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Phoenix Partners with MetTel for Fleet Automation Technology

Ryan Crandell, director of fleet solutions for New York City-based MetTel, discusses the partnership and the results the city of Phoenix has experienced to date.

The city of Phoenix has entered into an agreement for MetTel, a communications and digital transformation company, to provide services with fleet management automation technology. The agreement began in July 2018.

“MetTel is thrilled to be selected for IoT [Internet of Things] fleet management technology to help Phoenix automate its public service fleet for greater efficiency, insight and control as part of its ongoing smart city transformation,” said Max Silber, vice president of mobility and IoT at MetTel, in a statement. “Waste management and water are crucial to the health and wellbeing of citizens. IoT technology helps to improve and assure essential delivery and service to Phoenix residents.”

Phoenix is the nation's fifth largest city, with more than 1.6 million citizens spread over 540 square miles. The city treats more than 135 million gallons of wastewater daily. The city collects garbage, recycling and yard waste from more than 400,000 residential accounts. The city’s goal is to divert 40 percent of its waste stream by 2020, leading ultimately to zero waste by 2050.

Waste360 sat down with Ryan Crandell, director of fleet solutions for New York City-based MetTel, to discuss the partnership and the results the city of Phoenix has experienced to date.

Waste360: Give some background on MetTel.

Ryan Crandell: MetTel was founded in 1996. For more than 20 years, we have been a leading provider of communications services nationwide. MetTel works with an extensive partner network, as well as with all of the nation’s leading carriers (AT&T, Verizon, etc.) to provide customized, managed communications solutions.

Our fleet management automation technology, which is now in use in Phoenix, provides visibility and helps organizations manage their entire fleet and mobile workforce. I like to say we provide “one pane of glass” that helps eliminate paperwork so that mobile workers have the tools at hand to do their work more efficiently.

Waste360: What type of fleet management technology do you offer?

Ryan Crandell: For the city of Phoenix, MetTel is providing automated vehicle location services. This is giving Phoenix tools like advanced location-based services, dispatch automation and monitoring vehicle diagnostics and driver safety data for advanced business decisions, as well as other operations support efficiencies and processes.

Initially, the city is focusing on telematics hardware and software solutions for tracking vehicles and obtaining essential data for maintenance, routing and customer inquiries for the Phoenix Public Works and Water Departments.

MetTel is responsible for collecting and maintaining data required for the continuity of operations for thousands of city vehicles. Our fleet management solutions also have the ability to provide route dispatch, preventive maintenance, fuel management, driver safety management, video with artificial intelligence and mobile applications, including pre- and post-vehicle inspections with workflow.

Waste360: How does the technology work?

Ryan Crandell: Connecting the vehicle and the workforce automation mobile applications using our SingleSIM solution, which assures coverage at any time for the field worker, equipment and vehicles, enables real-time access to information regardless of the cellular coverage in known dark areas of the city by enabling the best carrier signal is used at any time for data transmission.

All the data collected from the fleet and workforce is presented in web-based software, mobile applications and APIs for the city to run a more efficient and cost-saving waste management department as they are able to right-size the workforce and fleet by doing more work with less.

Waste360: How did the partnership with the city of Phoenix begin?

Ryan Crandell: The city of Phoenix has worked with various vendors over the last eight years to solve their mobile workforce business requirement and found that they needed to source solutions from multiple vendors often coming up short with their promises and ability to execute. The city of Phoenix’s management team chose MetTel because of our ability to offer multiple solutions under one vendor, one bill and the managed service approach to consult, select and deploy multiple solutions solving their business requirements. Also, as the technology changes over time, Phoenix felt that MetTel has the flexibility to expand its eco-system as the technology changes and Phoenix’s business requirements change.

Waste360: Since the agreement began in July, what results has the city experienced using MetTel’s technology?

Ryan Crandell: [It resulted in] proof of service or delivery for all of the waste and water departments’ workforce, automation of preventive maintenance and driver vehicle inspection with the shop, visibility into driver safety management, route dispatch automation for all of the waste management routes with ruggedized tablets and mobile dispatch navigation and invaluable information for their customer support department with proof of service for all waste pickups—identifying if the trash is out and available for pickup at the appropriate time for each route.

Waste360: How does your platform offer greater visibility into the city’s mobile workforce and what types of data does it collect?

Ryan Crandell: Real-time visibility into the fleet activity using telematics and mobile applications with mobile workforce automation tools streamlining the work being done in the field.

[Our platform collects] vehicle location intelligence, fuel management, engine diagnostics, digitizing all of the paperwork and workflow in the field integrated into the systems of record like ERP [enterprise resource planning] and route management, live video with artificial intelligence for driver safety with in-cab driver feedback, route dispatch intelligence to optimize the routes and the workforce, proof of service or delivery and load tonnage data collection.

Waste360: How will this help the city reach its goal to divert 40 percent of its waste stream by 2020, leading ultimately to zero waste by 2050?

Ryan Crandell: Enabling gains in visibility of the workforce and running an efficient fleet and workforce enables the city to continue to right-size their fleet and workforce savings for the residents of Phoenix. By continuing to invest in leading technology that solves real business problems every day by enabling management of the mobile workforce, equipment and vehicles allows the city to continue to evolve while working to achieve their zero waste stream goals of the future.

The city is now exploring key technologies that enable visibility into waste fill level management for just-in-time dispatch abilities and more mobile automation for the drivers streamlining and digitizing all paperwork with their mobile workforce—all leveraging the latest technology on the market and enhancing its smart city initiatives.

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