Cargo Temperature Monitoring Helps Reduce Hunger

Webtech Wireless Cargo Temperature Monitoring Helps Reduce Hunger

Vladivostok, Russia may seem a long way away from America’s heartland, but a summit being held there points to a shared concern—food security. As Russian President Vladimir Putin put it, food security “is one of the most acute problems of our time.” So while Asia-Pacific summit leaders are focusing their attention on the rising concern over food security, a new report by the US Department of Agriculture states that 17.4 million American families (almost 15 percent of US households) are now “food insecure”.

What is The Local Face of Hunger?

Did you know that a staggering 40% of all food produced in the United States is wasted? Of that, 20% is wasted through spoilage during distribution (i.e., transportation).  But food spoilage can be reduced, if not eliminated through better temperature tracking during transportation.

NGF-food-waste-detail

Detail from Next Generation Food infographic

 

Monitor Your Trailers and Prevent Waste

At Webtech Wireless, our GPS/AVL tracking solutions help trucking fleets reduce all kinds of waste: fuel wastage, time wastage, and food wastage. By providing you with the ability to monitor the contents of your shipments on route, you ensure that perishable cargo travels within the required temperature specifications. With status updates sent to you remotely, you are assured that you are part of the solution, not the problem. It’s that simple: Monitor your trailers and prevent waste.

September is Hunger Action Month

Many people assume hunger is supposed to happen in other places, yet hunger is a reality in the most plentiful of nations. According to Feeding America, a Chicago-based food bank network, one in six Americans goes hungry. Among its charitable activities, Feeding America food banks provide food and groceries to 33,500 food pantries, 4,500 soup kitchens and 3,600 emergency shelters.

Feeding America is promoting many programs to help including online donations, a “Give a Meal” program, a virtual food drive, and corporate donations. Find out and view their “Map The Meal Gap” study. Remember, September is Hunger Action Month.

Farewell Summer; Hello Adjectives (My Writing: Aug 27 to Sept 3)

I’m considering what it would be like to write entirely without adjectives. I think Strunk & White would approve, but might I become terminally boring?

One of my activities as an editor (with technical writing credentials) is to question what we in marketing call “bumpf”. Bumpf is the motherhood and apple pie that promises everything, cannot be argued with, but ultimately delivers very little. For example, saying “Using our patented XW500 technology will make you happier, bring you the results you deserve, and keep your assets secure,” says nothing at all—it’s bumpf.

Adjectives are like that too. I smile when people overuse words like “amazing”, “fantastic”, and “awesome”. The little voice immediately wants to know how that can be so. “Don’t tell me. Show me.” I don’t suppose my writing is the most sober ever, but I do try to keep my adjectives in check by using them as descriptors of real things. I try to avoid letting them fly about my writing like so many escaped helium balloons…

Here’s my writing for the week. You be the judge:

Webtech WirelessIn Vision, Venture, Velocity (Aug 28, 2012) – I describe three “V”s for Webtech Wireless’ email campaign. I highlight the City of Vaughan’s Public Works department, (which I visited in June), preview the APWA (American Public Works Association) Expo we’re attending, and describe a news story about The fastest road in America, a challenge for those concerned with excess speed on the highways.

 

City of Vaughan Embraces a Four Seasons Solution is a blog post I wrote based on my interview with the Public Works department. It describes how overlap jurisdictions and rapid growth and increasing demand for GPS/AVL technologies.

 

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Approved by WorkSafeBC describes the traumatized dog-sledder who won a claim with WorkSafeBC, but the seven-page report quickly gained the attention of international media for months to follow.

 

How to Save a Few Lives without Breaking A Sweat prepares British Columbians for the news that the Labour Day week-end can bring harsh statistics: more than 575 of us are injured in vehicle accidents on an average Labour Day weekend.

Webtech Wireless Taking off with Airports

Webtech-Wireless-Taking-off-with-AirportsWith summer winding down and kids going back to school, most people are thinking beyond holidays. At Webtech Wireless, we’re ramping up for a busy season of fleet management trade shows and conventions, and that means we’re spending lots of time in airports getting to and from these events.

