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SCA, the producer of the Tork® brand of Away-from-Home professional hygiene products, has launched one of the first intelligent systems that join the Internet of Things (IoT) mega trend. Tork EasyCube offers real-time restroom traffic and usage data with 24/7 visibility – ultimately helping reduce the number of restroom complaints and increase overall tenant and customer satisfaction.
Internet of Things is the network of physical objects or "things" embedded with electronics, software, sensors and connectivity to enable a greater value or service by exchanging data. In recent years, IoT has been utilized in facilities management processes to improve building services, including energy efficiency, heating and cooling, security systems – and now in restroom maintenance too.
In November 2014, research agency Gartner forecasted that 4.9 billion connected things will be in use in 2015, up 30 percent only from 2014, and will reach 25 billion by 2020. Gartner states that "The Internet of Things has become a powerful force for business transformation, and its disruptive impact will be felt across all industries and all areas of society."1
"Before Tork EasyCube, the only way maintenance staff would know if towels, tissue or other restroom supplies were low or out, was through manual checks at each location. Now, all you need to do is check your smart device," says Jimy Baynum, marketing director of channel development at SCA's Away-from-Home Professional Hygiene business in North America. "This simple web application will revolutionize restroom maintenance for our customers."
Tork EasyCube utilizes connected restroom equipment such as dispensers for toilet paper, towels and soap. This new intelligent technology solution enables facility managers and cleaning crews to approach restroom maintenance with a totally new logic – moving from static cleaning schedules to cleaning when and where actually needed.
To develop this new solution, SCA worked closely with property managers and cleaning companies throughout Europe and North America for real-life testing and feedback.
"During our trial period, almost all reports regarding empty dispensers disappeared. We only had one report in six months," says Kati Barklund, innovation manager at Coor Service Management Group and a Tork EasyCube customer.
Work styles are becoming more and more unpredictable, causing disruption in the otherwise set routines of how a restroom is typically serviced – connectivity and mobile communication can now be used to help crews clean and maintain a better restroom experience. With Tork EasyCube, cleaners are better prepared before rounds, while managers can use the generated data to plan and schedule restroom servicing or make better purchase and inventory management decisions. And for customers and tenants, these advancements translate to a better restroom experience which means fewer complaints.
"With Tork EasyCube, Tork is putting our customers' needs at the center of innovation. Tork EasyCube empowers our customers to be ready for business by enabling them to provide the most consistent and fresh restroom experience," says Baynum.