The quest to accomplish things more quickly, more effectively, and more efficiently goes back to the beginning of civilization. It goes all the way back to 2000 BC in Lower Mesopotamia, when people started inserting axles into hollowed pieces of wood to form a wheel.
Even before automation and continuous improvement were formal disciplines of study, people have naturally sought ways to be more productive. From the introduction of the assembly line to micro-switches and protective relays to computers and robots, the story of industry is one of innovation and evolution.=
Laundry technology is no exception. Innovations like dryers, ironing equipment, and washer-extractors have made the laundry experience more efficient over the years.
An area of recent innovation is automatic detergent/chemical dispensing. Automatic dispensers release the precise amount of laundry chemical at the right times, maximizing the cleaning results and minimizing the risk of machine downtime and rewash. Outdated practices like manual dosing and measuring containers are quickly becoming a thing of the past.
As we know from centuries of industrial experience, innovation never stops. So what is the next innovation in the laundry industry? And how long until it arrives?
IoT and What it Means for Laundry
The answer to what comes next is obvious: it’s the Internet of Things (IoT). The answer to when it will arrive may surprise you…because it’s already here.
The Internet of Things is a broad term to describe the network of physical items that have sensors, wifi, cellular, or bluetooth connectivity, and can share data with users to produce efficiencies. Think of a refrigerator that can notify you of spoiled food or a speaker that can accept verbal commands. These are physical items that can tap into the internet to offer additional features or more robust performance.
Washing machines, dryers, and now chemical dispensers can also be improved through participation in the IoT. In fact, Hydro is leading the way in driving the impact of IoT technology in the laundry industry.
Our Hydro Connect IOT platform provides a dashboard of all relevant laundry information for a network of washers, such as:
- Number of loads processed
- Volume of chemicals used
- Volume of water used
- Abnormal conditions
- Maintenance needs or issues
- And much more
With an internet connection, laundry program managers can monitor, access their washers at any time, and make remote configuration changes from anywhere in the world. The result is a more effective, sustainable, safe, and profitable laundry program.
Near-future innovations with IoT will include the ability for washers to communicate with each other, sharing information like load weight, temperature, water levels, and more. This will allow groups of washers to homogenize processes and provide more consistent and effective results.
The laundromat is a perfect early-adopter for Hydro Connect technology. Smart laundromats that leverage IoT could produce win-win scenarios for both consumers and owners alike. Imagine a laundromat that uses geolocation technology to match customers with open washers. Customers could book washers and dryers online. Units could communicate with each other to optimize energy and water usage to improve sustainability and reduce costs. Owners can also monitor maintenance issues in real-time to minimize downtime.
The future of laundry is here and more developments are coming soon. Let’s talk about Hydro Connect and how it can benefit your laundry or laundromat operation.