Silent but very attentive is the new passenger in REMONDIS’ waste collection vehicles: the Echtnetz Box. It has been measuring mobile phone reception in the district of Coesfeld, Germany, since the beginning of the year. “Despite the generally very good mobile phone coverage in the district, there are gaps in coverage – especially with LTE, which is important for data transmission. With the help of the measurements, we find out exactly where the radio gaps and expansion needs are,” explains District Administrator, Dr Christian Schulze Pellengahr.
Two of these boxes are on tour every day. They are located on the dashboard of the waste collection vehicles, do not need to be operated and can be supplied with power via a USB connection or cigarette lighter. Over the course of the year, they will measure the mobile phone reception in every street in the district of Coesfeld that is served by REMONDIS. Data, which will then be available to the District of Coesfeld and wfc Wirtschaftsförderung Kreis Coesfeld GmbH via a protected GIS platform, will form the basis for talks with the mobile phone providers Telekom, Vodafone and Telefónica. “The actual mobile phone coverage is often not as good as the network operators indicate,” explains Dr Jürgen Grüner, Managing Director of wfc Wirtschaftsförderung Kreis Coesfeld GmbH. “The data that the real network boxes provide us with meet the quality standards of the mobile network operators and are also very comprehensive. We can use it to provide the operators with detailed evidence of where expansion needs and radio gaps exist – with the aim of convincing them to further expand mobile reception and close radio gaps in the Coesfeld district.”
The fact that the necessary data can be collected so easily is thanks to an innovation from STF ITech GmbH in Dülmen. “Until now, there were only two options for measuring mobile reception: expensive, elaborate measurement trips by specialised providers with high-quality equipment on selected roads or simple measurement apps for smartphones with which you can drive down the roads yourself,” explains Frédéric Dildei, member of the management board of STF ITech GmbH. “However, the measurement apps have only very low acceptance among mobile phone operators, because many imponderables play into it: Where was the smartphone during the measurement? Was there still a protective cover around it? What criteria were used to switch between technologies or networks?
Smart solutions in waste collection
The “Echtnetz Box” solves the dilemma. “It provides a comprehensive, valid database, but works completely independently, so that anyone can take it with. We therefore considered who would be driving on all roads in the district as comprehensively as possible anyway and quickly came up with waste collection. This eliminates the need for additional time-consuming, cost-intensive and environmentally damaging measurement trips, but the collected data is still of high quality,” explains Sebastian Schulze Baek, Gigabit Coordinator of the Coesfeld district.
It was therefore a matter of course for REMONDIS to take the boxes along. “We are pleased to be able to contribute in a simple and uncomplicated way to improving mobile phone reception in the district of Coesfeld. We also benefit from the best possible reception if we want to implement smart solutions for waste collection,” explained Julia Hadrossek, branch manager at REMONDIS Coesfeld.
(from left): Frederik Dildei (stf Gruppe), Peter Brunsbach (REMONDIS), Sebastian Schulze Baek (wfc Kreis Coesfeld), Markus Gerding (driver REMONDIS), Dr Christian Schulze Pellengahr (District Administrator Kreis Coesfeld), Dr Jürgen Grüner (wfc/Economic Promotion Coesfeld), Julia Hadrossek (REMONDIS).
Image credits: image 1: © REMONDIS