Rubicon’s mission is to end waste. One priority in this mission is improving the waste management operations of cities and municipalities across the United States.  

To this end, Rubicon’s integration with Samsara is vital to accomplishing this goal. Rubicon’s Senior Vice President of Smart Cities, Conor Riffle, spoke with Samsara’s Senior Director of Product Management, Christopher Mozzocchi, about how the two companies’ partnership has transformed waste management, and how they envision their work together shaping the future of waste and recycling collection. 

The video can be watched in its entirety below, followed by a transcript of Conor and Christopher’s remarks, which have been lightly edited for clarity.

Can you tell us about the Rubicon/Samsara partnership? 

Conor Riffle: Over the past few years, Samsara has been providing telematics and other services to many cities across the U.S. [Our partnership is] a great fit because Samsara can provide strong technology to the entire fleet. It’s a great complement to Rubicon’s expertise in the waste and recycling space. Waste and recycling is a very challenging logistical endeavor for many cities; it’s very expensive for many cities, often waste and recycling can be one of the top five costs that a city faces. As a result, it’s great to bring Rubicon’s expertise in lowering the cost of waste and recycling collection together with Samsara’s excellent track record in delivering technology to help cities get a better handle on their entire fleet and how they can deliver the best value for their residents and citizens. We’re delighted to be doing this partnership. We’re looking forward to many successes ahead.   

Christopher Mozzocchi: Waste and recycling collection is an incredibly complex operation. Adding to that, citizens’ and customers’ expectations are higher than ever, and resources—drivers—are getting shorter in supply. Because of all this, real-time data and insights are critical to ensure public services are running smoothly. From our vantage point, this partnership is exciting because it provides that complete visibility to both current and new customers in ways that previously weren’t possible by combining routing insights, sensor data, [and] video-based safety, all in one consolidated platform. Our shared customers can maximize their productivity and promote more sustainable business practices. With both of our companies innovating at the pace we do, within our respective areas, the combined output of the partnership [is] we provide the best technology in the market for our shared customers. 

How will Samsara’s camera technology complement Rubicon’s smart city product when integrated into waste and recycling fleets? 

CR: If you’re a waste and recycling director, your main focus is making sure waste and recycling is collected on time and making sure your people are safe while they’re doing it. What Samsara’s cameras will bring to the table is more visibility into both. So, any waste and recycling director would love to see what is going on in the field while their drivers are going about their daily operations. And these cameras provide direct visibility for waste and recycling directors to be able to see that. 

Turn-by-turn directions are frequent requests of fleets looking to roll out complex urban routing and waste collection operations. How does this partnership make Rubicon’s turn-by-turn directions capabilities even stronger? 

CM: Retaining, hiring, and up-scaling drivers is a huge challenge for fleets today. Turn-by-turn directions are critical to drivers’ daily workflows. That helps new drivers become more efficient and effective. It helps even more tenured drivers improve the efficiency of their operations. We know turn-by-turn directions are only as good as the GPS. That’s why from Samsara’s standpoint, we’re excited to work with [Rubicon] and partner with you in feeding the GPS this real-time, accurate view of the vehicle into your technology so you can offer those turn-by-turn directions to improve the driver experience. 

Finally, how do you see this technology evolving in the next five to ten years with regard to waste and recycling fleets? 

CM: That’s a fantastic question. At Samsara, we’re really excited about not only the promise of technology and improving fleets and fleet operations in cities and municipalities, but also our ability to serve these organizations and work with world-class partners like Rubicon to help get there. I think there’s tons of opportunities for technology advancements in their industry, especially when it comes to supporting these initiatives around recycling, composting, more efficient waste management, [and] so on and so forth. Specifically, we anticipate the industry to incorporate additional technology, such as sensor data for real-time dumpster tracking, or even things like side cameras for trash and empty confirmation. Those are things that could help make waste and recycling management operations that much more efficient and visible to both administrators and also citizens. 

CR: I’ll just speak to two things that I think are going to be very helpful for municipal operations going forward.  

One is improving the sustainability and the power of recycling. Right now, one of the big things that’s dragging a lot of municipal departments down and especially their recycling programs is the amount of contamination we’re finding in their recycling streams, but fleet vehicles can play a really important role in detecting that contamination. If we can equip fleet vehicles and waste and recycling trucks with the right technology, they can do things like begin to detect contamination in the recycling stream before the truck arrives at the materials recovery facility (MRF). This can be really powerful because it can keep contamination out of the MRF, it can keep it out of the landfill stream, and it can make sure that any recycling stream that arrives at the MRF is a clean one, and it can ensure it can be sold for the most amount of money, which is critical to making the economics of recycling work. That’s one really big area [in which] I think the garbage truck can play a big role in the future. 

The other area is something that’s unique to waste and recycling vehicles, and that is that the waste and recycling vehicle is the only vehicle that goes up and down every single street in [a] city at least once per week. It’s really unique amongst fleet vehicles in that it does that. It visits every single home. If we can equip that vehicle with the right technology, we can turn the garbage truck, the humble, lowly garbage truck, into a roving data collection center. We can do all sorts of things from this garbage truck. As it’s going about its daily job of collecting trash, it can be collecting data on things like road conditions, potholes, whether or not bins are overflowing, litter in the street, graffiti, all sorts of other issues that might be important for city leaders, the garbage truck can actually begin to collect. This is a really exciting future for the garbage truck. It’s a really exciting future for municipal garbage operations in general. I’m looking forward to where it goes over the next five years. 

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