It goes without saying that cleanliness is one of the most important factors to guests when staying in a hotel. But it’s not just what they can see on the surface that matters: what’s hidden beneath the surface - i.e. dust and other matter deep down in the carpet fibres - can be harmful to health.
This particulate matter in your hotel carpets is made up of air-borne particles that have settled onto floor surfaces. Of course, vacuuming your carpets regularly should remove a lot of the particulate matter, but not all vacuums are created equal, as one of SoftBank’s hotel clients learnt recently. Cleaning staff at the hotel were astounded when they used SoftBank’s Whiz robot vacuum for the first time in place of their regular hand-held vacuum cleaner: the amount of dust and dirt extracted from the carpets by Whiz was incredible.
Clearly, your vacuum’s level of suction is crucial in removing the dangers of particulate matter, but the act of manual vacuuming can actually make the indoor environment worse for our health by agitating the settled air-borne particulates and thus deteriorating the general air quality. With the World Health Organisation (WHO) estimating that more than 2 million premature deaths each year can be attributed to the effects of urban outdoor air pollution and indoor air pollution, this is certainly something to be concerned about.
SoftBank Robotics was keen to understand the effect on air-borne particulates of vacuuming with Whiz, particularly in relation to agitation, so it constructed a study at two office blocks in London (see our Air Quality White Paper here).
Dozens of air quality sensors from industry-leading building analytics company Infogrid were deployed around the two buildings. The sensors monitored levels of CO2, VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds), radon, humidity, light levels, ventilation, virus risk factor, air pressure, and a range of pollutants including particulate matter volumes at three sizes (PM1.0, PM2.5 and PM10). The particulate matter included different types of dust, house dust mite allergens, viruses and bacteria. Readings were taken for two weeks whilst the on-site cleaning teams continued to service the areas according to their normal cleaning schedules and using their normal equipment. Subsequently, Whiz was deployed for a two-week period and normal vacuum cleaning practices were suspended.
The real-time data monitoring was captured and displayed through the Infogrid cloud dashboard, and at the end of the four weeks the results were compared. From the number of sensors deployed and through the frequency of sampling, over 400,000 data points were taken across the study.
SoftBank was most interested in the results relating to particulate matter, as evidence has shown that exposure to PM, especially the finer particles, can adversely affect the respiratory and cardiovascular systems.
The full results of the study are set out in our white paper, but in summary, there was a positive reduction in all three sizes of PM between pre and post Whiz deployment, with at least a 50% reduction in most cases. This shows that the use of Whiz dramatically improves the air quality through its normal operation by removing PM, whilst not causing agitation of harmful particulates that have settled on the floor surface.
The HEPA filter in Whiz can actually capture 99.97% of PM2.5 particles, including pollen and dust, but it’s not only a highly effective vacuum cleaner: being a cobot, it works collaboratively alongside its human colleagues, taking care of the menial and time-consuming task of vacuuming so that staff can devote more time to more intricate jobs like touchpoint cleaning.
Whiz is equipped with a 3D camera and a lidar (light detection and ranging) system, ensuring it can effectively avoid obstacles, and it can be programmed to clean at any time of day.
It can memorise up to 600 cleaning routes, vacuum 1,500 sqm of carpet on a single charge, provide reports on its performance, and it’s also compact and very user-friendly.
Lastly, in a hotel setting in particular, another benefit of Whiz is that when guests see it going about its daily vacuuming tasks, it gives them confidence that this is a hotel that cares about the wellbeing of its staff and customers.