When CleanApp started its work in 2013, our goal was to develop technologies that would make it as easy as possible to do different types of incident reporting, such as litter/hazard reporting. Our main goal was much greater utility than anything that was available on the market then:
If we all had a background tool on our smart devices that could securely and flexibly handle, say, litter/hazard reports both indoors & out, then people would use it.
Back then, there was no smartphone app with global coverage, capable of handling indoor and outdoor reporting. Over these past five years, teams like SeeClickFix and Litterati have continued to grow, refining their already-strong core processes and apps.
Today We Have Many CleanApps
Today, there are many CleanApps (trash/hazard reporting apps) on the market, and this is a very good sign.
Because of the large number of additional market entrants into the CleanApp space, we have started compiling a list of apps/services that offer CleanApp functionality (incident/litter/hazard reporting).
The current version of CleanApp:List is available here. If your app/service is not on the list, please contact us and we will gladly add you. We are especially interested in learning about non-Anglophone CleanApp-type app/service offerings.
Full-Spectrum CleanApp is Imminent
The world still does not have a single app, service, or process that can handle indoor and outdoor reporting, but the SwachhBharatApp is a good illustration of what that service would look like.
Every participant and analyst in the space understands that universal incident reporting functionality is a matter of when, not if.
The imminent convergence of indoor-outdoor reporting (what we call full-spectrum incident reporting) also shows the need for open-source standards for trash/hazard reporting and response processes.
Over the past two years, CleanApp has been gone back to the drawing board, continuing its research in three directions:
- Augmented Reality (AR) CleanApp embodiments & supporting machine learning architectures and processes;
- Blockchain CleanApp embodiments & integration with existing end-user I/O processes;
- User Experience (UE) improvements, including optimal UI and data-privacy/data-security regimes.
What we have learned will make people’s CleanApp experiences even better than anyone can currently imagine. In anticipation of this ubiquitous CleanApp offering, whether launched as GoogleCleanApp, and/or TwitterCleanApp and/or SiriCleanApp and/or AmazonCleanApp, etc. — CleanApp Foundation has developed draft documentation relating to the first version of the CleanApp Standard.
We are currently soliciting peer-review/feedback on this documentation. If you would like to be a part of our standard-setting process (including access to this draft documentation), please contact us.
Give People What They Want
A key finding of our third research stream is that the majority of users would prefer using existing I/O processes to perform CleanApp reporting functions, including using existing dedicated reporting apps.
If some people want to use Google for CleanApping, that’s great. If others want to use Litterati or SeeClickFix, that’s excellent. Instead of trying to change user behavior, we can still obtain the gains from global CleanApp processing (including powerful analytics from robust streams of incident report data) except by means of interoperability standards.
If a person uses SeeClickFix while at a park, then uses Upskill at work, followed by Twitter at home, reports from all three services should be accessible to third parties tasked with (or interested in) responding to (or studying) that particular report.
Need for Open CleanApp Standard
The need for an open standard for trash/hazard reporting stems from these considerations:
- More Reporters. More and more people use different reporting technologies to generate litter/hazard incident reports, in more and more locations/contexts (e.g., using Twitter, Waze, 311-type reporting apps like SeeClickFix, city-specific apps like MyLA311, anti-litter apps like Litterati, World Cleanup Day, Pirika, & OpenLitterMap, etc.);
- More Responders. The rise of reporting activity and proliferation of CleanApp-type reporting tech is accompanied by an exponential increase in the capabilities of machine learning, Blockchain computing and market-making technology, robot tech (including new generations of enterprise-grade & consumer-grade RoboVacs & autonomous robot systems capable of serving as ideal autonomous CleanApp Responder bots);
Over the past five years, CleanApp has cemented its place as an innovator in the previously non-existent space between these two sets of technologies.
Since our first patent filing in 2013, CleanApp has seen the tremendous levels of new hyper-utility that are unleashed when we integrate CleanApp reporting tech with different forms of CleanApp responding tech.
Today, our campaign to accelerate the alignment and marriage of these different forms of ReportingTech & ResponderTech is stronger than ever. Our market research, industry outreach, and in-house research and development efforts are aided by a veritable explosion of new consumer-oriented SmartHome/SmartCity solutions.
The advent of various SmartHome/SmartCity technologies signals a clear need for new interoperability paradigms, horizontally and vertically.
We know that there are a lot of obstacles to a successful standard-setting process in a market space as inherently fractured, localized, and discombobulated as the SmartHome-SmartCity-CleanTech nexus.
