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Data, software, Internet of Things, artificial intelligence – this is what the new REMONDIS Innovation Hub (RIH) is all about. Set up as a separate department in the Business Development division run by Sven Averhage, it comprises five young colleagues who meet in a co-working space in Hamburg to assess and realise ideas to enhance current REMONDIS services or to introduce new ones.
“RIH’s primary goal is to develop marketable solutions. That means that we’re not simply looking at testing new technologies but at implementing ideas that will offer REMONDIS some genuine digital advantages and add value to its business,” explained Dr Felix Thiele. Together with Johannes Schön and Daniel Natrup, it was he who launched RIH last year. The team has already created its first marketable product – its DataFleet project – which is being marketed by the newly founded firm, REMONDIS Digital Services GmbH. Other projects are focusing on subjects such as AI-based analyses of video material from sewer inspections and the use of data analyses to optimise pumping stations as well as setting up a dynamic route planning system using sensors measuring bin fill levels. Finding ways of identifying outthrow material in organic waste bins using a combination of optical and digital technology and artificial intelligence is also on their to-do list. What’s more, this team of digital experts has also been helping to further develop the international skip and container services platform, Redooo.
Dr Felix Thiele, RIH
To realise its projects, RIH has often found itself collaborating with external specialist firms and start-up businesses – potentially creating opportunities to invest in young, up-and-coming companies. To make this possible, the department has generated its own directory that lists all start-ups around the world that operate in one or more of REMONDIS’ business divisions (recycling, water and services). The team is, therefore, also the first port of call for in-house ideas and external start-ups as well as for other companies that wish to contact REMONDIS about innovative subjects. Just recently, for example, REMONDIS purchased a share in Westphalia DataLab in Münster. This company, which employs around 50 people, is looking at ways of using software to make the benefits of artificial intelligence available to everyone. And their prospects are obviously good: RWTH Aachen University’s Smart Services Center recently named this Münster-based firm a “Champion of Machine Learning”.