Airports tend to embrace new technologies quickly, especially when the technologies can be shown to reduce cost and improve security. Webtech Wireless has airport security perimeter ground vehicle solutions at several major airports in the United States, including John F. Kennedy, LaGuardia, Massport (Boston), and O’Hare International in Chicago. Here’s what we’re doing in Chicago.

Chicago O’Hare International Airport

The City of Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport is owned and operated by the City of Chicago’s Department of Aviation. As a Webtech Wireless customer since 2003, we provide solutions to many of the City’s 2,500 vehicles (including vehicles in its various public works departments). Our airport solution is used to transmit critical location data from designated City of Chicago vehicles every ten seconds alerting the City of runway incursions and security breaches. We also provide automated vehicle location services (AVL) for its snow removal equipment.

As it is not operationally practical to maintain two-way radio communications between every vehicles and airport operations, GPS/AVL technology helps the City track its vehicles. Also, as the speed limit within the airport security perimeter at O’Hare is 30 miles per hour, our vehicle reports help City fleet managers ensure their vehicles operate within the airport’s speed limit.

On the technical side, our AVL solution is ideal for airport operations, because it’s designed for vehicles operating in an 802.11b coverage area; that is, it uses a point-to-multipoint configuration with an omnidirectional antenna located in a coverage area around the access point.

Fly with Webtech Wireless

Webtech Wireless is flying off to several trade shows this autumn. Follow our Events page, which is updated with new events regularly.

September 5 Snow-N-Ohio Workshop Perrysburg, Ohio
September 13 2012 Iowa Snow Roadeo Des Moines, Iowa
September 16 BC Roadbuilders Association Fall Conference Kelowna, BC
September 20 Snow and Ice Symposium Milton, Ontario
September 21 Truxpo Seminar  – Abbotsford Abbotsford, BC
September 23-26 TMW TransForum Orlando, Florida
September 25-27 Association of Municipal EMS Conference (AMEMSO) Ottawa, Ontario

 

My Writing: Awareness, Absenteesim, and Accomplishment (August 21 to 28)

 

Cell Phone Distraction May Depend on Who’s Driving describes the loss of situational awareness that airline pilots get. What is situational awareness and how is it similar to what happens to distracted drivers?

 

Be Aware of the “Disability Managers” at Your Workplace describes disability and absenteeism and who’s checking up on you when you call in sick. According to Statistics Canada, an employee who is absent due to disability may require some management.

 

 

 

City of Vaughan Embraces a Four Seasons Solution describes how Public Works departments must manage public perception as well as public roadways. The City of Vaughan has relied on a Webtech Wireless solution for years to accomplish just that.

City of Vaughan Embraces a Four Seasons Solution

Once just a small town with a vision, the City of Vaughan is growing fast. Located north of Toronto, current projections show that its population is expected to almost double by 2030. For the City of Vaughan to keep up with growth in this region of overlapping jurisdictional responsibilities, it must find ways to get the most out of its technology investment.

According to Shawn McKenzie, Senior Engineering Assistant at Public Works, “It’s a barrel of monkeys for residents to understand and to many residents, anyone with a plow blade is a City truck,” so Public Works must manage public perception as well as public roadways. In the future, the ability to share data among different jurisdictions will increasingly clarify public perceptions of who’s doing what.

Recently, Public Works mandated that its third-party contractors use GPS/AVL Locators, thereby enabling it to track how efficiently both its primary suburban and secondary rural roads are maintained across different seasons. This decision keeps contractors accountable and citizens content. As proof of reduced complaints, its initial Webtech Wireless deployment calling for a “Where’s my Plow?” Web site and Call Centre, became so efficient that as calls dropped away, it eliminated the need for a Call Centre altogether.

Today, the City of Vaughan has realized the great opportunity that is intrinsic in a GPS/AVL solution and, with hundreds of vehicles now equipped and reporting, the word is spreading. The City of Vaughan’s Parks Board (with a fleet of sidewalk plows), has just adopted a Webtech Wireless solution for its vehicles too.

