Fort Smith Sanitation Department Testing ‘Smart City Solution’

The City of Fort Smith Sanitation Department has launched a six-month pilot program that promises to bring a “smart city solution” to residential and commercial waste management and recycling services.

The city launched a pilot program with Atlanta-based Rubicon Oct. 28. The RUBICONSmartCity platform includes a smartphone-based mobile app, a plug-in device, and a web-based portal, according to press information. The technology will allow the city to collect real-time service confirmations, provide GPS vehicle tracking and enable documentation of driver issues or the inability to successfully complete a pick-up.

“This literally takes us from managing with paper and pencil into the 21st century,” Sanitation Director Kyle Foreman noted in a media release.

The RUBICONSmartCity manager portal will collect data and analytics and provide the sanitation department with real-time route updates, daily reporting and operational insights, which, the company say, will lead to more efficient operations and improved service for customers.

“Equipping our fleet of trash, recycling, and other Sanitation vehicles with SmartCity technology means rising to the level of efficiency and customer service that has become standard in the digital age,” Foreman said. “Tapping the potential of this SmartCity platform, every vehicle and every driver will be connected to Operations Management at all times. Operations can receive a customer service request and direct or redirect our limited and valuable resources to where they’re needed when they’re needed, in real time. We expect that to save time, wear and tear, fuel—it should produce significant operational savings.”

The department has more than 40 sanitation vehicles to serve the city’s residential, commercial and roll-off collection services at about 32,000 locations. The Fort Smith landfill serves about 300,000 residents throughout the area.

The six month pilot is valued at about $105,000 but is being implemented on a trial basis at no cost to the City of Fort Smith or customers.

“Rubicon has produced such success for other cities, they’ve built so much confidence in their own SmartCity solution that they’re providing this pilot to us at no cost,” said City Administrator Carl Geffken.

At the end of the trial period, the city will either look into a further contract, or will not commit to a contract, Geffken said.

“We have to stretch our precious budget dollars any way we can,” Geffken said. “This is a prime example of our customer-serving departments finding every way they can to do more with less.”

The City of Fort Smith is nearing conclusion of its 2020 budget development cycle with the budget public hearing scheduled for Nov. 22.

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