Most people see this photo and get depressed. It is depressing. But at CleanApp, every time we see a photo like this, we redouble our efforts to give the photographer and everyone else around the world the easiest possible ways for sending photo reports like this to a responsible party for cleanup.
The trash isn’t going to clean itself. The “city” or “council” doesn’t have the resources to do this. So it’s up to all of us to develop new methods and processes for linking up CleanApp Reporters (people who find conditions that need cleanup) and different CleanApp Responders (people or institutions responsible and/or available for cleanup in that particular location at that particular time).
CleanApp’s been growing and evolving at a very rapid pace over the past year, and we wanted to give an update on where things stand and what we hope to achieve by 2020.
1. CleanApp Alliance
Earlier this year, we announced plans to build a CleanApp Alliance, a consortium of incident reporting platforms modeled on Wi-Fi Alliance, Bluetooth SIG, and most recently, Open AR Cloud. We are proud to be a founding member of the Open AR Cloud project, and look forward to adopting these best practices for the CleanApp Alliance.
We’re continuing our outreach efforts to every large and small actor operating at the intersection of CivicTech & CleanTech. If you’re a developer who is thinking of launching a litter-reporting app, a pothole-reporting app, an incident-reporting app —chances are we have either reached out to you, or we are doing everything possible to reach out to you (so please check your spam folders).
In the next few months, we will be sharing some very exciting news in this sphere, so please stay tuned.
2. CleanApp Standard
Along with several industry partners, we’re also continuing work on draft protocols and specifications for a shared CleanApp Standard.
The basic idea is that many people don’t want to download a separate app to do litter reporting; they just want the easiest possible input mechanisms.
We agree: CleanApping should be as easy as taking a selfie.
Even today, a person can already submit a CleanApp report just by tweeting this photo to @CleanApp. This already helps us come up with better routing, data management, and mapping processes.
We are developing processes for mining public social media feeds like Twitter & Instagram, so that when a person complains about a “dirty Starbucks,” our algorithms could detect whether the complaint is about a drink called a “dirty Starbucks,” or an actual dirty Starbucks store.
The idea behind the CleanApp Standard is that people should be free to use different social media (Twitter; FB; Instagram; Snapchat) and digital assistants like Amazon Alexa or Siri to do CleanApp reporting (in the home and while out-and-about).
We believe everyone should be able to do CleanApp reporting on their smart watches with gesture control. Everyone should be able to do CleanApp reporting on different smart glasses platforms.
The CleanApp Standard is the conceptual and technical blueprint for true interoperability and maximum user choice; that’s the only way we’ll scale to billions of daily users.
We want to give you the largest number of ways to CleanApp, unified by a common overarching commitment — 100% respect for user-defined data sharing, privacy, security preferences.
CleanApp In-House App Development
Our focus on standardization has been crucial in our own in-house development work. As we continue to prototype and test the best possible mobile CleanApp interfaces, standardization is already paying off.
Standardization allows us to make the user interface as minimalistic as humanly possible. This leads to input processes that are as simple as saying, “Alexa, CleanApp the kitchen,” “Google, CleanApp the cigarette butts on the playground.”
In 2019, we hope to launch at least one operational digital assistant integration that will allow you to do CleanApp reporting verbally — wherever you may be. At first, voice assistant CleanApps will have limited functionality, focusing on in-home CleanApping: “Vesta, CleanApp the kitty litter in the bathroom.” Given the rapid pace of tech advances, we think CleanApp improvements will scale quickly. The biggest player to watch here will be Vesta (Amazon’s projected “Roomba-killer”), slated for release in Q1 2019.
We think Vesta should understand CleanApp commands, and we’re doing everything possible to bring users that level of functionality — while protecting heightened in-home privacy expectations.
Minimalism is key. Our criteria for releasing a traditional smartphone CleanApp is the ability to do casual CleanApping. That’s our measure for success or failure. We’re working on an app interface and user experience where we ourselves want to use CleanApp every time we see a condition or object that needs to be cleaned up. Anything short of that will not get adoption by millions, let alone billions of users.
We’re not there yet, but we will deliver an operational CleanApp in the first half of 2019.
As we explain in the CleanApp Whitepaper, there are many ways to translate waste data into treasure. Consistent with our focus on the user experience and a minimalist UI, we believe that a person shouldn’t be forced to polish the treasure they’ve stumbled upon, and then forced to spend precious minutes tagging and uploading photos of their polished treasure.
CleanApping should take mere seconds, not minutes.
Please understand, we still want to get as much data about the dumpsite as we can, but we believe that we can glean a lot of the data we need just by adopting a standardized approach to reporting (including basics that we often don’t think about, such as using shared timestamps, contextual/dimensional clues for machine learning algorithms, etc.).
Conceptually and operationally, harvesting metadata becomes possible once a standard is sufficiently-refined and widely-adopted. That will take time.
Technically, harvesting metadata becomes possible from the outset with well-designed CleanApp APIs. We have recently started an informal collaboration with a team of very experienced developers. We hope to formalize this relationship and expand our collaboration. By 2020, our goal is to allow subscribers to gain API-level access to CleanApp Analytics — permitting real-time access to streaming incident data.
Standardization and ease-of-use remain guiding principles in API development. Our goal is to give multiple potential responders the easiest possible mechanism for accessing actionable CleanApp data. Here’s the bottom line: the more reporting-response slack that we eliminate, the higher the percentage of successful CleanApp outcomes.
When we submitted our initial patent application in 2013, we knew that the key to successful global CleanApp processes was:
- Incentivizing CleanApp Reporting (users are paid-to-CleanApp);
- Creating many transactional spaces for optimizing CleanApp Reports (same & different users are paid-to-analyze);
- Incentivizing CleanApp Responders to actually respond (users are paid-to-cleanup).
Our process took what’s typically seen as a unitary process (citizen submits complaint → city responds) and fractured it into multiple discrete transactional spaces. Here’s a simplified illustration from the CleanApp Whitepaper:
We realized that the same person could be a CleanApp Reporter and a CleanApp Responder (the approach of apps like Litterati & Rubbish). The same person could snap a photo and tag the photo with valuable information such as composition (paper or plastic, etc.).
But the same person did not need to do all of these steps, if multiple people could be incentivized to lend a hand.
When we scaled the enormous market, social, and ecological potential of billions of discrete CleanApp transactions taking place on secure data markets for incident reports — we got goosebumps. We’re still wearing them.
Today, there are many projects that describe how blockchain-based rewards will be used to incentivize CleanApp activity. IBM has a pilot project called The Plastic Bank; there are startup teams like Wastespace.io, Recereum (crypto rewards for proper waste sorting), and others.
But there’s still only one @Littercoin that actually allows anyone to earn an ETH-based token for uploading CleanApp reports, anytime, from anywhere. CleanApp has no formal alliance or ties with Littercoin, yet, but we’re doing everything possible to prove our bona fides to the Littercoin/OpenLitterMap community. We hope we can find synergies, but if we have to introduce a new incentive scheme, we are prepared for it.
One of the biggest development milestones we hope to achieve between now and 2020 is to effectuate a classic cryptonian alignment of interests between CleanApp Foundation, the OpenLitterMap Foundation, and other established or startup development teams with similar outlooks. In crypto-speak, this is described as reaching consensus. In human-speak, it’s called trust.
Thank you for trusting us as we continue to CleanApp the world as best we can.
Please visit us at www.cleanapp.io to lend your support.