“When we make appointments to send our water trucks to an address and the client isn’t there, the driver needs to move on to the next appointment. If someone claims the water truck never came, we can prove the site call was made.”
— Shawn McKenzie, Public Works, City of Vaughan

My Writing: Allergies, Communications, and Workplaces (August 14 to 20)

Last night, I was watching the film Freakonomics based on the book of the same name. What it’s about at its essence is how the vast amount of data we collect now tells a remarkable story about human nature. By looking at the numbers, we can now micromanage pretty much everything. Perhaps, in the same way Ford’s assembly line created a monotonous workplace conformity, infinitesimal management of data carries with it a tyranny of its own.

http://www.disabilityclaimdenied.caWhen Is An Allergy A Disability? describes how, in an attempt to accommodate more passengers, airlines got themselves in more hot water with people with allergies. But, when are allergies considered disabilities?

 

 

Webtech WirelessDare Mighty Things is a story I wrote for this week’s email campaign at Webtech Wireless. The video I reference describes the “seven minutes of terror” during which the NASA team has no telematics (or communication) between itself (Earth) and Mars. I go on to draw the comparison with Webtech Wireless’ offerings by saying that, while fleet management is admittedly not rocket science, similarities abound when it comes to deploying a reliable automated telematics solution—anywhere, anytime.

 

 

http://www.disabilityclaimdenied.caBe Aware of the “Disability Managers” at Your Workplace describes disability and absenteeism. In it, according to Statistics Canada, an employee who is absent due to disability may require some management.

My Writing: Aging Infrastructure and dangerous motorcycling (August 7 to 13)

Town of HempsteadFresh Life for Long Island’s Aging Infrastructure describes how communities, such as New York State’s town of Hempstead, which boomed over 50 years ago and now suffer from aging infrastructure problems, are using GPS technology to do more with less.

 

ICBCAutoInsuranceClaimsLawyermotorcycleBC’s Most Beautiful and Dangerous Motorcycle Roads is a quick survey of the most frequently mapped BC roads are in the province’s interior and north regions, describing where in the province most motorcycle accidents occur.

 

Fresh Life for Long Island’s Aging Infrastructure

InterFleet Hempstead, New YorkWith a population over 750,000, Long Island’s town of Hempstead prides itself as ‘the largest township in America’. Due to its proximity to New York City’s Borough of Queens, Hempstead was one of the first post-war communities to be suburbanized and now, with aging infrastructure, Hempstead must balance its many assets with diverse new 21st Century challenges.

According to The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), “In a country as vast as the U.S., with such great geographical, historical and political diversity, one challenge seems sadly universal: the infrastructure we rely on to live and thrive is rapidly coming unraveled. Roads, bridges, public transit, airports, water and sewage systems—most are failing to keep pace with the expanding needs of a burgeoning population, and some are virtually on the brink of collapse.” The ASCE, which also annually releases a state-by-state infrastructure report card, New York’s current top-three infrastructure concerns are roads, bridges, and mass transit.

While Hempstead is no exception, the Town has been able to breathe fresh life into its road maintenance fleet using an InterFleet GPS/AVL solution from Webtech Wireless. Describing that solution, Deputy Commissioner of Highways, Craig Mollo says, “It’s fantastic. We love it! We had 35 units installed into sweepers and 30 installed in snowplows (about one third of our fleet), and within a year, we were able to re-organize our entire mapping system. As a result, we found that we could reduce our equipment and drivers by five, redeploying them where they could be used most effectively.”

For communities, such as Hempstead, that boomed over 50 years ago and now suffer from aging infrastructure problems, there is light at the end of the tunnel in the form of federal funding. Last week, Washington’s Transportation Secretary, LaHood, announced $787 million to “repair and modernize the nation’s aging transit infrastructure”. With improvements coming to mass transit, road maintenance cannot be far behind.

