Binmen given rugged BlackBerry handsets

Are your bins late for emptying this week? it could be because your local binmen are checking their email on their new BlackBerry handsets. Yes, that's right, binmen are to be given BlackBerrys, specifically those employed by waste firm Biffa and not just any old BlackBerry smartphones. These are 'rugged' ones.

According to the Daily Telegraph, Biffa, which does bin collections for 25 local authorities, is using the devices to 'get more done on the move'. How does that work? Well, Vicky Panayiotou, of Biffa said binmen could use them to collect data from customers, download maps and communicate with head office. So not Twitter, Facebook and checking Gmail, but more business-based use.

They might also be used to snap any nasties they the workers find on their round - overfilled bins or wrong items in recyling. 'They can take pictures, but they won't as standard,' the company spokesperson added. 'If there are any defects or a health and safety problem, they might take pictures.' You have been warned.

The devices, which use Vodafone's network, will also be used to track the location of trucks and the men inside. Tracking down and spotting the actual device is proving more difficult though. We suspect it's your average BlackBerry with a tougher shell and an adapted operating system, but don't know for sure. So if you see a Biffa truck coming down your road, stop one of the people in it and ask to see his smartphone. Then snap it and send us the photo. We're more than intrigued.

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