You probably once had the experience of visiting a public washroom with suboptimal hygiene and no toilet paper, only to find out that there was another washroom with plenty of toilet paper waiting for you on another floor. Both washrooms are cleaned equally every day as per standard procedure, regardless of whether they have been used or not.
This situation is common in large buildings with numerous toilets of different sizes and usage patterns. Indeed, ensuring high hygiene standards in the whole facility and efficiently coordinating the maintenance team can be challenging for facility managers.
However, the latest technological advances in IoT networks and data science are here to improve the situation.
Let's dive into a recent case from a customer with an extensive real estate portfolio
The goal of this customer was to improve the cleaning procedure in their facilities by transitioning from a predefined periodic cleaning to a usage-based approach. The clear benefit is to be able to clean the washrooms based on their actual use and not by following a predefined "blind" cleaning calendar.
The logical measure is to track the real-time use of the washrooms and then derive longer-term patterns of usage of WC facilities. This requires the installation of sensors in the bathrooms, the normalization and storage of IoT data, and finally, the visualization and analysis of the collected data.
In this customer project, akenza collaborated with b.telligent on developing a washroom occupancy monitoring system based on LoRaWAN door sensors.
The Elsys door sensors count each time a person enters the toilet. The sensor data is collected on the akenza IoT platform via LoRaWAN. The data is then decoded and transmitted to the customer's cloud. It is subsequently analyzed and displayed on custom Tableau reports. The collected data is also coupled with additional data sources, namely the current building occupancy (based on the badge records) and the local public holiday calendar.
The system also allows adding a user feedback button to match the data with the user experience.
This smart washroom monitoring solution enabled the implementation of a new cleaning scheduling model. The latter defines a more fine-grained cleaning action in the different rooms. The customer can now differentiate between the need for two "full cleaning" per day, one "full cleaning", or simply a "visual inspection" of the room.
In addition to simply tracking toilet usage in real-time, the current solution allows for the identification of trends and seasonality effects.
This washroom monitoring case is just one example of how IoT and data science are changing the facility management sector.
The combination of the akenza IoT platform for device & connectivity management and b.telligent's data engineering and data science expertise can be used to support various other smart cases.
Smart farming for yield enhancement, smart waste management, and predictive maintenance are only a few examples of cases made possible by this technology combination.