From smart toilets to touchless soap dispensers, the internet of things (IoT) is doing plenty to transform modern day restrooms. When it comes to restroom management, sensor data software can monitor temperature or identify when liquid soap needs to be replaced. If abnormal patterns are detected, building maintenance is alerted automatically, which can reduce the total costs on building maintenance and also help keep customers happy.
WANDA™ (washroom attendant notification digital aid), a smart software system designed to measure efficient restroom cleaning and customer satisfaction, is one product aiming to provide innovative, IoT-based washroom solutions. The 15-inch smart device, which collects data from sensors, customer alerts and staff cleaning activities, has been installed in large multi-use centers across Canada and the United States.
Developed through IoT solutions provider Visionstate Inc. (TSX-V: VIS), the touch screen device can collect information on cleaning activities, monitors supply inventories, manages workforce, collects foot-traffic data using people sensors, and provides detailed analytics, reporting and dashboards.
Installed in high-visibility areas, WANDA™ is a restroom notification system that alerts maintenance staff to a potential problem, from mopping floors, fixing broken toilets, or scheduling the replacement of toilet paper.
The public’s perception of cleanliness is critical; in fact, 56% of customers will turn away from a business after experiencing an unkempt or dirty restroom. The statistics increase to 80% in restaurants and hotels. Research shows that an unclean restroom – things like overflowing trash cans, unpleasant odor, empty soap dispensers, etc. – indicates poor management and garners a poor opinion of the company by patrons.
How it works
The WANDA™ QuickTouch digital restroom monitoring system replaces outdated, paper-based restroom cleaning records to give customers the best experience possible. The battery-powered button device leverages the LTE-M cellular network, reducing infrastructure requirements and expanding WANDA™’s reach. The IoT button provides Visionstate with the ability to connect remote restrooms to the solution by enabling basic alerts, cleanings and ratings.
Customers can use WANDA™ when they notice an issue within the restroom and a member of the janitorial staff will respond. Explaining WANDA™’s capabilities in further detail is CEO of Visionstate, John Putters.
“When the button is pressed, a similar alert is generated as from a standard WANDA™ unit capturing time and location of the event. When the button is pressed for a second, it will generate a service event, as if a cleaning staff member had signed into a WANDA™ unit. This captures time, location and a cleaning event. The hardware incorporates a button provided by AT&T using the LTE-M network and sends an event through the AWS One-Click service.”
Putters says interest in the technology reflects the importance for facilities to provide a positive customer service experience while being able to track the frequency of cleaning and alerts issued by guests.
Further enhancing the smart device is the announcement of the WANDA™ Mobile app, which takes WANDA™ outside restrooms and enables customers to track all cleaning activities in any facility. As sensors continue to be deployed, the app works to deliver intelligent work flows and schedules based on priority determined by sensor information. WANDA™ Mobile can be used as a stand-alone product or in conjunction with WANDA™ devices and WANDA™ QuickTouch.
WANDA™ QuickTouch is an IoT button device that provides analytics on alerts and cleanings back to building managers.
The WANDA™ smart device now extends to hospitals, airports, shopping centers and other public facilities across and beyond North America. Edmonton International Airport is one of several major facilities using the technology.
General Manager of EIA, Shalendra Singh, says since implementing WANDA in the airport’s restrooms, the quality of cleaning has increased as well as staff accountability.
“WANDA™ helped us learn traffic trends and coordinate staffing so we can use our resources properly,” said Singh.
The WANDA™ software can also be positioned to make existing products inside a typical restroom “smart”. Leaders at Visionstate are working with partner, Bunzl, to develop and deploy “agnostic” sensors for restroom appliances such as soap, toilet paper and paper towel dispensers. In the coming months, WANDA™ will be increasingly positioned as a hub of data for facility management.
Smart restroom management systems provide a number of benefits that prove to enhance the customer experience. As more facilities begin to connect to the IoT, the technology will continue to improve budgeting and inventory planning and help reduce costs and waste. That’s a big change from how most restrooms have been managed in the past.