At the University of Waterloo in Canada,, a fellowship is helping to fund graduates working on new technologies and startups. One entrepreneur taking part is Raqib Omer, a Waterloo engineering graduate. Omer has developed a system called Smart Scale that is designed for the winter maintenance industry.

During the winter, contractors spread salt on roads, parking lots, and sidewalks, but it can be difficult to tell how much they are actually using. Smart Scale brings technology into the picture, providing an automated salt logging and tracking system.

Smart Scale includes a hardware device in the vehicle that is wirelessly paired with GPS-enabled smartphones. The system is able to track both the vehicle’s location and the amount of salt dispensed. All the data is logged on a cloud-based platform in realtime. According to Omer, salt is often priced by the size of the load, so monitoring allows customers to be sure they are receiving the same amount of salt they paid for.

Currently, more than 20 winter maintenance contractors in Canada and the U.S. are using Smart Scale. One customer is Urban Meadows Property Maintenance Group, located in Ayr, Ont. The company says by using the system it was able to determine it had been spreading too much salt. With Smart Scale installed, Urban Meadows can now accurately monitor salt, which has led to decreased costs and less salt use overall.

Salt monitoring isn’t the only winter maintenance use for M2M. In many cities, snow plows are equipped with GPS tracking to give managers a better insight into the fleet’s status. By knowing the exact location and route of each plow, a city can more quickly clear roads and ensure trucks are using the most efficient routes.

With snow season in full swing, it’s good to know technology is helping to keep the roads safer. M2M monitoring and data analysis can promote the best use of both materials and workers.