Earlier this month European Communications reported that Telecom Italia Mobile, along with two partners, won a deal to manage waste tracking and management with the Italian government. As well as cloud computing, TIM will also provide a vehicle tracking service. This enables route optimisation for the garbage trucks. This can result in a considerable saving for the waste management company.
Waste management, unlike internet fridges and some other high profile useless IoT applications, is a necessity. Albeit a very mundane one. But it could be one of many IoT applications that telcos (sorry, digital service providers) can provide solutions for. Increasingly local councils and governments are trying to get people to reduce the amount of garbage they put out for collection. In several countries pay by weight is now the norm. But the garbage will still be collected every week – regardless of how much is in the bin. This is a step in the right direction, but still not very efficient.
Digital service providers could work with waste management companies to place sensors in the bins that can tell when a bin is full. Tie the results of these sensors into a vehicle tracking and management system and the result is that bins are collected when they’re full. Tie this in with pay by weight and you’ve got a more efficient and equitable waste management system. The digital service providers can work with IoT partners to provide such solutions and open new revenue streams.
As all aspects of society become digitised we’ll see new IoT opportunities emerge. Refuse collection and waste management is just one example. There will be many, many others and the opportunities will come thick and fast. How well the digital service providers perform in grasping these opportunities will depend on many factors. One of them will be their business support systems. Will we see a time when a service provider’s rating system needs to charge a household for kilograms of garbage, as well as voice minutes, or videos watched and so on? Maybe it’s time to have a look at existing systems and ask the question if they can handle the diversity and speed that IoT opportunities could present.
As we have seen from the example of Telecom Italia winning a contract for waste management, the opportunities for service providers to make money from IoT is starting to happen now.