Technology for Good – Episode five

This is episode five of our weekly GreenMonk TV Technology for Good Hangout – a show where we discuss news of technology solutions that work to benefit people’s lives. This week we discussed stories to do with Climate, energy/utilities, transportation, health, the internet of Things, and Data Centre’s amongst others.

Here’s a list of links to the stories we discussed today:

Climate news

Energy/Utilities

Transportation/Electric Vehicles

Health

Internet of Things

Data Centre’s

Miscellaneous

Public transportation, smartphones and economic development – a winning combination for Miami-Dade

It is hard to make public transport interesting, but Miami-Dade Transit in Florida is certainly giving it a go!

Their Metromover automated people mover is the most successful downtown people mover in the United States, and it is free!

Their Metrorail and some of their Metrobus services have on-board wifi (based on cellular service), and it is free.

They have smartphone Transit Tracker apps for iOS and Android devices allowing passengers to get realtime information on arrival times, station information and trip planning.

And they plan to make more improvements still. One of the ideas I particularly liked is outlined by Carmen Suarez, an Enterprise Architect with Miami-Dade Enterprise Technology Services Department at 01:30 in the video above.

The idea is to send push notifications to the smartphones of people who have the Transit Tracker app on their phone. The notifications would advise people of special offers/discounts from local businesses near their destination. It sounds simple enough, but as Carmen points out in the video it gives people yet another reason to use public transport, it helps reduce traffic congestion, and it promotes economic development in those areas. Win, win, win.

What cool public transport and smartphone-related stories have you come across?

Employee engagement helps SAP’s carpooling initiative

I spoke with SAP’s Chief Sustainability Officer Peter Graf recently about some of SAP’s internal initiatives around reducing their carbon footprint. One of their biggest sources of emissions is company cars (22% of emissions in Q2 2012 – the only higher was business flights at 42%).

So SAP started a program to encourage car sharing called TwoGo. The program has an app which matches people who are driving to work, with those looking for a lift. It matches people based on common interests (and allows you to block people you don’t like!).

It allows you to track who’s the Greenest of your friends and it incentivises people by having allotted parking spots for car-poolers. Another nice incentive was that the money you saved from your carpooling could be donated to a charity of your choice – as Peter put it – “You could car pool for a cause”.

The slogan used within the company to promote carpooling wasn’t about saving the company money, or about saving the planet, it was “Make New Friends – Know the Gossip.” Even the CEO joined in.

At the time of the video above, SAP had created 20,000 car pools. It will be interesting to see how getting the employees engaged in this project will affect the 22% of emissions in Q2 that SAP had from company cars.

Full disclosure – SAP is an occasional client of GreenMonk’s video services.