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SMARTER CLEANING –


NOT JUST FOR WASHROOMS


Sensors are already enhancing washrooms and improving their


efficiency. Essity’s Steve Palmer asks how they can be employed to make improvements in the wider world of cleaning.


Sensors are everywhere, and their usefulness is increasing all the time.


Over the past few years there has been a quiet revolution in terms of sensor technology at home, at work and in the public arena. Some of the latest and more bizarre products were showcased at January’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in the US.


These included a sensor designed for use in a pet’s bed to enable the owners to remotely monitor how much time their dog or cat spent asleep. This product also enabled the pet-lover to warm up the animal’s bed if the house became too cold.


A second sensor - designed for use in socks – was said to be helpful for runners and other athletes since it was able to track any changes in the wearer’s gait. An alteration in running style could be an indicator that the wearer was in distress and needed help, according to the manufacturers.


And there were other products on display designed to help the elderly, such as sensors that would alert a relative when a pensioner has a fall in their home, plus others that could track a wandering dementia patient via sensors sewn into their clothing.


Meanwhile, sensors are being widely used in the commercial sector and in office buildings where they are improving efficiency and increasing productivity across the board. For example, some retail facilities now use smart shelving that can detect when a product line is running low and that will monitor the quality of perishable items.


46 | SOFTWARE


In the FM industry, sensors are being placed near boilers and air conditioning units to collect performance data and create an alert when a potential problem is identified. And in offices, sensors use location- based technology to reduce the amount of time staff spend looking for a hot-desk or meeting room. These sensors upload information on whether or not a space is occupied and can even help employees check whether a printer is available or if a coffee machine is free without having to leave their desks.


The washroom has been benefiting from sensor technology for some years. For example, sensors are often used in conjunction with flush systems, dispensers and taps to allow these facilities to work automatically and minimise the number of surfaces that the visitor has to touch. Meanwhile, Tork has pioneered the use of sensors to ease the burden of cleaners by allowing them to remotely monitor refill needs and cleaning requirements.


Tork EasyCube takes the washroom sensor to the next level. Sensors in washroom dispensers and on doors gather information on visitor numbers, refill levels and relays this data via the internet. This allows the cleaner to ascertain in advance exactly how much soap and toilet paper to bring with them on their trolley and how many packs of hand towels they will need.


By providing cleaners with information on visitor traffic in each washroom, EasyCube can help them to plan their rounds more effectively and estimate how long they are likely to take cleaning each toilet.


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