Advancements in technology are transforming the cleaning industry. From robotic vacuums to advanced disinfection systems, these innovations are not only boosting efficiency but also elevating health, safety, and environmental standards, according to Nikki Gabisa – National Operations Director of Cleaning Services at FM company Servest.

The introduction of robotic cleaning equipment has been a game changer in the cleaning industry. These robots are helping to drive efficiency, cost savings, and consistent, high-quality cleaning through autonomous operations. The technology is also enabling human workers to focus on more specialised tasks, to enable further overall efficiency improvements in the different cleaning functions.

According to recent research by Kaspersky, employees in the Middle East, Turkey, and Africa region (META) have shown a significant level of trust in robots for routine cleaning tasks. In South Africa, 86 percent of employees surveyed expressed confidence in robots’ ability to handle cleaning duties within the manufacturing sector.

Automation and smart devices are revolutionising cleaning tasks by saving time and effort and ensuring a more efficient cleaning process. In addition, sensors and data monitoring continue to improve cleaning quality and efficiency, while eco-friendly products continue to reduce the environmental impact of cleaning activities.

Although South Africa has shown a relatively low uptake, it is increasingly being influenced by the global focus on sustainability, automation, and intelligent cleaning technologies to fast track the pace of adoption. The widespread adoption of robotics and automation worldwide is expected to drive South Africa’s exploration of these technologies for enhanced efficiency and productivity.

South Africa will likely integrate smart cleaning solutions based on IoT devices and sensors into its practices to align with global trends. Furthermore, the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning could further enhance resource management and optimise cleaning schedules through predictive maintenance and data analytics.

In addition, the cleaning industry in South Africa stands to benefit from innovations in disinfection technologies, antimicrobial coatings, and global health and hygiene efforts.

While regional differences may exist, cleaning technology trends indicate a shift toward more sustainable, health conscious, and intelligent cleaning practices in the country, aligning with global trends.

The implementation of cleaning innovations, particularly robotics, offers several advantages to various sectors facing unique challenges.
Warehouses, manufacturing plants, and logistics centres stand to benefit from the efficiency and speed of robotic cleaners, as these would allow them to cover large areas quickly.

In healthcare, robotic cleaners maintain strict hygiene standards, reducing the risk of infections. The healthcare sector can deploy these autonomous cleaners during off-peak hours without disturbing guests or patients to achieve greater levels of cleanliness and efficiency.

The retail sector also stands to benefit from robotic cleaners, to improve the shopping environment with regular maintenance in high-traffic areas.

In the commercial sector, there is a rise in the use of disinfection services and antimicrobial coatings to maintain cleanliness in critical areas. These solutions have become effective in eliminating harmful pathogens and are favoured for their long-lasting protection, especially in high-traffic places like healthcare facilities, gym facilities, shopping centres and offices. Increased awareness of hygiene importance and global health challenges has driven the adoption of innovative cleaning techniques. Businesses and organisations around the world now recognise the necessity of proactive measures to ensure a safe and hygienic environment. While traditional cleaning products remain essential, the incorporation of disinfection services and innovative cleaning solutions is a strategic response to evolving health standards, making them preferred choices in various industries.

Integrating automation and robotics into operations to enhance cleaning precision and efficiency is likely to drive greater efficiencies for businesses both now and in the future. The focus will continue to be on smarter, more efficient, and environmentally conscious cleaning practices to improve the quality of cleaning services and contribute to the well-being of occupants and the planet.

Nikki Gabisa
National Operations Director of Cleaning Services