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Smart Buildings Report 1 (cont'd): 2020 Connected Restrooms, Restroom Cleaning Robots and Smart Bins

Public restrooms are arguably the most important “war zones” in any indoor cleaning regime. Public restrooms have more individuals with different hygienic routines frequenting than any other parts of a building, with elevators being a close second.
Health studies on public restrooms have uncovered high human-to-human microbial transmissions on bathroom surfaces that humans come in contact with, such as door knobs, faucet handles, toilet seat, flush handles and floor areas.
Aside from environmental hygiene, there is also the aspect of personal hygiene, and that means the availability of paper, towels, water, soap and sanitizer fluids and proper functioning of faucets and flush systems. Restroom managers need to balance both potential outages and wastage when it comes to the consumption of personal hygiene products and facilities.

1.2   SMART RESTROOMS

Connected restrooms leverage on Internet-of-Things (IoT) technologies to collect data comprehensively to perform toilet monitoring and promptly informs the restroom manager upon any anomalies.
Connected restroom IoT platforms receive real-time data from a variety of restroom devices, such as faucets, flush valves and dispensers for tissue, towel, soap and sanitizer fluids, and make analysis on the operational usage and status of the devices. If any outage, chokage, leak or malfunction is detected or predicted to occur, restroom managers are immediately notified to either replenish supplies or resolve the fault. If the detected ammonia threshold is exceeded, cleaning staff can be quickly deployed on-demand to perform additional cleaning on the restroom.
  MARKET CASE: HARTSFIELD-JACKSON ATLANTA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL), the busiest airport in the world, has handled more than 100 million passengers annually for the past five years, implying record-high frequency of usage for its restrooms across two terminals and seven concourses. In other words, ATL is the perfect site to pilot and observe the real-life benefits of a fully connected restroom.
For its connected restroom implementation, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International worked with TOTO and GP PRO which also developed the KOLO Smart Monitoring System for the connected restrooms.
The KOLO Smart Monitoring System collects data from restroom sensors, such as utilization levels from GP PRO's smart tissue, towel, soap and hand sanitizer dispensers, as well as the number of toilet and faucet activations and water consumption from TOTO's EcoPower flush valves and faucets. KOLO then analyzes the aggregated data for over-utilization, outages and leaks, and promptly notifies restroom managers via a mobile app on the need to replenish toilet paper, towel, soap or hand sanitizer fluids or to investigate any incidents, such as leaks or overflows, at the restrooms.
The connected restroom trial was conducted for restrooms in ATL's Concourse B from June 2018 to Feb 2020 at a cost of $265,000, with a total budget of $950,000 for eventual airport-wide deployment. During the trial period, outages from toilet tissue, paper towels, soap and hand sanitier dropped 51% as timely notifications ensure that restrooms are always well-stocked. Tissue waste fell 40%, as less tissue is thrown away when rolls can be changed based on usage rather than shift-based intervals.
In addition, plumbling failures or leaks can be detected quickly and restroom custodians can react to incidents promptly, ensuring that the restrooms are always clean and properly functioning for the high passenger traffic in the airport. Potential issues can be flagged in advance for preventive maintenance during the night shift when there is lower customer traffic. Finally, the stall occupancy indicators supplied by Modus Systems readily inform restroom users of the available stalls at one glance, impressing passengers surveyed during the trial period.

  BUNZL WANDANEXT
Another major player in the smart restroom market is Bunzl with its IoT-based restroom monitoring system, WandaNEXT and accompanying solutions WandaMOBILE and WandaQUICKTOUCH.
WandaMOBILE enables cleaning staff to efficiently document their cleaning activities using mobile devices, while WandaQUICKTOUCH provides an IoT button that promptly alerts cleaning staff to restroom issues.
  KBQUEST AI-WASHROOM
Hong Kong-based KBQuest has developed the smart washroom platform, Ai-Washroom, which makes use of IoT to perform odor monitoring, people counting (washroom traffic), waste bin monitoring and consumables usage tracking.
The smart toilet monitoring system targets commercial buildings and facilities, such as elderly day care centers, shopping malls, hotels, airports and education institutions.

