The next generation laundromat....
Interesting session at Clean Show on day 2 about what the next generation of laundromats might look like. One of the attendees pressed the panel that they weren’t visionary enough – that everything that they talked about was available today.
True for the most part...and while we'd all like folding robots, it just reinforced the incredible transformation that has happened in just a few years. The recent evolution of technology in laundromats has been very visible – implementing POS systems, using mobile apps, digital screen advertising, CRM systems and new machines with touch screens.
I think the next phase will be far less visible, but will dramatically enhance the customer, employee and operator experiences. It won’t be about folding robots or waterless machines or who knows what. Because of the investments we have all made – the equipment and processes will likely remain the same for at least as long as our current leases.
So I believe the next generation will be software led and data driven – invisibly operating behind the scenes to augment the equipment and processes we have.
One only has to look to the world of entertainment and sports as to what the “next generation” of laundromats might look like.
Take Topgolf – a company that has transformed a relatively boring individual trip to the driving range to practice your golf swing in to a gamified group entertainment experience – all enabled by software and sensors.
The NFL has replaced printed photos with video on tablet computers to enhance how players and coaches evaluate their in-game performance.
Every Major League Baseball game broadcast can show you the location of every pitch – increasing the entertainment value for fans and setting the stage for having balls and strikes to be called by robots instead of human umpires.
Pixelot has automated the video taping of high school sports events and HUDL has transformed watching game videos in a classroom in to an always available online film room with statistics - and the kids can cut up their own highlights to put on social media.
These are just a handful of examples, but I’m sure you can look to your favorite sport and find similar cases. The games look pretty much the same. The balls, the bats, the field of play and equipment has little – if at all. But now stadiums are armed with multiple cameras and players & equipment carry sensors that generate data that is translated in to insights that is used to enhance the experience for players, coaches, executives and fans.