Winner: LooLights – Smart Occupancy Systems, WhiffAway Group
Sponsored by: Polyteck Building Services
WhiffAway’s toilet occupancy tracking technology has won it the Best SME Led Innovation Award.
LooLights is a cubicle occupancy system suitable for WCs, disabled washrooms and changing rooms. Individual, mains-powered lighting units containing tracking sensors are positioned above cubicle doors to help users visually determine cubicle occupancy.
LooLights’ units are lit in red for occupied, green for vacant, or blue to indicate the cubicle is for persons with reduced mobility. When an individual passes under the LooLights unit and into the cubicle, a sensor is triggered and the unit changes colour to indicate the cubicle’s status to others.
Units are installed inside and outside washroom cubicles either through a ceiling mount, a pylon extension or as a wall mounted application. Each light unit acts as its own hotspot, using wireless mesh technology to collect precise occupancy data which is then transmitted to a secure cloud or on-premises server into a proprietary software ‘smart hub’ for analysis.
The development of the LooLights Smart Cubicle Occupancy project spans a period of just over three years, beginning in early 2019. Its official launch took place in February 2022. WhiffAway Group’s work on the project was inspired by its clients in the aviation, retail and hospitality spaces who were seeking more visual means of determining both washroom and cubicle occupancy.
The delivery of real time data back to the proprietary software platform allows facilities managers, cleaning operatives and others to better manage performance either in real-time or through historic reporting functions, triggering calls to action and producing exception reports.
In a focus group conducted in 2021 with end users, 43 out of 50 reported that the LooLights provided value with comments including ‘why have we not always done this?’.
A more general exercise at a larger scale was completed across 14 critical washroom areas at Heathrow Airport. Based on a sample of over 35,000 votes across three months, customer satisfaction levels were 89%. QSM scores (a scoring system used by International Airports) also remained above four out of five for the duration.
Today, LooLights clients include Merlin Entertainments, VUE Entertainment, MITIE, Heathrow Airport, Queens Hall, Network Rail, Westfield and HSBC.
Best practice learning point
Visualisation helps end-users and service providers alike. The software allows LooLights’ clients to display a 3D representation of their current washroom environment on user interfaces ranging from desktop PCs to tablets and other mobile devices. This visualisation can reduce queuing, cut reactive downtime, help monitor footfall and improve users’ overall washroom experience.
‘The use of data and bespoke alerts can help shape future washroom designs, including a more targeted and alert driven approach when it comes to cleaning and maintenance practices.’