1.3   RESTROOM CLEANING ROBOTS

Connected restroom solutions, when combined with advanced restroom cleaning robots, can bring about a future of autonomously cleaned smart restrooms, although at present, practical implementations could be more deterred by existing union and employment laws than technology itself. Meanwhile, let’s understand how restroom cleaning robots today work.
  SOMATIC
SOMATIC is a New York-based startup that provides its same-name robot for restroom cleaning services in commercial buildings. The SOMATIC restroom cleaning robot is leased out at $1,000 a month for a 8-hour work day or 40-hour work week arrangement. At this rate, it provides a reliable service (no staff turnover), consistent quality and about 50% cost savings.
SOMATIC's Bathroom Cleaning Robot
ROBOT TRAINING
Prior to service, the SOMATIC team conducts a one-time laser scan of the target restroom to create a Virtual Reality (VR) replica of the restroom. The team then use the VR replica to train the robot, showing it where to spray, wipe, vacuum and blow-dry – an activity the team has often referred to as “the worst video game, ever”.
CLEANING ROUTINE
SOMATIC uses a no-touch, three-step system to clean all bathroom surfaces. The routine starts with sanitizing the surface to clean, by spraying a chemical solution onto the area. Next, a jet of cleaning water is sprayed to remove any debris as well as the chemical solution. As a final step, the robot vacuums to keep the floor dry.
This process sanitizes and disinfects all surfaces and material types, eliminating odors as well as mold, mildew, and allergens. After cleaning, the robot will autonomously go to recharge and refill chemicals as needed. A comprehensive cleaning report is also dispatched to the restroom manager.
  UGO
Developed by Japan-based Mira Robotics, Ugo is a versatile cleaning robot with two adjustable, customizable arms. When fitted with toilet brushes and a disinfectant spray gun, Ugo becomes a ready robotic toilet cleaner.
Ugo - Toilet Cleaning Robot
First, Ugo is first trained by the maintenance staff on the routines of performing different cleaning tasks via remote control.
Once Ugo has learnt the tasks, it will be able to perform the cleaning tasks independently. Based on its trial with building management company Chiyo Corporation, it is estimated that a human cleaning with Ugo in tandem would take 7 minutes – a 50% improvement over the time taken by a single human cleaner.

1.4   CONNECTED WASTE BINS

Traditionally, the clearing of trash from waste bins is based on a fixed and regular cleaning schedule. As a result, waste bins with overflowed trash will remain uncleared until the next cleaning time, leading to hygiene, odor and image issues for the building.
Connected bins solves this problem by scheduling waste bin clearing based on need, rather than fixed timings. Cleaners no longer need to regularly patrol the waste bins to check for waste overflow. IoT sensors on the waste bin detect if the trash is beginning to fill up. If the waste bin is full, an alert message is sent via the Internet to notify the cleaner. This enables building wastes to be cleared on-demand, leading to a cleaner and more hygienic environment.
According to the latest research by Frost & Sullivan, the market for smart waste management via smart waste bins is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 64.1% to reach US$5.42 billion in 2025.

  MACHINE-LEARNING EXAMPLE: BIN-E
Bin-e's advanced smart waste bin uses machine learning to recognize the type of waste that is deposited in its large bin containers. Paper and plastic wastes are automatically compressed, so Bin-e can handle up to eight times more trash than usual bins.

  DISPLAY-AD EXAMPLE: BINOLOGY
Binology's waste bins have in-built display screens or lightboxes and can be additionally purposed as advertisement boards in building premises with high traffic, such as in retail malls. Thus, it offers the dual value proposition of smart waste clearing and additional advertisement revenue that can help to enhance the ROI for the smart bins.
  MARKET CASE: CHANGI AIRPORT, SINGAPORE
The Singapore Changi Airport is well-known for its impeccably high standards of cleanliness and hygiene as well as its innovative adoption of technologies, such as autonomous cleaning robots and smart bins, to upkeep the standards with good efficiency.
Deployed in the Terminal 4 of Changi Airport, these waste bins make use of BLINC (Bin Level Indicator Communicator) sensors developed by local firm SmartCity Solutions to detect the level of waste accumulation. BLINC works on bin containers of various sizes and when a full bin is detected, cleaners are promptly alerted via a mobile app to clear the bin on demand.
  MORE IOT WASTE BIN SOLUTION PROVIDERS
Discover other IoT wastebin solution providers that we have not covered within this report in this list.

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