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Technology goes green in Australia

The tyranny of distance in Australia is being challenged by a business in Armidale that has blended four state-of-the-art technologies to create an innovative green solution.

Green TechnologyUsing sensors, powerful wireless connectivity, solar panels and cloud computing, RMTeK Pty Ltd has created RMCam, a green, cost-effective solution to monitor sites or assets through photography or telemetry data anywhere in Australia that has Telstra Next G network coverage.

“The scope of what can be achieved with these four elements is massive. It can free people from so many mundane tasks. Essentially, what we are offering is a remote, easy-to-operate brain in the field,” says Brendan Doyle, founder and managing director.

Reduced travel and power

In environmental terms, this means reduced travel for people needing to check sites, no need for power or grid connections on site because of the solar panels, and no need for communications cables thanks to the wireless broadband. All RMcams and data are also accessed through the cloud, meaning less need for the duplication of servers and other hardware on the client side.

One company using this technology is the Australian Rail Track Corporation, which has installed remote cameras, attached to motion sensors, on sections of its track to check for rock falls.

A businessman who is building apartments in Narrabri has set up a remote camera on an eight-foot pole to monitor the building site and a table for the workers to lay the plans out so he can discuss them from his office on the mobile phone, saving him a six-hour round trip. Gosford Council uses RMCam monitor to the quality of the local water flows and weather conditions, with MSS or email alerts if the sensors are triggered.

“All the technology we are using is going to improve exponentially in the coming years. For a sunburnt, low-density country like Australia, the possibilities are endless,” says Doyle.

Bamboo makes packaging kinder

An IT company that has been big on working greener for many years now is Dell. At the end of last year it started packing some of its netbooks in packaging made from bamboo. The highly renewable material serves as a great alternative to moulded paper pulp, foams and corrugate often used in packaging. Dell is using the material for the product cushions cradling its Inspiron Mini inside an outer box made from 25 percent post-consumer materials. The company plans to expand its use of bamboo packaging to more products this year.

This innovation is the latest expression of Dell’s commitment to minimising its impact on the planet. Beyond the material itself, Dell is working with bamboo packaging supplier Unisource Global Solutions (UGS) to ensure all processes associated with the bamboo’s production meet the highest standards. The company sources its raw bamboo from a forest that follows Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) principles and criteria. The bamboo forest is located in China’s Jiangxi Provence, far away from pandas’ known habitats. Dell is also working with UGS to secure FSC certification for the bamboo’s full chain of custody, from the forest to the manufacturing facilities.

Dell announced a plan to revolutionise computer packaging back in 2008. By 2012, Dell aims to reduce packaging volume by 10 percent, increase the amount of recycled content in packaging by 40 percent and increase the amount of materials in packaging that are curbside recyclable to 75 percent. To achieve these goals, the company is implementing a strategy based on the three C’s:

*Cube: How big is the box? Could it be smaller?

*Content: What is the packaging made of? Could it be made of something better?

*Curb: Is it easily recycled?

“The use of bamboo for electronics packaging is pretty new, but its viability as a great packaging material can’t be ignored,” said Oliver Campbell, Dell’s senior manager of packaging worldwide. “We’re introducing it with mobile products, as it’s proven a strong, sustainable and cost-effective solution for packaging those. We’re actively working to integrate this and other innovative, agricultural materials into packaging for products across our portfolio.”


Dell recovered almost 30 tonnes of recyclable computer equipment from across Canberra at a community recycling event at the end of last year.

The event, run by Dell and the Australia National University, invited residents to deposit computers, monitors and most IT accessories of any brand to its recycling drop-off point at ANU. The free event was one part in a series of recycling days run by Dell in cities nationwide.

“We are committed to promoting more environmentally friendly recycling methods by becoming the greenest technology company on the planet,” said Dell State Manager for ACT, Richard Jeremiah.

“Canberrans turned out in force and showed they are leaders in supporting a national effort to promote greener practices in the way we dispose of old products. We also had fantastic support from the ANU in attracting such a large response.”

Dell has been proactive in responding to the challenge of recycling electronics waste and has collected more than 170 tonnes of equipment in similar events across Australia and New Zealand in the past three years.

“It’s vital our sector leads national IT recycling efforts and provides a free, convenient and responsible service, including an auditing service, to ensure accountability in ethical recycling. We believe producers should be responsible for the products they put into the market throughout the lifespan of those products,” said Jeremiah.

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Jen Bishop

Jen Bishop

Jen was the publisher at Loyalty Media and editor of Dynamic Business, Australia's largest circulating small business magazine, from 2008 until 2012. She is now a full-time blogger at The Interiors Addict.

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