For issues that are now so common when we speak of urban areas, the amount of data that is available to understand both air and noise pollution issues is comparatively lacking. When it comes to air pollution, the UK performs comparatively well compared to other countries, with open data provided on air pollution monitoring sites across the country, as well as local air pollution monitoring reports being made available for free. Noise pollution exposure data is also made available for free.
There are a number of companies, local monitoring networks, academic institutions, non-governmental organisations, and even local volunteer groups who collect and analyse data of relevance to their objectives. Some of which is made available so that others can get a reasonable insight to help inform their decision making.
This gives the UK a good general basis on which to understand air and noise pollution issues. But this does not necessarily make for data that is useful for decision making. An often-stated fallacy of big data is that more data does not mean more insight if it is not collected and utilised for a useful purpose.
Current datasets that are available are useful for policy makers and for getting a good overall picture of air and noise pollution issues. For those operating fleets, however, it offers little in the way of useful insight.
Critical to developing Emsol’s platform has been engaging with those who have experience in making those decisions, to understand what data is useful to them and for what reason. We are fortunate enough to not only have this experience directly within the founding team, but also through our partners and a wider team of experts. These experts do not just have backgrounds in logistics, but also in air quality monitoring and research, intelligent transport systems, and environmental entrepreneurship.
The message that they have provided to us has been consistent and clear:
- Enabling operators to meet and exceed best practice. Industry best practice is not just to gain an award, or even kudos. Such standards are taken seriously within the freight and logistics industry. If the data provided does not enable decisions that allow operators to achieve these standards, then it counts for little.
- Real time information for immediate decisions, not just decisions after the fact. This sounds like common sense to many, but often the data required to allow this to happen simply does not exist. Also, if managers wish to enact change immediately, having access to emissions monitoring data in real time, and being notified of any potential breaches, is critical.
- Granularity when needed. In most cases, having a dashboard of real time data on air and noise pollution performance across a site or fleet is useful enough. But when breaches occur, that is when our sensor network comes into its own. Before deciding what to do, decision makers need to know where the breach occurred, when, for what vehicle, and why. This is so meaningful action can be taken based upon quality data, augmenting the experience and knowledge of the decision maker.
Emsol is not just building a platform or even a sensor network. What connects it all together is a web of relevant data (that is also augmented by useful data from external sources) that is the key to making sound management interventions.
But the solution that we are building as part of our Innovate UK project is just the start. What data and insight is relevant will change over time along with operational requirements, new technical standards, and the objectives of major players in the logistics market. But the solution that we are building is adaptable to any such future changes.
If this sounds like it is the right thing for you, get in touch!