Look, No Cash!

To address the issue of metal theft, the government has amended various bills to implement a cashless system for purchasing in the scrap metal industry. Here I look into the implication of this and how companies need to focus on their IT systems to make it happen, particularly in light of key exceptions.

Metal theft has rapidly become a scourge on our industry, with public sympathy focusing on the victims and eyeing anyone involved in the industry with distrust. The recent amendments to the Bill announced in May and due to come into force in August are generally welcomed in the industry as they offer scrap metal merchants the opportunity to confirm their honesty and integrity. However, the system won’t be foolproof as the Government has had to provide exemptions for itinerant scrap metal collectors who often have no way of receiving payment via any other means than cash. Continue reading

Technology: the strong arm of the law?

It’s a long time since the metal trade made the news with such regularity. From the tap-rooms in local pubs all the way up to the Houses of Parliament, the discussion around metal theft has never been so vociferous. Metal theft has become a national issue and Jason Fazackerley discusses how technology is leading the fight to combat it.

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Top 5 Technologies for Recycling & Sustainable Energy Companies in 2012

Out with the Old, in with the New

For many businesses, investment in new IT has been somewhat low on the list of essentials over the last year or two. Despite this, in the hi-tech world, the likes of Microsoft, Apple and Google have seen the pace of new developments increase further and faster than ever before. Jason Fazackerley takes a look at why many businesses now have an Top Technologies for 2012opportunity to take advantage of newer technologies. Can these technologies bring real commercial benefit and allow them to make 2012 a springboard to success? And if some IT budget becomes available, where should IT Directors and CIO’s spend it? Continue reading

5 key technologies that will have most impact on the recycling industry over the coming year

1) Virtualisation (also known as The Cloud!)

Virtualisation, incorporating Cloud Computing, will bring significant benefits to companies that need the flexibility to grow and/or contract their workforce whilst paying only for the software and services they use. This is suited to the dynamic businesses we see, particularly in the EfW arena. An additional and significant benefit is that this type of computing infrastructure can reduce the carbon footprint massively compared with traditional in-house environments with multiple servers and dedicated computer rooms.

2) E-business
We’ve seen consumers shift their buying habits from the high street to the web over the last decade, but many businesses fail to take full advantage of the e-business opportunities. More so than in many other industry sectors, recycling & waste management companies perform a substantial amount of their business transactions using contractors and other 3rd parties. This results in a huge number of human interactions (phone, email, post, fax) that could be automated using XML (an electronic instruction or document standard) based around agreed business rules. Removing the unnecessary overhead of repetitive tasks and deploying your information workers to perform value-add activities can increase your company’s performance hugely.

3) Unified Communications
Products such as Microsoft Exchange and Outlook have transformed the way we work. But with the addition of Microsoft Office Communication Server and Live Meeting you can bring instant messaging, presence information, Voice over IP and Video Conferencing to your business at very low cost. The ability to instantly respond, act and resolve takes away some of the frustrations of email overload. Live Meeting and the Video Conferencing that it supports is highly effective to organisations with staff working across multiple sites or from home. Again, this improves the pace at which an organisation operates and reduces cost (and carbon footprint) accordingly.

4) Solid State Drive
We have all experienced the benefits of memory sticks, SD cards etc. The development in solid state memory means that the days of the traditional spinning hard-drive are numbered. Solid State drives can be many times quicker than their moving predecessor resulting in faster running applications, and quicker analysis of data. In addition, they are now becoming quite affordable and therefore much more prevalent.

5) Green Computing
This is a huge area and a few hardware, software and systems integrators are taking the lead. Looking at the whole-life environmental impact of IT solutions is going to be as big to major IT vendors as the CO2/km measure is to motor manufacturers and consumers.