Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the smart cleaning and hygiene industries boomed over the last couple of months. The PR Newswire reported that the said industries are expected to reach $5.91 billion in value by 2025. This will be caused by a projected compound annual growth rate of 15.7 percent from 2019 to 2025.
How did the industries grow so rapidly over the last few months? We might pin this on three very impactful tenets of technology: the Internet of Things (IoT), automation, and artificial intelligence (AI). These things were influenced by people’s desire to practice social distancing to curb the spread of the disease. Since cleaning and disinfecting became the number one priority for many people, software and hardware technologies were developed. Here’s how things changed in the cleaning and hygiene industries during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Impact of the Internet of Things (IoT)
We’ve all heard about the Internet of Things or the IoT. However, many of us don’t really understand it yet. In a nutshell, as defined by Wired, the IoT is how everything connects over the internet. This is how your smartphone can connect with your laptop and easily share files. This is also how you can control some technologies such as security cameras and smart locks through a mobile app on your smartphone.
So how does this relate to how we clean? Well, the IoT changed many things. For one, it helped us keep track of things. We needed to ensure that soap dispensers, sanitizers, and paper towels are always well-stocked in public spaces. This is because of our urge to stay sanitized at all hours of the day. With IoT technology, we could keep track of the stock and get an alert if anything needs to be refilled.
The IoT has also helped many businesses offering cleaning services. Through mobile apps, they’re able to properly keep track of the places that need to be cleaned and the workers who are assigned to them. This way, if we have an office or any public space that we want to get cleaned, we could go to a mobile app. Through that, we can acquire commercial cleaning services easily and conveniently.
Because of the IoT technologies, we can control and maintain cleanliness and hygiene in public spaces from afar. All we’d need are a computer and a connection to the internet.
The Impact of Automation and Artificial Intelligence (AI)
We often interchange automation and artificial intelligence or AI. But those two things are very much different. Yes, they’re both connected to robotics and software technologies. But automation is all about hardware or, in some cases, software that can do things automatically. AI, on the other hand, is designed to mimic human behavior through intelligent machines. But, despite such differences, we can’t deny how much they’ve impacted how we stay clean and sanitized during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the last few months, there came the rise of what we’d like to call the “robot cleaners” or “robot custodians.” This rise can be attributed to many things. One, those who manage public spaces such as hospitals, airports, and commercial buildings are short on staff. Many people were either laid off due to budget cuts, have contracted the coronavirus, or other many reasons. So many people resorted to using robot cleaners to clean floors, offer hand sanitizers, and other tasks for disinfecting.
Through the power of automation and AI, these robot cleaners ensured that everything was clean for the public. It helped people practice social distancing as well. It’s because it limited the number of people roaming around public spaces and cleaning.
Many of these robots are equipped with ultraviolet (UV) light to clean surfaces and objects. Some UV light, especially the UV-C light, can help fight and extinguish bacteria and viruses.
Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic started, we have become more paranoid about keeping everything clean and thoroughly sanitized. We’ve been like this ever since the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that the coronavirus could be spread through contaminated surfaces and objects. The CDC experts said that respiratory droplets could be found on various things such as handrails, doorknobs, and elevator buttons. Although this isn’t a common way of spreading the disease, it still poses a threat.
But advancements in technology have helped us feel better by helping the cleaning and hygiene industries grow and serve more people. Through the help of the IoT, automation, and AI, we’re able to make sure that our public spaces are clean, people have ample access to sanitation, and are more able to practice social distancing.