After checking in bags and passing the security check, the most considerable stress of the airport is usually over. But with minutes to board, you use the washroom near your gate only to find many stalls with no toilet paper, causing extra time spent searching for one that is adequately equipped. With no time to waste and no personnel to notify, you feel frustrated, and the problem won’t resolve for the next travelers until the next scheduled cleaning cycle. This anecdote alludes to one of the many challenges that washroom management faces, especially when considering large environments such as airports, big buildings, and shopping centers.
Challenges facing washroom management
We will focus on two washroom management challenges. The first is the transition from fixed-frequency cleaning schedules to usage-based management. In traditional washroom management, personnel are deployed regardless of people's frequency or consumption patterns (toilet paper, paper towels, and soap, for example). Overuse of washrooms without proper maintenance can result in unsanitary measures leading to customer dissatisfaction and complaints.
While there are IoT solutions to this challenge, the second issue arises as these solutions are usually vertically integrated. Facility managers are locked in with one supplier controlling all aspects of their digital solution; they cannot make improvements or choose alternate sensors and connectivity options. They are also stuck purchasing hygiene necessities like paper and soap from this sole source.
The YouTissue solution to washroom management
YouTissue presents a digital solution to both of these washroom management challenges. Their comprehensive solution addresses these hurdles using IoT with a flexible architecture. YouTissue retrofits existing dispensers to become “smarter” in communicating consumables status to the cloud without replacing previous dispensers. For example, facility managers can change the dispenser and tissue paper suppliers and still have historical data about consumption. This allows for seamless integration of the YouTissue solution into their current set-up. In addition to the easy integration of new IoT sensors and different connectivity and protocols, YouTissue offers a great visualization of the collected data via a dedicated front-end web application. As it is based on the akenza IoT platform, the solution supports a wide range of sensors and allows for the extension to other smart building cases if required.
A scalable system architecture
The YouTissue system architecture provides the full stack, including cloud-connected sensors, hardware, and software that work seamlessly together. Sensors are placed in washrooms, such as on consumable dispensers.
These sensors communicate data via LoRaWAN connectivity to the akenza IoT platform, where the payload is decoded data via dedicated device types. The data is then made available to the user application on AWS via REST-API.
In parallel, the rule engine of akenza detects empty dispensers and paper levels in real-time and triggers actions sent via webhook to the AWS endpoint. The frontend application allows for data visualization and SMS/Email notifications when facility maintenance is required.
Benefits of the YouTissue solution
The YouTissue solution is flexible enough to answer many different customers’ needs. Facility managers can use YouTissue as a first step in the digitalization of their buildings and facility management services. But it can also be put alongside existing smart solutions to extend their use cases or connectivity possibilities. We present three benefits of using the YouTissue solution.
Increased washroom usage due to global changes in health and hygiene standards makes washrooms some of the most trafficked spaces in a building. This heightens the demand for cleaning standards, but it is challenging to know which washrooms, in particular, are overused or underused at a given period. Washroom sensors allow for real-time data on consumables levels. With up-to-date information, cleaning operations are now data-driven and, therefore, more productive.
Efficiency & cost reduction
Real-time monitoring avoids unnecessary washroom checks. This monitoring saves time and costs related to cleaning operations by identifying which consumables need to be refilled. This allows cleaning management to better allocate time to washrooms requiring maintenance.
Sustainability and people’s well-being
Proper washroom monitoring does good for both the planet and people. It improves sustainability efforts to avoid the waste of half-used consumables by replacing and refilling them only when they are empty. This also can improve an organization's ESG score.
In addition to heightening sustainability efforts, proper washroom management enhances people’s well-being. Managing consumables such as adequate soap levels decreases the risk of spread of infection and sufficient paper product levels create healthier and safer environments, also contributing to increased customer satisfaction.
A smart solution to build the future
YouTissue’s basis on a philosophy of continuous innovation with a flexible architecture ensures long-term reliability. With ever-changing washroom requirements, the solution equips custom projects with integrated hygiene solutions. The solution works on LoRaWAN and Mioty with plans to integrate cellular IoT into the solution. The combined system architecture of utilizing the akenza platform and the YouTissue front-end web application helps to match customer needs for many smart washroom solutions.