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The City of Phoenix and Hathority Reimagine Waste Management

Hathority.Phoenix.io is one of a growing number of Smart City applications, fostered under the US Ignite Smart Gigabit Communities (SGC) effort, to transform the lives of residents of smart communities everywhere.  Their contribution to the SGC portolio comes as a response to the City of Phoenix Cisco IoT Challenge, developed in partnership with US Ignite, to bring better efficiency and cost savings to the cities waste management efforts.  Learn more about this and other applications and services by visiting the US Ignite Application Registry.

The City of Phoenix is sponsored by Cox Communications to promote the development of next generation applications that leverage advanced gigabit networks to create smart cities that build better lives for everyone living in them.


What do you do when you’re one of the top 10 fastest-growing cities in the United States and you know you need a smart solution to a growing trash problem? You invite innovators to help!

Last spring, the City of Phoenix Department of Public Works partnered with Cisco and the Arizona Institute for Digital Progress (AZIDP) to host an IoT Challenge designed help the City find innovative applications of 21st century technologies to help them:

  • Reduce waste to the landfill by 40% by 2020, with a goal of reaching 0% by 2050
  • Reduce the amount of rework needed to collect recycling and refuse every week
  • Help customers rethink recycling and refuse using games and other interactive tools

The mandate to innovate and leverage data to work smarter, faster, and more efficiently touches every business sector, and Cities around the world are working hard to transitioning trash and recycling into a sustainable and “circular economy.” Enter AZIDP’s City of Phoenix Cisco IoT Challenge, a forum for “community-based problem-solving,” incentivizing innovation with a cash prize for the Grand Champion and an opportunity to pilot a solution with the City of Phoenix.

Hathority, LLC, was one of 46 teams entered in the competition they ultimately won. 

This is one reason why Hathority saw the City of Phoenix IoT Challenge as a win-win: a way to make the often-invisible integration work they do more visible, and to do something that, if successful, would genuinely help the community solve a problem.

Challenges that the City of Phoenix faces managing its waste and recycling are not unique. Trash is a world-wide problem, and finding sustainable solutions is a pressing issue for every city.

Hathority’s solution is a phased integration approach that will help the city achieve all three of the goals identified by the Public Works Department. It is cloud based, uses smart technology and IoT to collect, analyze, and use data that can help customers help the city manage their recycling and refuse, improve efficiency and reduce costs.

In conducting their research into the city’s problems, Hathority realized that collection vehicles could collect more than recyclables and refuse. They could collect data--and lots of it. Trucks could become the “things” in an IoT solution. Video could capture material going into the truck as well as information about how, where, and what kinds of bins customers are placing. GPS could track routes, stops and starts. Weight sensors could provide data about how much material has been collected. On-board diagnostic sensors in the truck could provide information about the state of the vehicle’s mechanical systems. Connecting those ‘things’ through the internet makes it possible for Hathority to help the city realize its goals.

Hathority’s complete solution is an integrated platform as a service (iPaas) that leverages gigabit networks and edge computing and networking tools like Cisco’s EFF (edge fabric framework). But cities can also use it without a new investment in infrastructure. Gigabit networks are not yet ubiquitous in Phoenix. Nor are the resources that would enable the city to outfit every truck with new hardware. Hathority is piloting the first phase of their solution with the city through their platform and set of apps they developed that use data the city is already collecting to connect the Public Works Department with its customers in a really useful way: let customers opt-in to notifications via email and text about when and what kind of collection bin to put out, provide education material, and tools for communicating with the city’s Public Works Department. The city can also push notifications to opted-in customers about pickup time changes, delays, or other issues that might affect collection.

As resources, like gigabit network capability and money to install improved sensors in the truck become available, Hathority and the city can work together to implement more features that include real-time route management and games that take advantage of real-time truck data.

Hathority is eager to share their solution with other cities interested in smart solutions to recycling and refuse. Their customer facing app is available for android and iOS devices as well as a web application at https://phoenix.hathority.io, and you can reach out to them at [email protected] where they would be happy arrange a teleconference and/or demo.

About Hathority LLC

Hathority is a small business based in Tempe, Arizona that specializes in data and software system integration, and application development. Their work touches every business vertical, because data drives business, whether that business is technology, finance, healthcare, education, government or entertainment. Hathority views their ability to design and implement robust integration solutions as applied problem-solving that works well but invisibly, like the powerful magic of house elves in Harry Potter. People never notice unless something breaks.

Phoenix Smart City Hack Event

Video of the event was posted to their facebook page and is linked below.