How smart cleaning has future-proofed the FM industry


During the pandemic, businesses and companies that were ‘Smart’, found the transition to be a much smoother one than those that weren’t.


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November 17, 2022
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How smart cleaning has future-proofed the FM industry

When it comes to cleaning, Smart really is the future. The pandemic brought about a challenging time for the cleaning industry and exposed the need for more proactive, informed, and data-driven approaches to hygiene to keep people safe. For those early adaptors of Smart tech, the pandemic was a lot easier to navigate. Offering operational efficiencies in almost any environment, data-driven cleaning is here to stay.

The cleaning and hygiene industry was front and centre when the pandemic hit. Two and a half years later, as the world has (almost) recovered, it still very much is.

With people returning to work in their offices, malls welcoming record numbers, and travel in most places around the world reaching pre-pandemic levels, businesses are duty bound to ensure that the very highest standards of hygiene and safety are always maintained.  

The general public now – quite rightly – have the highest expectations when it comes to the way public places are cleaned. Any lapse in cleanliness just isn’t acceptable and will drive consumers away. 

A driving force for change in the industry

The pandemic accelerated a change in the cleaning industry that no one could foresee. It was forced to evolve at a rapid rate to keep up with the demands that a global pandemic presented. 

As we entered unknown territory, guidance on managing hygiene in public places changed regularly. Businesses had to consider things like managing visitor numbers, maintaining social distancing and reducing public touch points – which many hadn’t done before. 

During these uncertain times though, one thing became very clear. Businesses and companies that were ‘Smart’, found the transition to be a much smoother one than those that weren’t.  

Putting pressure on traditional cleaning 

Traditional, manual approaches to cleaning and hygiene quickly exposed FM teams to many issues. They simply couldn’t keep up with the increased demands on hygiene standards that the virus brought with it. Requirements such as tracking people numbers and maintaining sanitizer levels were challenging. The cost implications were enormous too, as cleaning teams and their schedules were drastically increased almost overnight.

But for those companies and organisations that adapted to Smart, the change was easier to manage. 

Relying on the latest internet of things (IoT) technology, almost every aspect of cleaning and hygiene was streamlined, informed, and cost-effective from day one. 

Data driven cleaning meant that with real-time insights on a range of data points – all in one place – FM teams could roll-out revised cleaning strategies that were driven by data, update them whenever government guidelines were revised, and generally provide operational excellence. 

Smarter in the Middle East

Thankfully, in the Middle East, we were early adopters of all things ‘Smart’. Recognising the efficiencies and economic advantages they offered, developers switched to Smart ways of building many years ago. With the technology built-in, or with retrofit additions, smart systems with AI, IoT and other futuristic mechanisms were already in place, and we have long been benefiting from all it has to offer. 

But no one could have anticipated just how advantageous our Smart infrastructure would really be until we were faced with an unknown virus. It allowed us to change the way FM and cleaning teams operated overnight, and allowed businesses to immediately work smarter, save money, and elevate hygiene standards to the next level. 

Real time information on real time demands 

One of the most valuable benefits of Smart cleaning is access to real time data. You can’t effectively manage what you don’t know, and knowledge really becomes power when trying to combat the virus.

With the use of integrated operational and environmental IoT sensors, which can be retrofitted to a wide range of variables, vast amounts of data can be collected. Washroom occupancy sensors inform teams of accurate visitor numbers, allowing cleaning to be scheduled when and where it is needed and ensure social distancing is maintained. Sensors on essential consumables such as anti-bacterial soap ensure it is always stocked up, supporting better hand hygiene and improving customer satisfaction.

Embracing proactive cleaning 

Another major advantage of Smart cleaning is the shift from reactive to proactive responses. This was crucial during the pandemic and will hopefully remain the way teams address cleaning in the future. With a wealth of data, Smart cleaning supports a dynamic, needs-focused approach to FM. 

Smart cleaning gives teams access to information collected from almost any touchpoint imaginable. From doorways to lifts, toilets to soap dispensers, Smart cleaning allows data to be centralized and integrated into a dashboard straight into the palm of the hand. Whether this is a tablet or wearable device, team members know exactly what needs attention, where and when.  This empowers teams to increase and improve their performance, work smarter and in turn, elevates hygiene standards.

The future

It’s clear that Smart, data driven cleaning is the future. The benefits are numerous and thanks to early adoption of Smart tech in the Middle East, we are well-positioned to drive the change. 

From large commercial spaces to retail and office environments, data driven cleaning technology supports optimized performance, increased operational efficiencies and elevates standards of hygiene. It was a crucial part of successfully combating the virus for many businesses. 

Whatever the future has in store for us, Smart tech will ensure our cleaning teams are ready to tackle it.

About the author:

David King, Managing Director, VERTECO, the region’s leading provider of award-winning Data Driven Cleaning Technology, Smart Washroom Solutions and Water Saving Products.