Science fiction meets simplicity
01 July 2016
ISSA/INTERCLEAN Amsterdam may be over for another two years but the multitude of innovations launched at the global exhibition for cleaning professionals will have a big impact on the industry for a long time to come.
The Amsterdam Innovation Award 2016 provided a fascinating insight into where the market is now and where it's heading. The Internet of Things (IoT) – essentially a network of devices connected to the Internet that can capture and exchange data – is really taking off in the cleaning industry. More businesses are realising that it can help them to work proactively rather than reactively, thereby improving efficiency, performance and reducing costs at the same time.
To find out more about the very latest 'smart' technologies introduced to the market from robots to augmented reality, please click here.
Of course, you don't have to use 'smart' technology to work smarter. Cleaning is still a labour-intensive sector and the development of more user-friendly manual methods remains vital. It's often true that the simplest ideas are the best. Take the Quick & Easy System from Werner & Mertz Professional, which won the category for 'Equipment/tools for cleaning, care and safety' at the Innovation Award: The operator wears the system on a belt and can move from room to room with five different chemicals, changing between them quickly and easily. There is no need for installation and the operative does not come into direct contact with the chemical, making it completely safe.
As if the products and services on show at ISSA/INTERCLEAN hadn't given us enough food for thought, facilities management firm Mitie announced on 1st June that it was launching a new drone service.
The company said the drones will enable it to inspect properties and use thermal sensors to find out whether there are pests, such as seagulls, in buildings up to 400ft without the need for specialist equipment. Data from the drone can be processed by a smartphone or tablet, reducing the need to send people to investigate.
Mitie also has plans to use drones for looking at whether buildings need cleaning, for general building damage inspections, security, and to carry out aerial mapping for its landscaping service.
With a number of technologies previously thought to be 'science fiction' now becoming a reality in professional cleaning, it's certainly an exciting time to be involved in the industry. These new products and ways of working are great in helping us overcome ongoing challenges – from the downward pressure on margins in cleaning to the upward pressure on wage costs. But beyond that, they can also elevate the cleaning experience, taking quality to a new level and bringing greater pride and prestige to our industry and its workers.