Part two of this three-part article focuses on how BSCs can save time and money with IoT technology.

Ian Campbell, the technology services director for Grosvenor Services, an international property management company with its U.S. headquarters in Orlando, Florida, says the first step a BSC should take when embarking on an IoT initiative is to determine what problems need to be solved.

“We all face everyday cost challenges,” says Campbell. “We face the need to reduce costs to fit client budgets, while at the same time improve efficiencies.”

When implementing smart technology, BSCs need to determine what data is relevant and then start analyzing what is already being compiled, including any reports from building management on restroom usage and traffic.

“By utilizing data, you can accurately gauge how many cleaners you will need,” says Campbell. “You don’t need to tax cleaners with having to go back to check if the area needs servicing.”

A BSC’s need to increase efficiency or drive down costs should be well-defined before any technology investment is made. If it is not, Campbell warns, the ultimate goal of “doing more with less” will not be fully realized, and the building service contractor may get “lost within the sea of data” and not realize what data is valuable.

“People go about this connecting a whole heap of stuff up without really defining the needs,” says Campbell, “and then you end up with a monster.”

And the data is quickly accumulating. Some manufacturers have IoT products that allow users to monitor hand hygiene compliance. By tracking how much soap was dispensed during a given time period, data trackers can compare this number against how many people entered the restroom to see if people are actually washing their hands.

“Electronic monitoring is the only way to get accurate compliance measurements,” says Paul Blount, group marketing director for Deb Group, Denby, Derbyshire, England, with U.S. offices in Charlotte, North Carolina. “Once you have the data, it’s hard to ignore.”

The technology is largely in the health care setting at the moment, but manufacturers are exploring using it in other markets, including foodservice and industrial. This latter market, in which BSCs have a stronger presence, has the goal of improving the rates of hand cream and lotion use to reduce skin disease problems.

A 2013 study by Michigan State University found that only 5 percent of people properly washed their hands after using the restroom. This behavior needs to change, but how can BSCs get restroom users to change?

“One way is to jolt them into [taking action],” says Blount. “Accurate data shows them they need to change.”