ABB Wireless

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Trash Collectors Getting Out of the Dumps

It’s fascinating to discover new applications which sprout up once a city has a multi-use wireless IP mesh network in place. While we've heard alot about mobile workforce applications -- public safety, building inspectors, etc., one city has extended the concept to its Corp of Sanitation Engineers. At long last, workforce productivity trickles down to the largely ignored, much maligned, but longest standing (and very essential) member of the mobile workforce -- the garbage collector!

A city in the southeastern United States has put laptops and Tropos mobile routers in their garbage trucks to support a rather interesting application. It works like this, when the trash truck comes by a pick-up and sees a large pile of yard waste, like that dead tree you finally got around to ripping out last Saturday, the trash technician hits a button on the laptop, which records the GPS lat/long. A message gets sent over the wireless network alerting the green waste garbage truck to the location of a pick-up. Not only are the workers able to be more efficient, saving the city over-time pay, fuel cost and wear-and-tear on the trucks, but it enables real-time monitoring of the location and activities of vehicles.

While this is a clever little application for a workforce no one usually associates with being IT savvy, it never the less, is an application which generates real, and very measurable, cost savings for the city.

With shrinking tax revenues, an every increasing wave of green and clean regulation, and carbon footprint mandates on the horizon, it is encouraging to see a city take trash collection out of the dumps and into the limelight of cutting-edge IT technology.

Tom Blais

Director Product Management