We understand the challenges and difficulties that lie ahead. We also know that the standard-setting community–including the pioneering efforts of the Wi-Fi Alliance, Bluetooth Special Interest Group, and Open311–give us a much clearer roadmap for success.
A standard for CleanApp activity (covering the full spectrum of potential reporter-reporter, reporter-responder, responder-responder markets) is not a matter of if, but a matter of when.
Our confidence in our ability to convince various stakeholders’ of the inevitability of open standards stems from our understanding of the enormous added utility and market efficiency gains that follow the free, but harmonized, flow of data across increasingly global data markets.
CleanApp market makers must also realize that the scale of their success depends on our shared ability to understand the dynamics of global governance as much as the dynamics of global data flows, particularly the fluid relationship between the two.
Lastly, the success of the overall global CleanApp enterprise (including, of course, the tremendous & fast environmental cleanup gains that flow from a smart implementation of a harmonized global adoption strategy) hinges on the ability of the CleanApp community to stand up to powerful incumbents and to demand adherence to entirely new types of user-defined data privacy & data security norms.
User/Civic Rights Are Paramount
One the key breakthroughs we had early in our journey was a remarkably simple realization:
(1) The easier it is to do litter/hazard reporting, the more people will do so; (2) the more people that do litter/hazard reporting, the easier it is to deploy effective response processes; (3) the more that people see that their reporting activity produces tangible response activity, the more likely they are to continue to do litter/hazard reporting.
This the CleanApp version of the famous mantra, “If you build it, they will come.” In the context of CleanApp, there’s another extremely positive factor at play.
From “Open-Source” v. “Closed-Source” To “User-Source”
The rapid pace of technological advancement in each prong of the CleanApp process means that the virtuous cycle above is lubricated and accelerated by each successive wave of improvement in overall user experience and users’ utility gains vis-a-vis different mobile computing platforms, including smartphones, smart watches, and now, increasingly, AR.
These are positive developments. Translated into standards, they suggest the need to remove as much friction as possible from a CleanApp user’s overall experience with CleanApp technology. In the simplest embodiment of an operational CleanApp standard, this can mean something as simple as permitting users to submit fully anonymous CleanApp Reports into the public domain, with no residual data-retention rights.
CleanApp’s approach to standard-setting transcends the conventional “open-source”/”closed-source” binary in favor of a “user-source” data-privacy, data-security regime.
This means that CleanApp standards must be hardwired to honor user autonomy and dynamic conceptions of user choice. User-defined privacy is uncontroversial because it’s nothing more than a manifestation of individual sovereignty in different legal, civic, and online communities.
CleanApp = Privacy/Security Balancing
As the global privacy/security debate continues to evolve (in physical & virtual domains), the CleanApp market space and civic space presents an ideal sandbox environment for developing a fluid yet robust user-defined privacy regime. A workable data-privacy/data-security balance with respect to global torrents of litter/hazard data is a necessary precondition for a workable data-privacy/data-security regime in every other data-sharing context with higher levels of privacy/security expectation.
The need for better data privacy norms and processes is readily apparent. Even though many internet users enjoy different levels of contractual and statutory privacy rights, in practice, modifying or exercising those rights is extremely cumbersome.
Worldwide, significant industry and civil society effort is already being channeled to develop better data-sharing regimes for 21st century applications, including in the realm of many novel and untested technologies (e.g., individual autonomy & right of publicity in the context of ubiquitous AR). We anticipate that, in the 2020-2030 time frame, user expectations will place even stronger emphasis on functional utility, functional interoperability, and functionally flexible data-privacy and data-security standards.
Privacy Friction & Lubrication
Uncertainty over privacy/security/data rights is a major known source of friction in online markets. CleanApp must eliminate “rights uncertainty” and “de facto rights immutability” as sources of friction as much as legally possible. This is vital to realize the full range of market, emancipatory, and environmental gains that flow from full-spectrum CleanApp activity.
Phrased this way, there’s is a risk of confusion, as some may think doing away with uncertainty as a source of friction is akin to doing away with the rights altogether. At CleanApp, we realize that shifting regulatory requirements will continue to define the end-user experience. But we also realize that new technologies may also hold the key to new ways of “getting privacy right”–away from concerns about privacy as a form of friction from the perspective of citizen, towards fluid user-defined privacy guarantees that are algorithmically built-in to underlying processes.
Technologies necessary for context-defined privacy practices are already live. Next generation context-based AI-enabled intent recognition may seem like science fiction today, but these are BigTech consumer-oriented technologies that are already in public beta-testing.
