"Wash Your Hands Please"

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Posted on Tuesday, December 5, 2017 by Steve Montgomery

Almost 2/3rds of food service workers are not washing their hands properly. Our Whisker.IO® hand soap dispenser drop-in kits make it easy to monitor hand washing behavior.

When I first heard the idea of connecting a hand soap dispenser to the cloud, I have to admit I had trouble understanding the true value.  However, we are an IoT company and connecting a soap dispenser to the cloud is a good technical challenge so we jumped in with both feet.

As soon as we had early prototypes working, I installed a couple of the smart soap dispensers in our office bathrooms as a demonstration of our technology.  Interestingly, within a few days, I realized that my employees were not washing their hands as much as they should be and that the men were far worse than the women.  I made a simple sign and put it on the men's door as a joke, but the next day I noticed that the frequency of hand-washing in the men's bathroom had doubled.  That taught me an important lesson: we can modify human behavior using IoT data as a feedback mechanism.

Personally, I have no desire to shape the world according to my idea of perfect human behavior, but we all have to admit that there are certain behaviors that are beneficial to us all and proper hand washing would be on that list.

According to this article at Mother Jones:

About 3,000 Americans die every year from foodborne diseases, and more than 120,000 are hospitalized.... [and]

Nearly two-thirds of restaurant workers who handle raw beef aren’t washing their hands afterward.

Clearly, if people who handle our food are not washing their hands properly, it creates a clear and present danger to society as a whole which is why we are so excited about our hygene related IoT products, such as our Whisker.IO® Soap Dispenser drop-in kits.  We can customize these kits for just about any type of existing soap dispenser, turing exists dispensers into intelligent ahnd wash data collection devices.

We did just that for a national QSR recently at their request, and within days, we were able to show them that their employees were not washing their hands as often as they should, in spite of the manual records that indicated the employees were indeed washing their hands.  Using the data from our solution, management was able to provide feedback to the employees, and within a week, the problem was essentially solved.