Could artificial intelligence revolutionise the future of commercial cleaning?
One Hawke's Bay commercial cleaning company director believes so and is working to develop AI technology for his cleaners to analyse their work in real-time.
Two years in the making, Hastings' business The Clean Crew has launched an app called Convoy that guides its cleaning team through a job, with photo and video evidence verified by supervisors and available for the client.
The app, developed by Hamilton-based Black Quadrant Technologies (BQT), notifies cleaners of their different jobs, gives instructions of each cleaning job, special requests, arrival and departure times and client feedback.
Singh said there are many apps where users can tick boxes of completed tasks, but just ticking a box wouldn't provide proof of work.
The cleaner takes photos of specific areas as they clean which are uploaded into the system in real time, providing visual proof that they have completed the job.
The Clean Crew managing director Gary Singh said they wanted to create a way to guide cleaning crews' work and provide evidence of work, eliminating 'he said she said' situations when issues arise.
"Never has it been so important that hygiene standards are a priority for businesses, to keep staff and the public safe.
"The commercial cleaning sector struggles to retain customers, and I wanted to ensure that we can stand by the quality of our work and the app offers us a way of showing our clients that the job has been done to their expectation time and again.
"It's time technology is introduced to the cleaning sector for the labour component of the service. There's a steady flow of new equipment and cleaning products but this is a world-first," Singh said.
He said the app has increased consistency of cleaning tasks and helped client retention in the nine months it has been in use.
The next step is introducing the AI technology currently being developed and two to three months away from being ready.
The AI technology database is being developed through photos the cleaners take.
Cleaners will be able to upload a photo of their work and the AI technology will analyse the cleanliness, providing a cleanliness percentage.
Once the cleanliness is above a certain threshold, the job will be marked completed, with an update is sent to a quality supervisor for a visual test. A report of the clean is sent to the client.
"It will revolutionise the sector, eliminating any human error," Singh said.
The Clean Crew took out the innovation category at Hawke's Bay Chamber of Commerce Business Awards in December 2020 with the judges commenting how the app has transformed how decisions are made within the business.