It is common to use the Internet of Things (IoT) and big data to solve problems in life, but can it be used in the toilet? It is necessary for human beings to go to the toilet, and people may inevitably choose to go to the public toilet when they are outside. However, public toilets in Hong Kong are notorious and have been criticized repeatedly. Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced in his policy address on November 25 that the “Hong Kong Smart City Blueprint 2.0” will be officially launched in December this year to strengthen technological support for people’s livelihood. IoT will be used on a trial basis to monitor public toilets’ sanitary conditions and services next year. What are the effective uses of these smart toilets?
For a long time, public toilets in Hong Kong have been criticized for their uneven distribution, insufficient number and poor sanitary conditions. The “Worst Public Toilet Search” issued by the DAB shows that the three major problems with public toilets in Hong Kong are poor sanitation, consumables that cannot be replenished in time, and equipment damage. The introduction of the Internet of Things solution can eliminate the stigma of public toilets from the three aspects of design, management and user behaviour records based on major factors such as the maintenance and utilization rate of public restrooms.
The IoT solution is based on LoRaWan wireless communication technology and integrates multiple automatic sensors, which can detect the number of babies used, the concentration of cannabis gas, etc. in real time, so as to guide the cleanliness that the cleaning company can master, and send people on the ground to strengthen patrol cleaning.
LoRaWan is a wireless communication technology designed to create low-power wide-area networks (LPWAN) required for machine-to-machine (M2M) and Internet of Things (IoT) applications. The information can be sent to any base station connected to the cloud platform at low cost, low power consumption, safety, and long-distance.
There are four other functions in the back-end:
- Multi-identity login interface: hierarchical access
- Data visualization chart: Data will be displayed in various chart, such as column chart, bar chart, line chart, pie chart.
- Instant data transmission: transfer messages in real-time via LoRaWan, Json, MQTT communication protocols
- Complete data export
Automatic toilet paper machine
For example, the wireless sensor installed in the toilet paper holder has an infrared distance detection function. When the toilet paper surface is too low, the background data will be transmitted to the cloud, and an instant notification will be sent to the cleaning staff to replenish consumables. In addition, the toilet is also equipped with a door lock sensor to calculate the closing of the toilet door to calculate the flow of people. When the set usage is exceeded, the cleaning staff will be notified immediately for processing. The dynamic information display screen is installed at the toilet entrance to display the bathroom’s real-time status, including the available quantity. If there is a sudden increase in usage, such as many passengers disembarking, you can immediately grasp the situation. Big data analysis helps managers adjust the cleaning frequency and the consumption of different equipment in the toilet in time according to the actual usage rate of each bathroom and maintain the good operation of the toilet.
Dynamic Information Display
Show the real-time status of the toilet, including the number of cubicle available.
Smoke and Odour Sensor
The sensor will automatically adjust the ventilation system based on the detected concentrations of more than 20 air pollutants, including Ammonia released from urine. If the management personnel find that the data report of the odour concentration level is abnormal, they can immediately send someone to check whether the pipe is broken or leaking and replace and repair it as soon as possible.
Smart Air Fresheners
Monitor whether air fresheners need to be released in the immediate environment automatically
Smart Soap Dispenser
The energy consumption is low, and it can meet the demand of long-term use for 9 months.
Smart Water Leakage Detection System
The water leakage sensor device can clearly distinguish wetness or water leakage, more effective monitoring and real-time notification, and management personnel can implement repair and maintenance measures faster and more accurately.
At this stage, the application fields of smart toilets are all public places. It resolves disputes or human management issues between owners and employees. This service is suitable for workforce dispatch or property management companies to help owners grasp the work conditions such as the attendance rate and cleanliness of cleaning staff, thereby improving work efficiency.
In short, the company can introduce big data to analyze the toilet situation to fine-tune manual allocation and fundamentally correct uneven work distribution. In the face of the advent of an ageing society, LoRaWan wireless communication technology in conjunction with various IoT sensors can bring us a healthier and safer living environment. Repetitive tasks that traditionally rely heavily on human resources can also use technological advances to improve efficiency.
The use of the Internet of Things to solve the needs of daily life has become very popular. The Hong Kong government is vigorously promoting the application of smart cities and using technological advances to develop the landscape of the new era. The Internet of Things is no longer just synonymous with high-tech. Everything in life depends on the help of the Internet of Things. Let us walk into a convenient and fast life together.