aste bins are all around us, so why not make them high-tech, right?
In the UK, a few years back, however, citizens were angered when companies started using high-tech waste bins as ways to scan consumer information from pedestrians’ smartphones, all with the hope of creating tailored advertising like the kind done by Google and Facebook. You know, when you search for a particular product, then that product appears all over various websites you visit.
Now, the Wi-Fi waste bin concept is resurfacing, but more in the vein of providing wireless hotspots. At least that’s what we’re being told. In an age where companies like Samsung warn consumers about people/government eavesdropping through a television’s microphone (it’s for voice commands), it’s kind of hard to be a trusting citizen.
Bigbelly, a waste solutions company based in Massachusetts, is known for creating solar-powered waste bins. The bins are generally equipped with Qualcomm chips (yah, Toronto!). When the containers are full, or even just smelly, a text or email is automatically sent to waste management staff.
While other companies are doing similar things, few others, however, are venturing into the Wi-Fi hotspot realm, as Bigbelly has done with a pilot project in New York. Because the bins are actually on the sidewalks, Wi-Fi signals aren’t obstructed. BigBelly has placed these units within many of the 170 smart bins installed around the city. Testing has shown that the bins are capable of a bandwidth of up to 75 megabits per second.
Of course, it’s too early to know what any of this will really mean in terms of privacy, advertising, or the actual capture of useful data for things like waste bin foot traffic.
It’s worth taking a peek through some of Bigbelly’s blogs on using sensors in cities. Click Here.