Part two of this four-part article focuses on Internet of Things technology featured at the show.

Smart technology, or Internet of Things (IoT), came to the cleaning industry in full-force last year, and, based on the products seen in Amsterdam, it’s clear it will only continue to evolve and make further in-roads.

The technology is already prevalent on autoscrubbers to collect and offer real-time data on proper usage, location and running time.

“The goal is to enable [users] to be more productive and operate more efficiently so they don’t have a fixed schedule everyday,” says Linda Schroder, press office and public relations for Kärcher, Winnenden, Germany, with U.S. offices in Denver. “Instead, they are cleaning on demand.”

Advances in smart technology will allow operators to receive preventative maintenance alerts; for example, if a hose is wearing down and will need replacing. Another anticipated goal is to have machines scan the floor after cleaning and determine if it is truly clean. For instance, if a squeegee is worn and the machine is leaving streaks on the floor, future machines will be able to detect that the floor wasn’t cleaned properly.

IoT technology is also advancing in the restroom. Distributors may have already seen smart dispensers that track usage and send alerts when supplies are low. User tracking is helpful when attempting to improve hand hygiene compliance rates, especially in critical facilities such as hospitals.

“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. “Once you have the data, it’s hard to ignore.”

In the years to come this tracking will also be done in other types of facilities. Foodservice is a natural next step, because hand washing can reduce the threat of foodborne illnesses. In industrial facilities, the goal is to encourage the use of skin care products to reduce problems associated with skin disease.

Towel and soap dispensers are no longer the only restroom fixtures using smart technology. Some hand dryers at the show also monitor the number of drying cycles, operating time and how long the unit has been connected to a power source.

A new product category for IoT showcased in Amsterdam was warewashing and other chemical dispensers. Units detect when tubing is wearing down and going to need replacement. This gives operators plenty of time to schedule maintenance before the product breaks, helping to ensure chemical is dispensed properly and dishes or clothes are actually being washed and sanitized.
 
“The data side is crucial,” says Alistair Blair-Davies, global director, brand and marketing communications for Hydro Systems Europe, Bracknell, Berkshire, England, with world headquarters in Cincinnati. “You need to show that chemical has been dispensed. Temperature is also a requirement, especially for dishwashing, and, finally, using the appropriate amount of chemical.”

Some proportioner units offer real-time access to the data while others have delayed information downloadable onto a USB drive.

In the Management and Mobility Pavilion, IoT was moving beyond products to capture data on janitors. Yes, machines show supervisors if their employees are using the equipment, but now, every task can be monitored.

Evidence-based cleaning has each janitor check in at a building by scanning a bar code with a mobile phone or tablet. The janitor then receives a task list on the device. Before entering each area to be cleaned, the worker will scan another bar code outside of the room. With this information, supervisors can monitor, in real-time, where each janitor is and how long he or she is taking to clean a given space.