While not a new-fangled, emerging technology, the demand and mode of delivery for workplace UVC disinfection is rapidly evolving. Companies aren’t just grabbing up corona-killing robots to show off their innovation budgets. They’re investing in a solution that helps them get employees, customers, and clients back into their workplace.
To better understand the business value of UVC disinfection robots, take a step back and consider UVC light as a cleaning method in the workplace. The use of UVC light to fight infection and contamination has actually been in practice for around 40 years. But, historically, the application was almost always in “scrub-in” settings like pharma clean rooms, hospitals, labs, etc. The pandemic has drastically changed the consideration and demand landscape.
The appetite for UVC disinfection robots in response to the pandemic tracks with the accelerated adoption of other workplace technologies and solutions.
Corporate offices, warehouses, hotels, schools, retail locations, a wider range of healthcare facilities–pretty much anywhere business is conducted–place new emphasis on health and safety solutions to benefit employees, customers, and clients. As stated in an article from the Washington Post, “virus-zapping robots are here to stay.”
Acute Relief for New Pain Points
Business leaders had no choice in 2020: adapt or fail. The mandated shift to remote work, social distancing, and travel restrictions took an immediate toll. And, despite not being completely locked down, this is still very much the context around decision-making businesses face. Our team at Ava saw firsthand, how our customers were able to immediately advance and expand their internal and external collaboration capabilities with telepresence robots. Giving people the opportunity to teleport into their workplaces, on-demand, provided relief, hope, and new operational enablement.
The complexity of the future workplace is presenting in many forms. Businesses solve for each challenge, knowing many others sit in a backlog. As we work toward mass vaccination and plan for a complex, fluid return-to-work timeline, businesses are solving for and prioritizing workplace health and safety like never before.
A heightened level of concern around COVID19 is driving the market toward UVC disinfection robots, but what might initially appear to be a temporary bridge to cross the chasm, is actually laying the foundation for doing better for our people, places, and processes.
The immediate business benefits of UVC disinfection robots are fairly straight-forward and easy to understand: eliminating harmful particles in the air and on surfaces to mitigate spread and contamination. Less obvious are the intangible, long term benefits UVC robots provide businesses.
Enabling Workplace Health & Safety Best Practices
With The Future of Work comes new workplace expectations and standards: from remote capabilities to workplace design–and especially safety protocols. To instill employee and customer confidence and satisfaction, companies tackle a laundry list, including:
- Design for distancing
- Remote telepresence solutions
- Outdoor meeting spaces
- Adhering to capacity requirements
- Hands-free technology
- Daily health questionnaires
- Wearing masks
- Premium HVAC systems
Unfortunately, even with all of these in mind, there are still gaps. Traditional cleaning services cannot account for human error, and are dependent upon time and staffing resources. HVAC provides limited filtering and neutralization, especially when only in the ceiling.
Check out this video from Holt Architects that shows in-office spread of COVID-19 from coughing:
Bottom line: Mobile UVC robots provide disinfection where HVAC doesn’t circulate air, and automated UVC treatments won’t miss as many spots as human hands.
Communication and Education: The Future of Work Hinges on Trust
With UV disinfection robots, a business can better walk the walk with workplace health and safety best practices. In combination with manual cleaning, HVAC, and existing methods in place, UV disinfection robots offer an automated layer of cleaning many businesses never took into account because it was only seen as a medical/lab application where the stakes were high. Now, every workplace is seen as a high stakes environment, and expectations have changed.
When it comes to implementing any new technology, whomever is driving the initiative is met with what, why, how, and, “show me.” A few things to keep in mind when communicating the value of a UV robot to leadership, customers, and workers alike:
- Emphasize how investment in safety solutions is an initiative that helps stop the spread of harmful agents, but is driven by commitment to put people first.
- Demonstrate proof of solution effectiveness as simply and visually as possible to encourage interest and understanding around how the robot directly benefits those in the workplace.
- Stay engaged, survey your people to get feedback on the robot application. How does it make them feel? What questions do they have?
Market Differentiation: Key UV Disinfection Robot Features
With increased demand comes more options from which to choose. Our team at Ava designed and built our Ava UV Disinfection Robot based on our core robotics technology capabilities, as well as a strong collaboration application with MIT CSAIL.
Businesses have to consider their goals and workplace environments to determine the right application. For example, some UV robots need to be manually wheeled into a space vs. autonomously navigating the selected/scheduled area for disinfection. And, like all robots, cleaning robots vary in size and function (e.g. light vs fog).
Responsibility, Sustainability, and Adaptability
The benefits of fully-autonomous, safe, and scheduled UVC disinfection go beyond the removal of harmful viruses. For businesses that rely on their physical space for in-person visits, employee and customer confidence has immediate bottom-line impact. Increased assurances around safety and proactive measures speak volumes for the business, internally and externally.
UVC disinfection robots aren’t having their 15 minutes as Covid-response gadgets. The technology is proven, and the investment in these robots is with the intention to safely get people back to work. The innovation statement is more about business transformation and prioritization than technological prowess. For businesses to succeed now and in the future, they need to be able to adapt to macro conditions while establishing a continuum of trust and confidence.
Watch a demo of Ava Robotics’ UVC disinfection robot in action: