What challenges still have to be overcome for IoT to work in the cleaning industry?

Mary Miller, JANCOA: There are still many buildings that don’t have full or consistent connectivity to the internet. It is difficult to communicate accurate information without that consistency. Also, many times people have higher expectations of technology than it is designed to achieve. I believe experience and time will bring more clarity and opportunity to take advantage of the new possibilities.

Paul Senecal, AffinEco: We work on very low margins, so the investment needs to have a tangible return.

Nathalie Doobin, Harvard Services Group: One challenge will be the fast-paced updates, and training needed to keep up with it, for our decentralized workforce. Some employees may find the fast-paced environment and the need to adapt to new ways more difficult than others, new ways in which we will be managing our business using data and information provided through IoT.

Another challenge is the change management required with property owners with regards to giving contractors access to buildings’ Wi-Fi networks, so the company can collect the necessary data to access the benefits IoT will provide. Maybe more than anything, more patience will be needed as workers learn new tools and all parties learn to interpret the data received.

Laurie Sewell, Servicon Systems: Limited bandwidth. Clients only have so much to use for employees, guests, etc. Adding to this is a challenge. Plus, there are security issues around Wi-Fi-enabled devices in some facilities.
There will also be concerns from the frontline workforce around “Big Brother” watching them.

IoT must present a good ROI to the end user and BSC.

If you are a union company, will IoT be accepted and embraced?

Paul Senecal, AffinEco: They will fight it, but eventually it will bargained into our contracts with the union.

Laurie Sewell, Servicon Systems: We are hopeful, and already starting conversations around this and other technologies, but the use of some of these items may have to be negotiated.

Mary Miller, JANCOA: Yes we are, and I don’t see the unions having a problem with having technology that will make the employees job easier to complete the tasks necessary.

Nathalie Doobin, Harvard Services Group: We believe unions will want to see that the proposed technology improvements are good for their members, our employees. We have similar goals — we both want to ensure our workforce can perform their work in a safer manner, that it helps improve their skills, and employees are successful in completing their tasks. I believe that as long as we focus on the betterment of the employee and their well-being, we are setting the stage for a win-win situation.

IoT can track janitor schedules and monitor their time. Do you think this will improve efficiencies or inhibit your ability to empower janitors with a sense of ownership and pride?

Nathalie Doobin, Harvard Services Group: We see great benefits in empowering our employees with information. More than anything, I believe the information is going to help us ensure our cleaners feel more successful in the execution of their work. Through point-of-service analytics, they will have better access to training, understand what areas to focus on, how to deliver better service and, most importantly, get real-time feedback on how well they are performing.

Paul Senecal, AffinEco: I think it will improve efficiency, but increase our accountability to our clients.

Mary Miller, JANCOA: Having information does help manage a process. If the team members are focused on tasks and the time spent rather than the results being achieved during that time, there will be no benefit. Schedules and time spent does not necessarily equate to cleaner areas.

Laurie Sewell, Servicon Systems: IoT will improve efficiencies — employee engagement is an entirely another matter. Many of our folks understand technology.


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Advantages Of Internet Of Things Technology