The Internet of Clean

The Internet of Things has become a widely known and popular term for many people and has integrated into our lives so smoothly that we sometimes do not recognize ordinary things as truly technical advances on the edge of innovation.

While some of the applications of the IoT have already become routine, there are quite a lot of domains that are just starting to manufacture and distribute their products with the embedded IoT on a wider scale. For example, Amazon started producing wireless gadgets that could be placed within washing machines and dishwashers, and as soon as the detergent runs off, a dedicated mobile app can generate a request with a reminder to re-fill it. Other manufacturers have also offered their vision of using IoT in domestic appliance and added Internet connection for their machines, so the users now are able to manage and control their cleaning devices in a simple and intuitive way.

Similar applications of IoT are now emerging in the professional cleaning sector called Internet of Clean.

Actually, the major challenge that the cleaning sector has always faced was related to inability to track status and performance of the manual labor force in real time and identify & resolve changes in performance quickly. Now, with the introduction of IoT powered by Artificial Intelligence it is possible for the companies to streamline cleaning operations, optimize fleet management and automate data collection to improve cleaning progress. It also allows the companies to introduce creation of automated reports and perform data-driven analytics to calculate and manage ROI efficiently.

So what can you do precisely using Internet of Clean? Actually, the applications of IoC are rather wide and include for example:

  • measuring the occupancy in rooms with people counters;
  • monitoring filling rate of a bin with smart bin sensors;
  • notifying on the need to clean washrooms;
  • reporting data related to chemical and water consumption, machine operating hours etc;
  • arranging customized maps to clean facility floors etc.

These and other types of applications can also be used not only in professional cleaning sector, but they are able to meet the needs of many other businesses across different domains like:

  • hospitals and care homes (disinfection technology)
  • food industry (efficient warewashing, effective kitchen cleaning, safe kitchen solutions)
  • commercial laundry (reducing re-washing processes, monitoring of wash quality, controlling costs etc)
  • hospitality (smart restaurant, sustainable laundry, efficient housekeeping etc)

For example, we have collected a few interesting examples of startups/SMBs that in our opinion should be watched for:

  • FacilityApps (the Netherlands) whose app and data platform provides information about occupancy in rooms, clothes, mops or other important products management, monitoring of cleaners performance, speed of bin filling etc;
  • FogHorn Systems (the USA), which among other solutions offers hand washing monitoring to maintain sanitary environment;
  • Trifo (the USA), providing AI based home robot services;
  • Skyline Robotics (Israel) that automate window cleaning processes with robotics and Artificial Intelligence;
  • HygiaConnect (France), which measures data on supply levels for towels and soap dispensers; malfunction of equipment and foot traffic patterns.

However, the IoC solutions are not different from IoT in terms of security and may bring similar types of security threats, if not designed, manufactured or programmed properly:

– Privacy, data, identity theft. For example, if you are using any smart cleaning devices as part of your smart home infrastructure, your private data might become an easy target to get personal data for fraudulent transactions and identity theft.

– Device hijacking. For example, if some criminal hijacked smart meters and stole energy/water/washing chemicals, this could lead to inefficient management of resources and financial losses.

– DDoS or PDoS attacks. Such attacks could interfere with the devices operation or even damage it so badly that it require an immediate replacement or reinstallation of hardware.

So what security guidelines would be worth keeping in mind?

  1. Make sure that all data you gather or store is accounted for and mapped accordingly. This doesn’t relate only to sensors and hardware, but to any possible credentials in automation servers or other IoT applications.
  2. Always keep in mind security issues when connecting your device to the network. Make sure you use or introduce the possibilities of using strong username and password combinations, multifactor authentication and encryption to your device’s potential users.
  3. Think about mitigation protocols to minimize the risks and effects of a successful attack in advance.
  4. Secure your devices physically, keep them in a restricted place or with the appropriate locks or other tools.
  5. Teach your team about security threats and best practices and spend some time on writing proper user instructions.


Summary

We hope this brief information will help you understand the Internet of Clean tendency better and to encourage more interesting products to appear on the market to make everyday lives easier and happier.

Altabel Group has been developing IoT related projects for our customers for several years already, so please let us know if we can contribute to your products development in this or other domains, we will be happy to help.

Julia Govor

Business Development Manager