Can a Garbage Dumpster be “Smart”? You bet.
We’ve all seen the overflowing garbage dumpsters usually sitting semi-concealed behind a fast food franchise, your local grocer, or even that beautiful high-rise. They’re often the smelly reminder of the amount of waste that’s generated through nearly all commercial businesses. What you probably haven’t noticed over the past few years, there’s a few less bulging dumpsters these days as an innovative company called OnePlus Systems found a way to solve this problem, and converted “garbage watching” into a rapid growth revenue stream that’s attracted businesses worldwide including giants such as, HEB, Costco and Coca-Cola. They’ve carved out a unique niche for themselves, in what might be perceived as an unexciting, but necessary waste management category. Long before “Smart Phones” became mainstream, and there was no such term as the “Internet of Things (IoT)”, this innovative company saw a technological opportunity in 1991 to make waste containers “smart” – beginning with a fullness monitoring solution specifically designed for compactors.
The CultureFit team had a chance to interview Brendan Walsh, President of OnePlus Systems, to gain a better understanding of the technology they’re using to disrupt this category, the impact they made over the past few years, and what makes this a unique, and lean team of innovators, who had to learn to work together across multiple time-zones.
Like any technology, OnePlus Systems has experienced a significant evolution that began as a simple wired-up pressure sensor, designed to monitor increasing waste buildup in compactors. When capacity neared the optimal fullness, the sensors automatically alerted Operations and the clients waste disposal company for removal prior to overflow. Shortly thereafter, they added a web-based platform and reporting functionality to begin leveraging their client’s waste data. That was the beginning, fast forward to 2015, a forward thinking private equity company, Parker Gale, acquired OnePlus Systems based on their future revenue growth potential. Wasting no time, the new management team was quick to acquire the Dublin, Ireland-based leader of intelligent waste monitoring solutions, SmartBin.
This acquisition included similar solutions, but uses wireless ultrasonic fill-level sensors and powerful routing and analysis software for non-compacting containers. Right on its heels, the team recently introduced their Metro Series of sensors – utilizing the latest Smart City IoT communication networks, LoRa and Sigfox.
All of their advanced waste monitoring devices are supported by an equally innovative and sophisticated platform which arms Municipalities, private companies, and client partners with valuable real time reporting and visual tracking of their compactor and garbage receptacles (think of an air traffic control center for garbage) including Optimized Routing software so the waste hauler can focus resources on only the containers that are full. Rest assured this team, with the support of their technological solutions, never miss a waste pickup.
Why get excited about garbage monitoring? Beyond the visual aspects, the OnePlus Systems solutions has collected mountains of data and business cases to demonstrate the amount of operational efficiency and reduction in the cost of waste removal which can lower waste removal expenses by as much as 50%. More importantly, the solution allows companies to re-allocate operational time toward more mission critical initiatives.
Where to next? This strategic SmartBin acquisition expanded their waste monitoring solutions to include Oil Tanks, the vessels used to collect waste oil and cooking oil; proving their waste monitoring solution can easily scale to other waste categories. Their expansion options have few barriers, with several opportunities actively being tested and considered.
A culture driven team makes it all possible: Led by CEO Christopher Ainsley, President Brendan Walsh, CFO Jay Alter, and CTO Craig Chapa – This C-Suite has established themselves as dynamic leaders with a passion for their unique business and willingness to invest if it’s a solution that’s good for the business or Customers. Combine this leadership with their Chief IoT (appropriately renamed, Internet of Trash™) Officer, Seamus Devitt, who oversees both hardware and software solutions- there seems to be no end to the innovation or growth this company will see in the coming years. Despite the highly-respected leadership, their front-line management team has had to become equally innovative and committed to learning how to keep an open line of communication that bridges the vast time-zone divide between the US, UK, and Ireland. Their work ethic and willingness to work 12+ hour days is a statement to the pervasive belief they are all part of an organization that’s added the “Wow Factor” to waste management.
About OnePlus Systems
OnePlus Systems Inc. is an Illinois-based manufacturer of container fullness and control systems. With the launch of their first networked compactor fullness monitor solution in 1991, followed later by the first Internet based compactor monitoring system, OnePlus’s sensor technology and software solutions presaged the coming Internet of Things revolution. Twenty-five years, 20,000 units, and nine patents later OnePlus continues to lead the Intelligent Waste Monitoring industry.