To illustrate how these technologies may translate into CleanApp practice, we can imagine the following voice command spoken to a smart assistant on an Android smartphone:
“Google, CleanApp that dog poop on the sidewalk, oh, and, CleanApp the kitchen floor.”
The command has at least two inferred intents, with two likely different sets of data-privacy expectations. With the former, the user may be generating a photo (or mere geolocation tag) for a civic complaint which the user may be fine with releasing into the public domain. With the latter, chances are high the user wants strictly private data reporting and response processing, whatever the response process may be (AmazonClean, AmazonVesta, Roomba, etc.).
There are several key takeaways from from this illustration:
- from a user-perspective, the freedom to generate two (or more) data-sharing intents in one transactional space opens entirely new utility horizons (the alternative is at least two separate reporting instances with cumbersome user-specified data-sharing instructions);
- automated situational adjustments to privacy/data-sharing settings are possible, and tech can be trained to make these adjustments with asymptotic-100% accuracy;
- a user must have the highest levels of trust imaginable in the underlying CleanApp data-storage/data-sharing processes in order to realize the hyperutility gains that flow from the ability to casually tell Siri, “CleanApp the spilled milk in Aisle 7,” followed by a hand gesture at home that signals to Amazon Vesta to “CleanApp the spilled rice all over the floor next to the sleeping toddler.”
CleanApp = SmartHome/IoT + SmartCity
One of CleanApp’s clearest utility propositions is the ease and peace-of-mind that comes from having a tool with infinite reporting functionality and nearly universal reach.
The whole point of CleanApp is to make it possible to use CleanApp seamlessly, casually, everywhere one goes, for every object or condition that needs to be cleaned up (hence the very name, CleanApp).
From the start, CleanApp was conceived as a Swiss Army knife of mobile utility, with report intake capacity for any type of object or condition in virtually any location, including high-rise buildings and congested roadways.
This was one of the novel approaches we outlined in our first patent filings for massively scaling-up reporting activity, so as to jump-start the virtuous report-respond-refine cycle described above.
The SmartHome + SmartCity juncture presents many unique standardization challenges. In the CleanApp reporting-responding context, it requires novel approaches to geofencing, dynamic jurisdiction mapping, and micro-situational/ultra-localized privacy and data-sharing regimes.
- A user may want only particular types of responders (only robot or only human) to gain access to her reports.
- A user may want reports within a 100m-radius of one’s home to go solely to a landlord, and/or a private cleaning service, but everything beyond a 100m-radius to be channeled to a particular municipal 311 API.
- Conversely, a citizen may want all of his data to be posted automatically in an unattributed and securely anonymous fashion as a form of spotlighting ineffectiveness of municipal or workplace report-response mechanisms.
- A person may want all of their in-home CleanApp reports to be cached solely on their home computers, and securely destroyed at given intervals.
A single platform that allows people to define their own reporting parameters for these various locations and that is easy to modify and optimize on the go, is a platform that will be used by billions of people to perform billions of reporting transactions daily, on different HW/SW I/O mediums.
CleanApp + New Internet = Hyperutility
If we take one step forward and consider the hyperutility of different Blockchain embodiments of CleanApp, we can see that even the ambitious targets described here are just scratching the surface of CleanApp’s potential.
One we consider integrations of different aspects of the CleanApp ecosystem into existing processes like SeeClickFix, Upskill, World Cleanup Day, et al., the truly transformative and emancipatory potential of CleanApp comes into greater view.
At global scales of billions of users, here is what CleanApp helps us attain:
- For the first time in human civilizational history, we can obtain data on how much trash we produce globally and hyper-locally;
- CleanApp allows clear understanding of global trash provenance and diffusion, including the scourge of plastic pollution, but also drug litter, hazardous waste, unexploded ordnance;
- CleanApp permits far more efficient market-based and regulatory solutions for allocation of so-called externalities like waste and pollution, including opening new pathways for liability tracing and fault attribution;
- CleanApp reinvents recycling by drastically increasing individual and institutional recycling & reuse rates, including in numerous previously “unrecyclable” materials categories;
- CleanApp Analytics will help improve current and next-gen trash-sorting processes and methods, greatly increasing landfill diversion rates;
- CleanApp opens new pathways for ultra-scarce resource reclamation, like rare metals from grossly mangled waste electronics as opposed to today’s practice of solely-undamaged mass-market goods (e.g., iPhone)-disassembly;
- CleanApp makes all of our shared and personal environments safer & cleaner;
- As it is a secure platform with anonymous reporting capability, CleanApp provides a tool for spotlighting workplace and municipal waste/hazards, without fear of reprisal.
