MetTel to use IoT to transform Phoenix water and waste management service
MetTel, a New York-based provider of customized, integrated and managed communications solutions to enterprise-scale operations, has entered into an agreement with the City of Phoenix, Arizona to supply IoT fleet tracking services to the City’s Public Works and Water departments. Using its new telematics software and hardware, MetTel will collect data from thousands of vehicles across the city.
Phoenix is the United States’ fifth largest city, home to over 1.6 million citizens spread over 540 square miles. The city produces an average of 270 million gallons of tap water daily, and treats more than 135 million gallons of wastewater. The city collects garbage, recycling and yard waste from over 400,000 residential accounts.
The City’s goal in hiring MetTel is to divert and reduce its waste stream by 40% by 2020, keeping the city on track to reach its zero waste goal by 2050.
Under the terms of the contract, MetTel will provide Phoenix’s waste and water management departments with automated vehicle location services, such as advanced location-based services, dispatch automation and monitoring vehicle diagnostics and driver safety data for advanced business decisions as well as other operations support efficiencies and processes. The data collected will be used to improve practices with regard to maintenance, routing and customer inquiries.
“MetTel is thrilled to be selected for IoT Fleet Management technology to help Phoenix automate its public service fleet for greater efficiency, insight and control as part of its ongoing smart city transformation,” said Max Silber, Vice President of Mobility & IoT at MetTel. “Waste management and water are crucial to the health and well-being of citizens. IoT technology helps to improve and assure essential delivery and service to Phoenix residents.”
How changing your company's software code can prevent bias
Two-third of tech professionals believe organizations aren’t doing enough to address racial inequality. After all, many companies will just hire a DEI consultant, have a few training sessions and call it a day.
Wanting to take a unique yet impactful approach to DEI, Deltek, the leading global provider of software and solutions for project-based businesses, took a look at and removed all exclusive terminology in their software code. By removing terms such as ‘master’ and ‘blacklist’ from company coding, Deltek is working to ensure that diversity and inclusion are woven into every aspect of their organization.
Business Chief North America talks to Lisa Roberts, Senior Director of HR and Leader of Diversity & Inclusion at Deltek to find out more.
Why should businesses today care about removing company bias within their software code?
We know that words can have a profound impact on people and leave a lasting impression. Many of the words that have been used in a technology environment were created many years ago, and today those words can be harmful to our customers and employees. Businesses should use words that will leave a positive impact and help create a more inclusive culture in their organization
What impact can exclusive terms have on employees?
Exclusive terms can have a significant impact on employees. It starts with the words we use in our job postings to describe the responsibilities in the position and of course, we also see this in our software code and other areas of the business. Exclusive terminology can be hurtful, and even make employees feel unwelcome. That can impact a person’s desire to join the team, stay at a company, or ultimately decide to leave. All of these critical actions impact the bottom line to the organization.
Please explain how Deltek has removed bias terminology from its software code
Deltek’s engineering team has removed biased terminology from our products, as well as from our documentation. The terms we focused on first that were easy to identify include blacklist, whitelist, and master/slave relationships in data architecture. We have also made some progress in removing gendered language, such as changing he and she to they in some documentation, as well as heteronormative language. We see this most commonly in pick lists that ask to identify someone as your husband or wife. The work is not done, but we are proud of how far we’ve come with this exercise!
What steps is Deltek taking to ensure biased terminology doesn’t end up in its code in the future?
What we are doing at Deltek, and what other organizations can do, is to put accountability on employees to recognize when this is happening – if you see something, say something! We also listen to feedback our customers give us and have heard their feedback on this topic. Those are both very reactive things of course, but we are also proactive. We have created guidance that identifies words that are more inclusive and also just good practice for communicating in a way that includes and respects others.
What advice would you give to other HR leaders who are looking to enhance DEI efforts within company technology?
My simple advice is to start with what makes sense to your organization and culture. Doing nothing is worse than doing something. And one of the best places to start is by acknowledging this is not just an HR initiative. Every employee owns the success of D&I efforts, and employees want to help the organization be better. For example, removing bias terminology was an action initiated by our Engineering and Product Strategy teams at Deltek, not HR. You can solicit the voices of employees by asking for feedback in engagement surveys, focus groups, and town halls. We hear great recommendations from employees and take those opportunities to improve.