The ‘Internet of Things’ Influences Cleaning Products

The “Internet of Things” is today’s buzzword in the facility management industry. For those unfamiliar, the term refers to objects that are embedded with sensors and software to capture data and connect with operators via smartphones, tablets and computers. 

The Smart Home is the most popular example, with lights, thermostats, refrigerators and more all being accessible via the Internet.
This trend will undoubtedly be coming to the cleaning industry and in some product segments, it’s already here. One manufacturer has even trademarked the term the “Internet of Clean.”

In the very near future, distributors will be able to sell their customers floor equipment that they can monitor remotely to ensure it’s being used correctly (or at all). With this data, cleaning managers and building service contractors will know if the machine is being run long enough, used in the right area, dosing chemicals accurately, being maintained properly and driven safely. If any of these don’t check out, they can retrain operators. One manufacturer claims that improving efficiencies like this can reduce costs by up to 25 percent a year. 

Similarly, in the restroom, paper manufacturers are installing technology into their dispensers so managers can monitor which restrooms need servicing. The data can also be analyzed to determine more accurate cleaning schedules.

Instead of a static schedule servicing all the restrooms, managers may discover that certain ones can be skipped while others may need more frequent attention. 

This more accurate approach is already being used with waste collection at the University of Washington in Seattle. Outdoor waste receptacles on campus are equipped with lid sensors that alert cleaning personnel when receptacles are full and in need of emptying, saving the department substantial labor hours. 

These are just a few examples, but more will be coming. The demand for data is at fever pitch, especially when smart technology like the Internet of Things can be used to determine cleaning frequencies and training needs.