Waste Management is testing Android-based tablets in a handful of garbage trucks, trying to learn whether they'll be durable and practical for such duty. Today, route information is largely conveyed via paper, augmented by radios or push-to-talk phones in the trucks. The alternative to a consumer tablet is a ruggedized, Windows-based tablet, which Waste Management also is testing. Already, the company has seen that tablets require far less training time; drivers find the touchscreen interface intuitive, so they're ready to use the system in less than an hour. The device also uses Google Maps for directions, rather than a costly and customized mapping program.
Tablets could be appealing to other field staff such as repair technicians who need appointment information and may also need to access information such as diagrams and instructions for repairs. One big challenge with that is durability, as our next slide shows.