During the Innovation Day (the first day of the Interclean Amsterdam online program), the winners of the Amsterdam Innovation Award 2020 have been revealed. They are: LeoBot by LionsBot (category 1: Machines, Accessories & Components), VacuTronic by Hermes (category 2: Equipment, Detergents & Washroom), ToolSense IOT & ToolSense NOW by ToolSense (category 3: E-cleaning) and TORK Virtual Reality Clean Hands Training by Essity (category 4: Related Products/Services). Sustainability was key criteria for the judges this year, all the awarded products and solutions demonstrated their ability to drive the circular economy or reduce resource consumption. The drive for efficiency and productivity was another major point for the jury, the winning products and solutions are designed to reduce the time spent on tasks and free up resources to be used for the improvement of cleaning quality.
“Once again this year we on the jury have been given a fascinating, and sometimes challenging, task – commented Michelle Marshall, chair of the Jury -. There were so many diverse products to evaluate and compare – from all sectors of the market – that selecting the final nominees was complex. We can see three main themes emerge time and again – digitisation, robotics and sustainability. The vast majority of products we have chosen to be finalists in our four categories highlight one or more of those trends. It’s encouraging to observe that the solutions developed by our finalists are focusing on their clients’ needs against the backdrop of those global trends. The goal is clearly to offer meaningful benefits within the context of an everyday cleaning operation.
It’s all very well to generate vast amounts of data through digitisation, but how can it be used to impact on productivity and profitability? What can a robotic cleaning machine offer that a human being cannot, when the investment is relatively high? How do we differentiate what a ‘sustainable’ product or service is, and does it hold up under scrutiny? These are questions we must all ask. Alongside these ‘megatrends’ we must always remember that people are at the centre of any cleaning operation and it was encouraging to see our finalists have really considered the needs of the operatives who will be using their products and solutions. What we see here is a group of solutions that aims to make the job of the operative more streamlined, less labour intensive and more ergonomic – achieving an all-round ‘smarter’ way of doing what can be a challenging and fatiguing job.
Of course we cannot talk about our sector without mentioning the COVID-19 pandemic. This unprecedented event has brought cleaning out into the public consciousness in a way we have never seen before. As plans are made around the world about how we move forward, the industry will undoubtedly have a crucial role to play in sharing expertise, developing strategy and managing the practicalities of safeguarding hygienic environments. Maybe now is the time the cleaning industry will finally have the recognition it deserves”.