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Top IoT Trends for Better Cleaning Business in 2020

April 1, 2020 8:05 AM by Tennant Company

The Internet of Things (IoT) has been a hot trend in just about every industry for the past five years, and the next five years are poised to bring us even more IoT capabilities, allowing us to gather significant amounts of data to better help us run our businesses, households and facilities. With more IoT devices now in existence than humans on the planet, it may seem like everything is somehow connected through the Internet. The Internet of Things has shown up everywhere, from our homes (hello, Alexa!) to next-gen healthcare facilities, to the robotic cleaning equipment making excellent time on department store floors.

According to a recent report from the market research firm Gartner, there are more than 14 billion IoT devices in use today, with 25 billion IoT items projected to exist by 2021. Just imagine the power of all that data, harnessed for increased productivity.

The Internet of Things is poised for even greater innovation as more big tech companies and startups are looking to invest in making IoT more powerful, and bringing more IoT capabilities to market. It has been predicted that IoT will generate an additional $344B in revenue and drive $177B in cost reductions this year alone.

smart industry and internet of things infographics related to the cleaning industry

Iot and Robotic Cleaning Equipment

The cleaning industry has seen productivity, efficiency and fleet management improve by leaps and bounds with the use of IoT in just under five years. Specifically, robotic cleaning equipment powered by a combination of AI and IoT has allowed cleaning companies to streamline their operations and fleet management. IoT cleaning equipment gives supervisors the ability to track the location, usage history, maintenance schedule and battery charge of equipment for optimized fleet management. It has also allowed cleaning companies and buildings to collect more data than ever before, finally making it possible to demonstrate cleaning performance.

Tennant's T7AMR robotic floor cleaning machine using artificial intelligence and smart sensors to navigate around a pallet of food in a grocery store.

The cleaning industry is poised to harness some of the latest IoT trends to expand the use and capabilities of IoT and help make buildings cleaner, healthier and more efficient. Some of the IoT trends to watch in 2020 and beyond include:

Better Data

The key to getting the most ROI from IoT-enabled cleaning equipment is a strategic use of data. The benefits of IoT and robotic cleaning equipment can be shared by both cleaning end users and the facilities they serve with a comprehensive, complementary interpretation of data. Cleaning performance data gathered from IoT enabled cleaning equipment and smart building features are able to work in tandem with customer satisfaction surveys to show a connection between cleaning performance and building occupant health and happiness. Some end users and buildings are linking the data collected through IoT connected cleaning equipment and robotic cleaning machines to make sense of safety, health and absenteeism reports.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

AI technology has come a long way in just five years. Today we are seeing highly intelligent machines able to operate seamlessly with IoT technologies. New developments in AI have made it even easier to gather even more data from IoT enabled devices and machines. Advanced AI is essential in harnessing the power of all that data IoT collects.  IoT in building and cleaning equipment will continue to grow rapidly in terms of its ability to prepare, analyze and predict data.

Better Sensors

Sensor innovation is top-of-mind for most IoT experts right now. New sensor technology is able to detect even more, while existing sensors are beginning to fall in price. New ways of analyzing data from both types of sensors have begun to emerge. These new sensor technologies can be implemented throughout buildings to make them cleaner, healthier and more efficient. The cleaning industry benefits not only from IoT-enabled automatic floor equipment. Smart restrooms that utilize sensors to monitor soap and paper dispensers bring new efficiencies to cleaning teams. The data collected from the devices allows distributors and end users to track usage trends over time, monitor foot traffic and even calculate ROI. New sensor innovation will greatly expand the smart restroom model.

Network Acceleration

Most notably, the arrival of the 5G network has enabled everyone to connect their IoT data and sensors from mobile networks. With faster, more efficient and reliable networks the opportunity to collect more data—and access it on the fly—unlocks greater potential. After all, IoT is about connectivity. When more workers are able to access IoT and all the associated data more efficiently and from virtually anywhere, everybody wins.

The increasing demands on the cleaning service industry present the dual challenge of demonstrating exceptional cleaning performance to stand out amid tough competition, while growing bottom-line margins with efficient operations and lowered cost-to-clean. The powerful capabilities of new trends in IoT and AI technologies provide a single solution for accomplishing these objectives.


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