While green data centre initiatives often get the spotlight, some technologies can actually help companies reduce their environmental footprint outside of the data centre. One such application comes from Ottawa-based RideShark, which is up for a corporate award at next month’s Information Technology Association of Canada (ITAC) IT Hero Awards.
The company’s RideShark Commute Management System is a Web-based service that looks to connect car-poolers, walkers, cyclists and transit riders together on their way to work or play. While initially geared toward municipalities, with its first customer being the City of Ottawa, the company has increasingly set its sights on major enterprises.
“We’ve found private-sector companies are looking to make a more tangible impact on their employee’s environmental responsibilities and their engagement with employees in general,” said Sharon Lewinson, president of RideShark.
In the weeks leading up to the June 22 ceremony, ComputerWorld Canada will feature several of the nominees up for the ITAC awards, which aim to recognize the creative application of IT for the social and economic benefit of Canadians.
The initial focus for the company was regular car-pooling trips, but as the software has grown, so has the feature list. In addition to single-trip matching, RideShark has also added the ability for users to calculate their cost and emissions savings, as well as an incentive module that lets companies or municipalities dish out rewards to people that make sustainable travel choices.
The emission tracker is especially popular among the company’s large business clients because it allows them to track and monitor emission savings for their annual reports.
“Companies want to be able to track what their people are doing and understand how they are getting to and from work,” Lewinson said.
One early RideShark adopter was Nortel Networks, which actually implemented a car-pool parking management module to the software. This gave car-pooling employees premium parking spaces and helped foster sustainable commuting throughout the company.