New smart phone and tablet technology is rapidly spreading to the frontline workforce, even if only on a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) basis. And there’s an app (or two) for almost anything, including assets and activity management.

Apps are emerging that can replace Bundy-clocks – with ability for staff to clock on and off when in the yard (along with GPS and finger print proof they were actually in the depot) then pass the timesheet data back to office HR systems!

Asset management apps can then be used on the same smartphone apps to guide staff to asset locations on the app-map in parks or kerbside locations, where they can tick off inspection lists or confirm work orders with attached pictures to show they’ve done the job.

Bin maintenance staff can log in for their daily work-lists or may use an app to track bin deliveries by barcode scan through the inbuilt camera, or you can even get an RFid tag reader that works with your iPhone, for reading a bin ID to show where found stray or stolen bins rightly belong when found.

Yet, contrary to what some residents think, this technology can’t yet use satellites to see what illegal bins may be hidden in their backyards.

Field inspectors can also use these smart phone gadgets to inspect, photograph and GPS register exact illegal dumping locations and allocate to collection teams based on size or nature of material or by proximity of the nearest clean-up team, from truck tracking displays on their smart phone app.

Customer service can also be improved by councils supplying self-service apps for ratepayers to check the service calendar for their address or to register complaints, request additional services or even to dob-in a tosser.

Even the bin itself can call for a pickup when near full, as new bin-fullness-sensors can now send alerts to collectors (like green lights turning on in a parking station) to assist with optimising the path to ready litterbins in recreation areas or bus shelters.

Innovative councils are re-inventing their business practices with these apps, bypassing their overloaded IT departments, renting cloud software as a service at low-cost operating expense accessed anytime, anywhere on smart phones.

Terry Daley, CEO (supplies and advises clients on available apps)