processing both at the edge and at the cloud – ensuring that they get the right data, at the right time, with the right priority, to the right system.

Crucially, Octave does all this without consuming a lot of power. Octave utilizes new LPWA (Low Power Wide Area) technologies that are more energy-efficient in connecting to cellular networks and transmitting data than other cellular technologies. Since each Gaïabox has a battery charged by solar panels, this is no small matter: LPWA helps ensure that the Gaïabox doesn’t run through its battery power too quickly. 

Octave further benefits Axibio by providing them with a simple, transparent, and predictable pricing model for their IoT application cellular connectivity. One of the biggest barriers companies face in planning a new IoT application is estimating connectivity costs. Standard cellular plans are designed around megabyte consumption and for a company embarking on an IoT project for the very first time, it’s hard to estimate precisely how many megabytes of data their assets would be transmitting to the cloud. Compared to cellular carriers, Octave offers a pricing model that is more flexible and better aligned with the needs of companies like Axibio. With Octave, pricing isn’t based around megabytes – rather, customers pay based on the number of messages and data points they want transmitted to the cloud. This transparency allows Axibio to calculate exactly how much its IoT application’s connectivity will cost – allowing them to develop and validate their business model with confidence. 

IoT Data-Driven Transformation Starts Now

As Axibio and their Gaïabox demonstrates, a world of creativity and innovation is unleashed when companies have an all-in-one platform for connecting industrial equipment to the cloud, and they are free to focus on turning their visionary ideas for IoT applications into reality.

Start with Sierra to learn more about how Octave allows you to focus on your IoT data rather than your IoT infrastructure, while also simplifying and de-risking your IoT deployment, enabling you to thrive in the connected economy.