Apptricity Corporation Blog

Asset Management: What Chicago’s Innovative Pest Control Solution Can Teach Businesses

January 17, 2013

Modern-day tracking technology certainly must rank well in terms of being one of the greatest conveniences available to us (along with being among the top ten most paranoia-inducing inventions ever created). Whether we’re allowing our cars to direct us to the museum downtown via GPS, securing our newborns inside a hospital nursery with RFID, or improving our businesses with shipment and asset tracking software, the uses are fairly endless --- and the Urban Coyote Ecology and Management Project has just managed to take GPS technology a step further.

The project, which is based out of Chicago, Illinois, made use of collars outfitted with GPS devices in order to track coyote movements. While the project was originally meant to identify and monitor the animals’ home ranges around the greater Chicago area, ultimately it became a means of controlling pests, such as mice and other rodents. In total, approximately 250 coyotes have been tagged and are being monitored to see how well they fare in such an urban setting.  Brad Block, supervisor for the Chicago Commission on Animal Care, has assured the populace that the coyotes are not threats to humans; they are merely a carefully-tracked means to handle the urban pest problem.

While meeting Chicago’s pest control needs turned out to be a happy “side effect” of the project, the true purpose behind tracking the animals is to get a feel for how urban encroachment on habitats is impacting local wildlife. In that way, the project is using GPS technology quite similarly to how businesses are incorporating it into their asset management and inventory management systems. It’s all but impossible to gain the visibility needed to run an efficient business without knowing the location and status of shipments, stock, equipment and whatever else is important enough to be tagged and tracked. For businesses, having the capability to automatically track various aspects of their daily operations saves money and provides a bird’s-eye view of potential problems, such as food shipments that have experienced unacceptable temperature fluctuations or expensive medical equipment that is being hoarded on one particular hospital floor. These are problems that tend to remain hidden without usage of tracking technology, and can ultimately harm a company’s reputation, customer loyalty and the bottom line.  

So what do you get when you cross GPS technology with a pack of coyotes? It almost sounds like a bad joke, but for the Chicago area, at least, the result is free pest control. The better question for organizations is what they would get if they combined RFID and GPS tracking capabilities with their shipments, asset tracking, and inventory control.