July 23, 2020 • 10 min read
Online Log of Cleaning and Disinfection Tasks
See Completed and Missed Tasks in Real-Time
- Electronic records in the cloud enable online viewing, downloading, auto-exporting, and selective sharing.
- Actual proof-of-presence, task affirmations, photos, and signatures are essential records for a safe return to work, school, and events
Note: We present this article after successfully implementing this NFC solution together with one of the largest maintenance service providers in the world. We hope this is helpful for anyone fighting the spread of COVID-19.
Maintenance workers can record their activities to a cloud database using their own smartphones or provisioned devices. Importantly, they can record their activities even if their device doesn’t have Internet connectivity.
Each record includes a timestamp and location so the worker can be monitored and tracked. Activity records are available in real-time if the device has Internet access while on location. Alternatively, the device can create records offline and the worker can upload them later when Internet connectivity is available.
Benefits of having an online log for cleaning tasks
For Maintenance Workers
- They can see what’s done and what’s left to do.
- Special instructions can be given for each location.
For Maintenance Service Providers
- Supervisors can monitor workers in real-time.
- Electronic records are readily available for audits.
For Facility Owners
- Service providers can share their reports.
- If audited, electronic records are readily available.
Records in the cleaning tasks online log
Each record can simply include the worker’s name, location, and timestamps. However, supplemental information can also be collected including what specifically was done, what chemicals were used, a photo of the location, the GPS location, a signature, and comments affirming actions taken or any issues encountered.
Barcodes for GPS tracking
Barcodes can be placed at each location. They are efficient and inexpensive, priced roughly at $0.05-$0.10 each depending on volume. However, since they can be “faked”, generally it’s recommended to also capture the GPS location of the device.
The problem is many locations don’t have accurate GPS tracking. For example, the inside of many buildings can’t get accurate indoor location data. That’s especially true for high-rises when trying to track the z-axis to know which floor the worker is on.
So, what’s the alternative?
NFC Tags and Tokens
NFC tags cost around $2.00 each so they are substantially more expensive than barcodes. However, NFC tags and tokens are difficult to fake compared to visual barcodes. We refer to NFC tags as a better “proof-of-presence” because the CodeREADr app can be configured to only read the UID and reports can show that it was the UID that was read.
While it may be possible to buy NFC tags from disreputable sources using fake UIDs, for this use case it seems unlikely the worker would do that. Whereas with barcodes, they can simply take a picture of the barcode.
NFC Best Practices
1. To avoid potential interference when placing NFC tags on metal services, we recommend buying labels or tokens meant for placement on metal. The additional cost is relatively small and generally worth the expense. Why? Because then when your team applies tags they won’t have to know what’s under the surface.
2. You should ask for a CSV file of the chip manufacturer’s UID (Unique ID) for the purchased batch of tags. This is important since the UIDs will be used in the database of locations.
3. To aid in the placement of tags on-site, we recommend the tags include a printed, human-readable, sequential number. For example, sequential numbers could be a_0000, a_0001, a_0003, etc.
In that way, the placement of the tags is much easier. Why? Because when placing the tags you can follow the sequential numbers which would also be in a placement spreadsheet showing the number and placement location.
Also, the tags should be delivered in that sequential order and include a CSV file associating the sequential numbers to the manufacturer’s UIDs.
4. You will create two spreadsheets in Excel, Google Sheets, etc. One will be for placement and the other for uploading to a CodeREADr database to validate against.
A placement spreadsheet could look something like this:
|Label ID||UID of the Tag||Placement Location|
|a_0000||03C218A2366780||10th FLR Unisex Restroom|
|a_0001||03C218A2366781||10th FLR Men’s Restroom|
|a_0002||03C218A2366782||10th FLR Women’s Restroom|
|a_0003||03C218A2366783||11th FLR Unisex Restroom|
|a_0004||03C218A2366784||11th FLR Men’s Restroom|
|a_0005||03C218A2366785||11th FLR Women’s Restroom|
Then, the CSV file to upload to CodeREADr would look like this:
|UID of the Tag||Placement Location|
|03C218A2366780||10th FLR Unisex Restroom|
|03C218A2366781||10th FLR Men’s Restroom|
|03C218A2366782||10th FLR Women’s Restroom|
|03C218A2366783||11th FLR Unisex Restroom|
|03C218A2366784||11th FLR Men’s Restroom|
|03C218A2366785||11th FLR Women’s Restroom|
5. Tags must be NDEF compliant, even if you don’t plan on writing to the tag.
6. GoToTags in the USA is an online resource to purchase NFC tags. For example, a “dome token” with an NXP NTAG213 chip may be a good choice. Another online resource is Seritag in the UK. For example, their “disc tags” may be a good choice.
Reporting of activity records
Maintenance workers can view the activity status of what’s done and what’s not done using the “In-App Lookup” feature. Supervisors can view the activity status using the “Advanced Database Search” feature. Service providers have many options for viewing and sharing records. Options include:
- View incoming scans in real-time on the CodeREADr website.
- Download filtered CSV files of activity records.
- Share CSV Download Links with their customers.
- Schedule automatic exports of filtered activity records.
- Auto- insert filtered activity records to third party databases.
- Pull filtered activity records using our API.
The value of the data in these activity records can be greatly enhanced if you create and optionally share your own Business Intelligence dashboards (e.g. Microsoft BI or Tableau) or even when just using Goole Sheets and Excel.