This year’s Budget proposed to allocate over $600 million to refurbish about 240 public toilets in the next five years. As early as January this year, the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department (EMSD) already started searching for appropriate new technologies to manage washroom facilities in Hong Kong, and uploaded the wish for washroom improvement onto the EMSD’s E&M InnoPortal, with the aim to help client departments enhance the cleaning management of washrooms and improve the quality of public services.
This June, the EMSD took the lead to install Internet of Things (IoT) sensors in a washroom on the 4th floor of the headquarters building and develop the smart washroom management platform, which provides real-time environmental monitoring for users and cleaning staff. The Smart Washroom Management System collects information with the sensors installed across the washroom, and monitors the use of the washroom (such as toilet cubicle occupancy, queuing situation and indoor air quality) through data analysis. Such information will be reflected real-time on tablet computers or mobile phones by means of the IoT platform and mobile applications, notifying users of available washrooms nearby and their cleanliness as well as the estimated waiting time. Other smart functions include interaction between sensors and air-blow deodorising disinfection equipment, automatic detection of the remaining amount of consumables such as toilet paper and liquid soap, automatic detection of water leakage on the floor, etc., which allow cleaning staff to obtain the relevant information for cleaning and timely replenishment of consumables, optimised cleaning plan in the long run.
We can estimate the flow of people and analyse the waiting time according to the sensors installed in the washroom, thus facilitating the diversion of users. The floor plan of the washroom also helps users quickly know about the use of the washroom.
Representatives from client departments visited our smart washroom during the Innovation & Technology Seminar in June this year to learn about the relevant IoT concept. They showed great interest in the application of the Smart Washroom Management System and were eager to know more about it.