From robotic machinery to augmented reality-driven services, emerging technologies are helping to standardize the industry while making a positive impact on best practices, quality and operational efficiencies.
The Internet of Things
Starting with the Internet of Things – in which everyday objects can send and receive data from the Internet – commercial washing machines can be connected with the Internet allowing laundry owners to adjust price per load real-time. For instance, a company can sense peak times based on usage and charge more per load. During down times, prices can be decreased to attract more customers.
Robotic Cleaning Tools
Robotic cleaning tools are helping institutions like hospitals decrease chances of contamination. Institutions like the Passavant Area Hospital, a Memorial Health System affiliate in Illinois use the Tru-D Smart UVC Disinfection Robot in the operating room to stop the spread of hospital-acquired infections. The robot is a remotely-operated mobile system that uses natural, ultra violet light to disinfect surfaces. The machine is designed to break down the DNA of most bacteria, viruses and spores. When cleaning is complete, the robot shuts down, notifies the operator and reports the results real-time.
Augmented reality (AR) is also making a play to improve the industry by providing added convenience, transparency and improved quality in the cleaning process. AR turns the world around you into a digital interface real-time as you look through smartphones, tablets, laptops, special glasses or lenses. Last summer’s wildly popular game, Pokemon Go, thrust AR into mainstream when it sent crowds of kids and teens on the street, smartphone in hand looking to catch virtual Pokemon creatures. The game generated nearly $1 billion in revenue in six months since its launch, and within a couple of months, the mobile game app was downloaded more than 500 million times.
The benefits of AR are starting to show up in the cleaning services industry. LG, for example, came out with the Hom-Bot Turbo+, a robot vacuum that has multiple cameras, allowing it to keep a record of where it’s been and where it still needs to go. The robot also has an augmented reality feature called Home-Joy that allows users to see a digital interface of the area being cleaned via smartphone and to select parts of the room where they want the robot to work.
There is also an augmented reality start-up that aims to disrupt the industry one mop at a time. Internationally-patented AR-Check combines AR technology with smart glasses to reduce human errors and costs associated with them. AR-Check will allow cleaning staff to look through special glasses as they are cleaning and receive instructions on how to clean the immediate area. They will receive notifications when and where certain tools should be used. With this level of detailed information, AR-Check will not only provides real-time training, but it will help reduces the risk of error and consequently of contamination where bathroom tools, for example, could be confused with tools used to clean areas like the living room or kitchen.
Furthermore, advanced sensors mounted on cleaning tools such as vacuums and mops will tell staff when they are applying enough pressure on the tool to ensure that a surface has been thoroughly cleaned, and colors will denote a clean area, i.e. green for clean, red for dirty. AR-Check will help improve the quality of the cleaning service for owners and operators while ensuring a great experience for customers. AR-Check will provide a dashboard that enables operators to monitor supply levels and to see performance real-time. Staff, in the meantime, will be able to measure their performance against their colleagues. This level of transparency will make billing and inventory management easier and more efficient, while incentivizing staff to work as efficiently as possible. The technology can be applied across multiple industries, including hospitals, hotels, restaurants, and retail to name a few.
As markets get increasingly competitive, every little investment to improve the way businesses operate and serve customers or end users is critical to future success.
Martin Cudzilo is an entrepreneur and has been a leading innovator in the commercial cleaning industry for more than a decade. His start-up, AR-Check, combines augmented reality technology with smart glasses to solve real-world problems in the commercial cleaning sector. Martin is also CEO of Clean Fitness based in Germany. Follow Martin on LinkedIn.