- Paired with human responders and fleets of robotic CleanApp Responders, CleanApp finally permits us to clean up 150-years of nonstop and exponentially increasing human litter from our land, marine and submarine environments.
Oh, and … a globally-scaled CleanApp also serves as the world’s largest “lost & found” database, allowing you to query whether that one earring from the set that your late-grandmother gave you is around somewhere, or if someone somewhere might have stumbled on “Muffy” your dog’s collar, so that you can reclaim hope or perhaps gain some closure.
The hyperutility gains listed above are not science fiction or a wishlist from yet another techtopia. This is what’s possible with today’s off-the-shelf hardware and software and a compassionate, pragmatic, humanistic approach to technology.
At CleanApp, we understand that many people may have skeptical or incredulous initial responses to the list above. This is precisely why CleanApp invokes the standard-setting precedent of the Wi-Fi Alliance and Bluetooth.
Take a moment to consider the breathtaking, nearly imperceptible, hyperutility that we enjoy when we use WiFi and Bluetooth.
- With WiFi, we can hop on and off faster networks without so-much as glancing down at our phones, while extremely complex and extremely secure packet switching operations take place as various “background processes.” And this is just the tip of the iceberg, of course.
- With Bluetooth, can step into a car with Bluetooth integration, and without so much as looking at our phones, we can be routed to our destinations, we can initiate phone calls without the added distraction of glancing down at a small screen, we can continue listening to a Khan Academy lecture, and so on. As with WiFi, consider that this is just one of billions of instances of Bluetooth use and utility.
When we take a broader view of the billions of lives that have been improved by these two standards, we realize the centrality of standard-setting in our lives.
As you read this, please understand that WiFi and Bluetooth (and so many other standards that serve as blueprints for a well-functioning society) got their starts with outlines like the one you are reading now.
If you do not have the time to delve into those complex and contested histories of WiFi & Bluetooth, we understand; but please have the courage of vision to trust the motives that are coursing through these lines.
CleanApp = Vast New Markets
At global scales, over a 2018-2038 time frame, CleanApp represents trillion-dollar-plus markets–plural. Crucially, this estimate does not include the expected economic gains and emancipatory potential in the form of micro-financial (and non-financial, productive) incentivization for CleanApp reporting and responding activity.
Even in conventional monetized terms, CleanApp’s market potential is staggering.
It should be possible to do CleanApp by talking to Actions on Google & Android, and/or through SeeClickFix, and/or on Litterati, and/or with OpenLitterMap, and/or via Siri, and/or with the help of Alexa & Vesta, and/or by winking at litter while wearing Snapchat Spectacles, and/or by waving your hand or snapping your fingers while wearing a Samsung Gear or Apple Watch.
The easier it is to do litter/hazard reporting, the more people will do so; the more people do CleanApp reports, the better or reporting and responding technologies become.
A single CleanApp process can and should be used indoors and outdoors, in public spaces and in the most intimate private places, and in the perennially tricky gray areas between private and public, restricted and open (like a supermarket parking lot that spews trash onto public sidewalks, roads and waterways).
Any categorical regime that restricts the geographical usefulness of a tool, or the range of objects or hazards that can be reported, or that imposes inflexible bright-line rules for data protection necessarily limits its own utility. A smartphone, like a Swiss Army knife, is a paragon of utility because it can be used anywhere, by anyone, to do so many different things.
By leveraging off-the-shelf (not to mention soon-forthcoming) data analytics, artificial intelligence, blockchain computing, and hardware advances, universal CleanApp processes can greatly extend the utility of current-generation smartphones, smartwatches, and smartglasses running current-generation reporting apps.
“Universal CleanApp processes” = CleanApp standardization at the intersection of the SmartHome + SmartCity juncture.
In light of the apparent need for a harmonized approach to CleanApp integration into existing technologies, we are also actively working to create an industry group to serve as an umbrella standard-setting organization. We seek broad sectoral participation from the BigTech, CivicTech, CleanTech, GreenTech, Crypto/Blockchain communities.
Organizationally, our models in this endeavor are the Wi-Fi Alliance and Bluetooth Special Interest Group. We have opened a channel of communication with the IEEE and welcome input from industry leaders in various fields who have navigated complex multi-sectoral standard-setting waters.
If you would like to be a part of our standard-setting process (including access to draft standards), please contact us.