Bury Council binmen trucks kitted out with iPads

Chalk up another iPad #win for the enterprise!

I like a good “iPad’s now being used by…” story, however this one most certainly caught my attention on quite a few fronts. Let’s hear from The Telegraph:

The tablet computers will be mounted on dashboards and used to guide binwagon drivers around new routes. The devices will also be used to compile a list of which residents dont recycle and who needs assistance in putting bins out. Waste bosses say the devices will help improve collection rates and customer service, and boost recycling.

via Council binmen given iPads to keep track of non-recyclers – Telegraph.

It’s a nigh-on perfect newspaper story, brilliantly timed for the bank holiday, when most people across the land will be wondering if they’re going to have to wait another two weeks to get their bins emptied.

It’s a perfect story because there are two semi relevant opposing viewpoints. One: Efficiency. Stick an iPad in the bin truck and all of a sudden, you can track what the team are doing. You can garner a wealth of statistics, not just the customer-facing ones. If used correctly, the information gleaned could be significantly insightful for the management and the binmen themselves.

The iPad makes sense. Simple. Cheap. Standardised. It’s a commodity item in the context of a £15,000 custom-made ‘mobile computer’. And it’s ultra easy to use.

The opposing view is rather straight-forward. Why not get the binmen to use a pen and a bit of paper — that doesn’t run out of battery. iPads-in-the-bin-truck can put folk in mind of binmen surfing the web or playing Angry Birds when they’re meant to be carting away your rubbish. And if you’ve recently had your bin rounds extended from weekly to every two weeks, news that your local council is splashing out on wads of iPads might not be welcome.

For me though, with the odd minor exception, I always vote in favour of progressive use of technology.

By the way: American? For ‘bin’ read ‘trash’.

By Ewan

Ewan is Founder and Editor of Mobile Industry Review. He writes about a wide variety of industry issues and is usually active on Twitter most days. You can read more about him or reach him with these details.

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