Monitor Your Laundry Online

It’s 10:30 pm. You’re at a pub across town from your campus, but you’re also washing your clothes in the west wing of student housing. Your cell phone rings. Is it your mom? No, it’s just your laundry calling to let you know it’s ready to be folded. Your buddy gets another call to let him know there’s a washing machine open and reserved for his use. Does it sound too good to be true? It’s not. A clever combination of wireless technology and crafty software is making cramped student life much more bearable.

Mac-Gray Corporation, the largest laundry facilities supplier to US education institutions, is rolling out a web-based system called LaundryView eMonitoring. It’s a free service presently available at selected campuses. Students aren’t loitering around dryers on a Friday night anymore; they’re waiting for alerts via email, mobile phone or PDA.

Students can also visit a real-time web site to view the availability of washers and dryers as well as a graphical 2-week history of usage which helps them avoid peak laundry hours. Both the washing machines and dryers are numbered and users can watch individual progress bars move across the screen with messages such as “cycle ended 15 minutes ago,” “estimated time remaining 33 minutes,” and “available.”

Used conjunction with Mac-Gray’s debit-card laundry machines (which eliminates the need to carry pocket change for coin-ops) and the patent-pending PrecisionWash system (which automatically injects detergent into washing machines) doing laundry couldn’t be any easier.

If something goes wrong, Mac-Gray has also created a system called TechLinx which features automatic dispatch technology. When a machine breaks, a text message is sent directly from the laundry room to a technician’s cell phone.

It seems laundromats are finally getting the make-over they need. Now all we want is a robot to carry the clothes to and from the machines. The Laundrobot. When is that going to be invented?

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