How to Use Connected Technology for Restroom Maintenance

May 31, 2024
Embracing smart technology offers airports a chance to improve maintenance on facilities.
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Airport facility managers are faced with a unique set of challenges when it comes to maintaining restrooms.

Unlike a school, commercial office building, or stadium, airport restrooms are open nearly around the clock, requiring diligent and consistent upkeep.

And when you factor in the staggering number of people who go through an airport on any given day, restroom maintenance is made even more challenging. In fact, according to a recently published report from Airports Council International (ACI) World, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport ranked as the world’s busiest airport in 2023 with 104,653,451 visitors.

With this high level of foot traffic, efforts to ease the burden on facility maintenance teams go a long way towards clean, well-maintained airport restrooms.

That’s why airports are starting to specify connected products. These products, equipped with Internet of Things (IoT) technology, make tracking and managing restrooms easy. Facility managers can now monitor and maintain restrooms remotely using mobile apps, tablets, or desktop platforms, reducing, or possibly eliminating the need for physical checks.

Keeping a closer watch on metrics such as water usage, battery life, and device condition helps maintenance teams better understand the overall status of their facility’s restrooms while keeping products operational. With two-way communication, facility managers can change settings, schedule hygienic line flushes, and customize reports.

Let’s take a look at this restroom technology and how it can specifically benefit airport facility managers.

Maintenance: On-Time Fault Detection and Diagnostics

When people go to the airport, they are almost surely going to use the restroom before their flight.

And with so many travelers using an airport’s restroom, it’s a space that can leave a lasting impression—for better or worse—on travelers.

In fact, according to Baltimore-Washington International Airport (BWI) spokesman Jonathan Dean, travelers ranked plentiful and clean restrooms as essential to a positive airport experience in a recent passenger survey.

That’s why keeping restrooms well maintained is an important task for airport facility maintenance teams, and connected products are helping make these efforts easier than ever.

Facility managers can now track the number of activations taking place at each restroom fixture across the airport, which can go a long way toward proactive maintenance. Take Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, for example. If a facility manager notices there haven’t been many activations at a specific urinal in the world’s busiest airport, they can likely deduce that something is wrong and take corrective action and streamline traffic flow to provide a positive traveler experience.

Better yet, connected restroom technology enables facility maintenance teams to monitor battery health of fixtures to proactively service them before they fail in the first place.

First-class Hygiene

It’s no secret that hygiene is paramount in airport restrooms.

Not only do thousands of travelers pass through airport restrooms each day, but what’s unique to airport restrooms as opposed to other commercial facilities is that travelers rely on clean airport restrooms as a space to freshen up—whether it’s to brush their teeth or wash their face before or after a long flight.

Connected technology helps airport maintenance teams ensure optimal restroom hygiene. People brushing their teeth at airports rely on clean water from faucets, and airport facility maintenance teams can perform remote automatic line flushes to purge stagnant water. Remote flushes in urinals and water closets reduce odor and inhibit microbial growth ensuring sanitary conditions.

Additionally, maintenance teams can gather a complete picture of the airport’s overall hygiene by tracking average handwashing time across each faucet. If the average handwash is below the 20-second Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendation, airports can take steps to remind travelers to practice proper hand hygiene through signage, announcements, and more.

Sustainability Solutions

Connected restroom technology can also help airports achieve sustainability goals.

Monitoring water consumption is important for all airports, especially for those in states like Nevada and California that are more susceptible to drought-like conditions.

Connectivity and data analytics enable airport facility managers to track water consumption trends, detect inefficiencies, and create reports, facilitating targeted conservation efforts like upgrading to water-efficient systems. This data-driven approach also raises awareness and encourages behavioral changes among staff and passengers, promoting mindful water usage throughout the airport while also aiding in obtaining rebates for using reclaimed water in urinals and water closets.

Sloan’s SC Argus Pro Connected Restroom platform is enabling airport facility managers to keep their restrooms operational with less downtime and achieve their sustainability goals. 

Solay Alagappan is the Senior Product Manager for IoT and Programmed Water Technologies at Sloan Valve Co. Solay has been in the smart building space for 18+ years connecting lighting, HVAC, shading, and plumbing equipment to the internet.

About the Author

Solay Alagappan | Senior Product Manager for IoT and Programmed Water Technologies

Solay Alagappan is the Senior Product Manager for IoT and Programmed Water Technologies at Sloan Valve Co. Solay has been in the smart building space for 18+ years connecting lighting, HVAC, shading, and plumbing equipment to the internet.