IBM Cloud Functions powers the “Internet of Garbage”

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The “Internet of Garbage” doesn’t refer to all the ridiculous and inane things one might find on social media. It’s literally about garbage trucks with sensors.

GreenQ has installed sensors on trucks to gather real-time data to optimize the waste collection process. When a waste bin is picked up, the sensors on the truck measure the amount of garbage inside the container and monitor the time and location of the pick-up.

There’s a cloud-based system that collects, analyzes and displays the real-time data and analytics. GreenQ calls it the Internet of Garbage.

The Internet of Garbage foundation

As the company grew, the amount of data and the need for computing power grew.

GreenQ participated in the IBM Alpha Zone accelerator program, which is a 20-week professional and deep immersion program for developing solutions for the enterprise market. The program, run out of the IBM Israel office, aims to create long-term technology partnerships between IBM and the participants.

GreenQ migrated to the scalable IBM Bluemix infrastructure, the heart of which is IBM Cloud Functions, an on-demand, serverless platform.

Working with IBM Cloud Functions (formerly known as IBM OpenWhisk) on Bluemix will enable GreenQ to add more capabilities to its system in the future, such as Watson for cognitive computing and visual recognition.

GreenQ Internet of Garbage Bluemix

Improved service and route planning

GreenQ helps its customers do the same job for less cost or use the same budget to provide a better quality of service. Data is shared over web-based dashboard or a mobile app to provide better insight into waste collection, whether it be when the truck is arriving or garbage is being separated.

Customers can see all the trucks on a live map. They can see the routes and what’s collected. They will receive automatic, online notifications if there are problems on the route, enabling them to give better service to the residents. For example, if a particular resident produces less trash, their waste management provider may choose to offer a lower rate on waste collection fees.

Additionally, alternate routes can be calculated that will help trash trucks avoid adding to traffic congestion in the morning or interrupting bus service to schools.

Analytics for optimization

Clients can analyze data about a particular bin, a neighborhood or the entire city. They can decide whether they want to optimize the routes to save mileage or prevent traffic congestion, give better service to residents or reduce emissions. GreenQ uses the Internet of Garbage to pull together data about these things, calculate them and offer recommendations for how to optimize the waste collection.

It might be a matter different routing, different scheduling, different waste bin mapping or what trucks are used. GreenQ has started testing Watson visual recognition technology into the implementation. There is a camera on the truck that takes a picture of the waste bin during the collection to get better and more accurate real-time information about what is happening during the waste pickup process. It is something that is expected to be in production in the near future.

Read the case study for more information.

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