- Walt Disney World has launched a new pilot program called "Custodial of Tomorrow" in the Magic Kingdom's Tomorrowland. Forty custodians will be required to carry iPhones that can track their movements and deploy them more efficiently. So far it isn't going over well with employees, as reported by Orlando Sentinel.
- If sensors detect that a trash can is three-quarters full or a wave of people have recently visited a bathroom, the nearest worker will be directed to address the situation. Yet Unite Here Local 362, the custodial union, has raised concerns about privacy, technical aptitude and responsibility for damaged phones.
- Workers who have established a claim on preferred assignments are also concerned about a loss of seniority. On Halloween, some of them brought a pumpkin that said "Rest in peace, seniority," to a top executive. The pilot began on Nov. 5 and will run through Jan. 14.
Disney World's decision to include pneumatic waste collection tubes was seen as cutting edge when the park opened more than 45 years ago. The company has continued to stay up to date on new trends by partnering with Harvest Power to convert organic waste into energy and adopting Recycle Across America's standardized labeling system. The company also has an overall goal of 60% diversion by 2020 for all parks and resorts and reported it had reached 49% in 2015.
As with these other initiatives, optimizing collection efficiency through the use of smart bins is also a popular trend at the moment. Multiple companies have now developed bins that are solar-powered, sensor-optimized and even capable of scanning packaging barcodes to tell consumers whether an item is recyclable. Tracking usage patterns for these bins can make it easier for cities to schedule pickups and help prevent people from overstuffing them.
GPS tracking is also being used by some companies to route their fleets, and a satellite tracking system is in the works, but monitoring the movements of individual employees seems less common. If Disney's employees adapt and the program is a success this could be a sign of what's possible for other companies too. Though if tensions increase it could also lead to a possible labor dispute.