The Future Is Now: Artificial Intelligence Is a Vital Paradigm Shift
Sandy Agnos says it best: artificial intelligence (AI) is disruptive technology, and it’s no different for the cleaning industry.
As the Senior Director of Global Business Development of San Diego-based technology company Brain Corp, and robotics industry veteran since 2011, Agnos has always seen robotics as the future. With Brain Corp’s BrainOS™ technology currently powering numerous floor care robots, Agnos believes that AI and robotics are disrupting the cleaning industry–and that’s a good thing.
The recent arrival of robotic floor care technologies has changed the cleaning industry for building service contractors (BSCs) in a number of profound ways. Robots provide BSCs with an effective tool in helping them complete their scope of work. In today’s job market, high turnover rates challenge BSCs to provide the best service possible, and robotic cleaning equipment can complement and support the workforce to ensure an increasingly consistent clean.
Robots also provide reporting. Users can validate cleaning performance and receive helpful operational insights. Leading with technology and utilizing data allows BSCs to leverage robotics as a tool. This edge is imperative in a highly competitive market that renews service contracts every three years in the United States.
“It’s not just a machine,” Agnos says. “It’s a way to better your service.”
Agnos describes the implementation of AI and robotics as a paradigm shift. BSCs looking to implement these innovations should look at their operational workflow and equipment utilization and decide how AI would enhance and complement their current business model.
“Because this is disruptive technology, you need to look at your entire business,” Agnos says. “It’s looking at how you conduct your business, carefully reviewing your workflow, and deciding how to optimize operational processes and help your employees do a better job.”
BSCs must make a firm commitment to AI and robotics in order to successfully incorporate these innovations into day-to-day business. Machines powered by Brain Corp’s BrainOS technology are manufactured by the industry’s leading equipment providers. Players like ICE, MinuteMan, Nilfisk and Tennant offer robotic floor care machines as part of their product portfolios by using BrainOS. It’s the equipment that employees have been working with for years, now simply equipped with robotic capabilities.
“Our ease of use has made all the difference,” Agnos says. “Rather than having a complicated way to deploy a robot, we support the brands people already know and trust, and put the technology in the end users’ hands.”
Many people have expressed concern that AI and robotics will replace employees, but Agnos believes that they’ll actually improve everyday lives for both customers and employees. By allowing BSCs to better understand and support process optimization, innovations like robotic floor care will enable employees to satisfy customers better than ever before.
“You have an industry that is pressed to meet its scope of work,” Agnos says. “It’s been remarkable to see the incredible interest and impact this innovation has had.”
Smart-cleaning equipment, along with the addition of cloud and wireless technologies, appears poised for a promising future. As for what’s next, BSCs can expect to see an increase in smart sensors to monitor consumables and traffic flow, data analytics and decision-making capabilities that, if added to current cleaning regimens, will make commercial cleaning smarter and more capable across environments.
“These are really exciting times… AI is helping advance the cleaning industry by providing employees with an effective new tool,” she says. “Performance and efficiency can be improved with the help of robots and the usage data they provide. Not only is it cutting-edge, it also, quite simply, makes good business sense.”