Internet of Things (IOT), cleaning automation Tue, May 26, '20
How Remote Monitoring will Transform Cleaning in the New Normal

Remotely monitoring your cleaning operations via internet-connected robots might have sounded like science fiction a few years ago. But it’s actually a critical capability that cleaning companies will need to consider in the new normal as businesses return to the office with social distancing policies in place.

Prior to the COVID-19  outbreak, some cleaning companies had already begun implementing connected cleaning technologies; still others had begun adding IoT capabilities to their roadmaps. However, the coronavirus pandemic has only increased the need for remote access to data that can only be made available through IoT technologies.   

IoT, Already Increasing in Momentum, Accelerates Amid Pandemic 

Across all industries, the adoption of connected IoT devices has exploded in recent years, and IoT technologies have become embedded in many aspects of everyday life in homes, offices, and public spaces.  According to the IoT Industry Report, “The global internet of things (IoT) market was valued at $190 billion USD in 2018 and is projected to reach $1,102.6 billion by 2026.”  

The COVID-19 pandemic is only accelerating this trend further, as verticals like manufacturing, healthcare, property management, and hospitality seek flexible, intelligent solutions to the new challenges the pandemic has introduced.   

IoT and Remote Monitoring Enable Social Distancing and No-Touch Environments 

Traditionally, IoT technologies have been valued for providing previously inaccessible insights into productivity and performance--as well as helping companies increase operational efficiencies. In addition, as Brain Corp notes, IoT technologies have become invaluable in ensuring sustainability for commercial cleaning companies.  These benefits still hold true in the new normal.

However, as offices and public spaces are reopening, we’re now also seeing the value of IoT devices for their ability to enable no-touch environments and social distancing practices.  For example, smart thermostats and lighting can be controlled with sensors or from a smartphone instead of pushing buttons and flipping switches, reducing the need for multiple people to touch the same surface repeatedly throughout the day (AllWork). 

In hospitals, connected wearables are being used to remotely monitor and track patient vital signs, which can help identify and predict outbreak patterns (Omdia).  And in manufacturing facilities, IoT technologies are being integrated with digital asset management tools to remotely monitor, troubleshoot, and diagnose equipment, reducing the need for in-person diagnostics that can expose workers to infection risk (Control Engineering).  

Benefits of Remote Monitoring for Commercial Cleaning

In the commercial cleaning industry, connected cleaning technologies are also supporting social distancing requirements thanks to their remote monitoring capabilities. These technologies let you remotely monitor the performance of cleaning robots in real-time, limiting unnecessary person-to-person interactions. In addition, these cleaning robots can deliver automated cleaning reports, which can further reduce the need for in-person contact. Plus, cleaning robots can deliver the exceptionally high levels of cleanliness now required in the new normal.

Below are 3 ways remote monitoring of cleaning technologies can enable social distancing while maintaining extremely high levels of cleaning quality.

1. Real-Time Monitoring of Cleaning Progress

Frequently checking on cleaning performance in person can make cleaning personnel a vector for spreading disease. Instead, cleaning companies can deploy cleaning robots in multiple locations and monitor their status and performance remotely in near real-time, thereby limiting the number of workers needed on-location. 

For example, Whiz, the autonomous vacuum sweeper from SoftBank Robotics, collects data about its route that includes when, where, and how long it ran. Data is stored in the cloud and can be accessed in near real-time via Whiz Connect. Remote access to this information reduces the need for in-person check-ins to confirm cleaning performance.

2. Automated Reporting  

In addition to real-time monitoring of cleaning status, connected cleaning technologies can also provide automated reports for long term analysis of cleaning performance, without the need for an in-person evaluation.  Automated reporting can also help you gain visibility into the breadth and depth of cleaning, better manage outsourced work, and optimize the use of direct and indirect labor.  By optimizing your cleaning operations, you can create more efficiencies around the work that must be done by humans to minimize human contact and reduce the possibility of catching or transmitting infections. 

3. Improved Cleaning Quality -- From a Distance

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, with the help of cleaning robots, social distancing doesn’t need to negatively impact cleaning quality and effectiveness.  In fact, cleaning robots can actually improve cleaning quality and help your commercial cleaning business meet increasingly stringent cleaning requirements.  For example, Whiz can get floors 50% cleaner compared to manual sweeping and vacuuming.

Conclusion

As we return to work and other public places, your clients will now expect both social distancing and a higher level of cleanliness. IoT cleaning technologies with remote monitoring capabilities can help you achieve both. In addition, autonomous cleaning solutions like Whiz, the autonomous vacuum sweeper from Softbank Robotics, developed and distributed in partnership with Brain OS and ICE Robotics, are available with a subscription model, allowing you to cost-effectively pilot the solution in your properties. 

Attend our upcoming webinar on May 28, Automation Amidst the New Normal, to learn more.