There’s cash in trash, especially if you’re a waste hauler. Waste containers are everywhere—behind restaurants, retail stores and hotels, at office buildings, and on construction sites. San Francisco-based Compology’s waste container monitoring solution helps waste management companies be more profitable by helping streamline operations and enhance customer service through data collection.
There are approximately 11 million commercial waste containers in the U.S. owned and serviced by waste management companies. Waste haulers have typically operated the same way for decades—using set collection schedules, regardless of container fullness. Compology has flipped the equation for that process, using sensors, installed into waste containers, to collect data that is then analyzed and presented through web-based software. Compology’s solution measures and predicts the fullness level of the waste containers, allowing waste haulers to efficiently schedule and route drivers to empty just the containers that need attention. Compology provides waste haulers with access to data and insights that not only reduce labor, fuel and maintenance costs, but also improve their customer service offerings
Reliable Connectivity Anytime, Anywhere
Compology’s offering helps waste haulers maximize route efficiency, driver productivity and container utilization through its software platform that analyzes data provided by the company’s rugged sensors. The sensor includes a camera used to capture high-resolution images, a GPS for location tracking, an accelerometer for movement, and a battery with five years of life. Each sensor also includes a cellular modem needed for sending data collected wirelessly.
“We looked at a number of different communications technologies, and came to the conclusion that if we needed our sensor to work everywhere, we had to use the cellular network,” said Ben Chehebar, Compology co-founder. “You have to make sure your antenna can get a signal anywhere, including up in mountains and in middle of the desert. For us, it was selecting an antenna with the performance that would allow us to deploy sensors to any location and be confident that they will be able to send data back to us.”
Compology turned to leading antenna manufacturer Taoglas because of the company’s reputation for excellence. They selected the company’s PA.710 Wide-Band 2G/3G/4G LTE antenna and the CGGP.25.4.E.02 GPS/GLONASS Dual-Band Patch Antenna. The PA710 ceramic antenna not only has backwards compatibility to 2G and 3G networks, but also includes all global 4G LTE frequency bands, future-proofing Compology’s investment. While Compology’s current business is all in the United States, using the AT&T and Verizon networks, the antennas are also compatible globally with every carrier.
“The PA.710 surface mount, high-performance antenna is one of our most popular products because it is a robust, easy-to-integrate, off-the-shelf solution,” said Dermot O’Shea, co-CEO of Taoglas. “It has actually helped many of our customers get through U.S. carrier certification quite easily because it can achieve very high performance if integrated correctly on the customer’s main PCB.”
Compology began using the Taoglas antennas in its R11 sensor, which was a significant redesign from the company’s prior R10 design. Compology’s hardware team had three key goals in mind: reduce manufacturing costs, improve reliability, and ensure connectivity in any location that Compology-enhanced containers may be located.
“Taoglas hit the mark on all three of those goals,” Chehebar said. Waste containers are primarily constructed from metal, leading to the need to use an antenna capable of overcoming any signal-strength obstacles. “The cell and GPS work consistently regardless of container location, even when used inside completely enclosed metal containers,” Chehebar said.
Product design can also play a role in maximizing signal strength. “With embedded devices, there’s always an issue because the electronics are always so close to the antenna,” Taoglas’ O’Shea said. But companies building connected devices also need to adhere to another golden rule: Listening to the advice of experts when it comes to layout and design. “It’s important that the customer be willing to work with us and our partner network to make changes so everything is optimized,” O’Shea said. “We’ve been down this road thousands of times before and Compology recognized that we are indeed the experts in this area. If customers want to achieve success on the RF front, you need to follow advice of the experts.”