By Bill Griffin*
The ISSA/Interclean Show in Amsterdam ended with an official 29,325 people attending the four day event to visit the 696 exhibition booths and five seminars. Overall a great show that was well attended and full of examples of evolving and new technology.
Two of the subtle, yet the key themes of the emerging trends that I noticed were communications and transparency. As for communications, the concept is that machines, workers and spaces are beginning to be connected via cell phones and wireless networks.
As for transparency, the reality is that there is no place to hide; smartphones, GPS modules, sensors of all kinds and video/audio monitoring are now able to track, report and analyse a growing number of input data points about the work being done each day and cleaners doing it.
After reading this you may think I’ve been down to an Amsterdam coffee shop enjoying the second hand smoke, but even though I did stop by and look around, as Bill Clinton would say, “I didn’t inhale.”
The reason that I attend the ISSA/Interclean Amsterdam and other international shows is that the technology, chemicals and equipment on display at these events end up being promoted as the latest technology by manufacturers and distributors in the US over the next three to five years. Here’s what you can expect to see over the next few years in a janitor closet near you.
Imagine an auto scrubber, extractor or vacuum cleaner with wireless capability that sends real time information via the internet as to its exact location, with tracking maps, hours of use, and information on any number of conditions such as fluid levels, (water, detergent, oil, fuel, and battery condition, etc.) and whether it needs service or not.
Beyond that consider the equipment being able to analyse the water coming off the floor and adjusting the speed, pressure and detergent concentration automatically or remotely. Take another leap and have the service technician trouble shoot problems and be able to tell you what repairs or adjustments are needed via your cell phone or onboard display screen.
Sounds a bit make believe but much of this is already available. While I stood in the Nilfisk booth in Amsterdam I watched as the company’s technology expert pulled up a screen on his iPad showing the location of sweeping equipment in operation around the world and then we honed in on southern California and could see which machines were currently operating along with a location tracking map showing the exact location of each piece of equipment over the last 24 hours. For information, search any major equipment manufacturer’s ‘fleet management’ program.
Another company was offering and demonstrating an iPhone app that tracks a workers location as he or she goes from room to room throughout the building during their assigned shift. Forget the time clock, when you get within 5 metres of the sensor on the wall your presence is automatically recorded and sent to the main computer.
To keep costs down, many newcomers to the market are using bar or QSR codes that require the cleaner to scan them into the system, but as technology progresses and sensors get smaller and less costly, you can see where it’s headed.
Expert in your eye
Alpheios International won a show innovation award for a pair of Google glasses with an app known as ‘ExpertAtHand’ that allows the wearer to send back photos or video of cleaning problems to their boss and communicate in real time for advice and problems solving. In my discussion with the company’s technology Guru, he explained that the idea was to be able to deliver training and other information via the glasses.
He admitted that the glasses weren’t quite on the market yet, but at $400 a pop he was confident that leading edge companies would find the product a good investment. http://www.alpheios.nl/nl-nl/news/118/2026/6238/alpheios-experimenteert-met-google-glass.aspx
Back to the future, you need to realise that the University of Washington has developed a contact lens that is internet capable. Just let your mind wander a bit and you can literally see where this is going.
What we often forget it that technology is moving faster and faster all the time and what used to take 40 years to develop and become common place has now shrank to under 10 years and will soon by five years or less.
Recycling used equipment
European Cleaning Machines Recycling Ltd also won a show innovation award for its work with major equipment manufacturers to collect out of date and unused equipment and recycle the plastic, metal, batteries and electronics according to environmental regulations. Sounds like a great idea to me, why aren’t we doing something like this in the US with all the used equipment we have laying around in our storerooms, basements and warehouses? www.ecmr.nu
See cleaning differently
You don’t have to sit at home and wish you were there. Plan now to attend these international cleaning shows and see firsthand how the cleaning industry is changing and how it will impact your life and future. Once you’ve been to one of these shows, you will see your world of cleaning differently. I look forward to seeing you there.
Go to www.incleanmag.com.au and check out the Events calendar on the home page’s bottom right hand corner
*Bill Griffin is the principal of US-based Cleaning Consultants