Even so, Hemptead has found that, with the success of a GPS/AVL for its sweepers and snowplows, the Town plans further InterFleet deployments for its payloaders, pickup trucks, and other vehicles used for highway maintenance, sanitation, and traffic control—eventually 400 pieces of equipment. “With public safety and wellbeing of residents a priority for us, we also plan to install safety buttons to send emergency alerts,” says Mollo.

My Writing: Habits, Racing, and Oil (July 30 to August 6)

I’m constantly confounded by the extent to which subject/verb and noun/pronoun errors cause mayhem to the English language. Consider the following:

Ottawa’s attempts to fast track Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline are just one example.

I am in agreement with the choice of “are” over “is”, because the subject of the sentence “attempts” is clearly plural. Where it gets crazy is in the choice to end the sentence, “just one example”. What could be more singular than that? For what it’s worth, here are my solutions:

Ottawa’s attempts to fast track Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline are just examples of…(content needed from writer)

Ottawa’s attempt to fast track Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline is just one example.

As for this week’s writings, here are just one example…

5 Dangerous Driving Habits to Avoid this Long Weekend points the blame at mom and dad (and other middle aged drivers) to smarten up. If the ICBC statisticians are to be believed, the dangerous drivers are the older ones.

 

Pedal to the Metal describes the strange case of the overturned ICBC claim against a fellow racing (and smashing) his corvette in a speedway. In the eyes of the judge, the difference between a motor “racing” event and “training” event is all in the timing.

 

How to Reduce Dependence on Offshore Oil describes our efforts to lessen ourselves of offshore oil dependence. One way is to rejig our entire fleet of vehicle to use natural gas; another, is to lessen our consumption through GPS/AVL technology. This time, what costs less is also easy on the environment.

How to Reduce Dependence on Offshore Oil

How to Reduce Dependence on Offshore OilThere is much controversy about the remaining oil available to run our fleets of cars, trucks, trains, planes, and all else, but what’s certain is natural gas is plentiful, cheaper, and easier on our environment. Natural gas is a naturally occurring hydrocarbon gas mixture consisting of methane and other hydrocarbons, which provides heating and electricity to buildings, but is increasingly being considered as a fuel for vehicles.

The American business magnate and financier, T. Boone Pickens, is advocating that Americans work closely with Canada and Mexico to create North American energy alliance to reduce dependence on OPEC oil. Pickens asserts that the United States alone has three times more natural gas than Saudi Arabia has oil.

“These countries [Canada and Mexico] are extremely important to us [United States] and we’re extremely important to them. Tie up with them, have a NA energy alliance and it would make our country much, much more secure.” — T. Boone Pickens

Recently Pickens spoke out in the USA Today against an editorial that advocated for exporting American natural gas, as he sees natural gas as the ticket to energy independence. His Pickens Plan advocates using America’s abundant natural gas reserves to break the country’s dependence on foreign oil.

The investment magazine, Street Authority, gives a clear picture of Pickens’ vision: “Clean Energy Fuels, which is backed by T. Boone Pickens, has taken a different approach. The company has built a network of natural gas re-fueling stations that could see rising traffic as more natural gas-powered vehicles are on the road. Yet, the real focus for the company has thus far been on corporate and government fleets, many of which have already made the move to natural gas. An expanding network of stations is expected to boost sales roughly 50% in 2011 to around $300 million, finally enabling the company to break even. Congressional legislation would help to ignite this business model, and expansion plans could take sales to $500 million within a few years.”

Beyond the type of fuel a fleet uses, study after study has shown that improved driver behavior, (such as reduced idling and decreased speeding), also produces significant fuel savings. In addition, improved route optimization through automated vehicle location technology (seeing your vehicles on a map so you can deploy them most effectively), is at the core of why our solutions produce a quick return on investment. A GPS/AVL fleet management solution allows you to see where your vehicles are in real time, and this real-time knowledge enables you to allocate resources where they’re most needed.

You may be caught in the cross hairs of greening your fleet AND lowering costs. The good news for you is this: a leaner fleet is also a greener fleet. By making your fleet more cost effective you also make it more environmentally friendly too.