We make dumb toilets smart

Public toilets might not seem an obvious opportunity for a technological disruption, but Adroit, a company that specialises in the Internet of Things (IoT) has partnered with CSL infrastructure, a company with a combined industry experience of more than 75 years to show how they can make a difference in even the most mundane spaces.

Adroit and CSLi are currently trialling a new product with a major New Zealand council called Project Off-Grid, designed to eliminate many of the issues faced by the council with public toilets, including high running costs, energy use and issues with how often the toilets need to be serviced.

While essential to service the needs of the public, public toilets are high in both costs and in maintenance. Councils around the country face similar problems managing these facilities, including: arranging for them to be manually locked morning and night and opened at a similar time; usage and foot traffic is usually unmonitored and unknown, meaning toilets are often over or under-cleaned; and every toilet is connected to a power grid and pays a fixed cost grid connection fee, even when just one lightbulb is being used.

 

 
 
 
 

Smart Control

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To solve these pain points, Adroit’s team of engineers, together with CSL’ know how and dedicated service team have worked together to build both the physical hardware, back-end software and installation that links together IoT data gathered from the toilets into one device for the council to use.

The device, called the Nibbl Cloud Connector, utilises a customised solution that shows a combined view of all toilets on the network and allows the council to control hundreds of toilets from a single, offsite point.

 
 
 

Adroit Platform with AWS

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We’ve created a custom portal on top of Amazon’s Web Services called The Adroit Platform that we use to control and manage devices we make for clients -, or even integrate pre-existing devices into the platform as well,” Adroit’s Founder and Technical Director Ulrich Frerk says.

With the Off-Grid project, sensors can help monitor a range of actions, recording the number of uses by the public to inform decisions around maintenance, remote locking or unlocking and lighting control.

In the future, this data can be gathered and processed using machine-learning algorithms that will provide information on how to efficiently and cost effectively manage toilets.

 
 
 

Solar Powered

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What’s more, the system that Adroit and CSL has built is also solar-powered, making it extremely energy-efficient when compared to its previous set-up.

 

Frerk says the company has previous experience in connecting complex devices such as spa pools to the IoT, and now it’s working with public toilets – all items that were previously not able to be connected to this type of modern technology but can be revolutionised by Adroit’s systems.

“We can take a device that’s traditionally ‘dumb’, and effectively make it ‘smart’ by connecting it to the cloud and adding elements to make it able to be remotely controlled and energy effective,” Frerk says.

Adroit’s overall vision is to help people connect with products so they can be interacted with in simple and intuitive ways, with no limitations to industry, scope or connectivity.

Frerk says IoT technology is applicable to any business around New Zealand, or any around the world for that

matter. And with a recent Gartner report predicting the IoT will grow to 26 billion connected units installed by 2020, companies who get on board with this technological revolution and use Adroit’s services will see the rewards.