ITS Networking helped the University give dorm residents a new smart laundry system with upgraded machines and user-friendly smartphone controls.
Using the Washlava 4thID application, the University’s new laundry system enables dorm residents to reserve a machine 15 minutes in advance and bookmark their most-used laundry room on campus. It makes doing laundry a seamless, online process.
Multiple departments collaborated
ITS, Finance and Operations, and Carolina Housing worked together to roll out this innovative system of 512 new LG Platinum series washers and dryers in all 26 laundry rooms across campus. In Spring 2022, with the introduction of the new laundry system, Housing eliminated charging residents per load; laundry is included.
Networking staff members and Craig Hyatt, Director of Commercial Systems with Finance and Operations IT, designed a network solution to bring this technology into ITS’ infrastructure. University Laundry Services, a unit within Finance and Operations Auxiliary Services, maintains all student laundry machines on campus.
App reserves machines
Residents at several dorms said they appreciate the easy-to-use software and reliable machines.
“I like that we don’t need to pay for it. I also like that you can reserve machines in an app that’s user-friendly,” Avishi Singh, a second-year psychology major, said during Fall semester.
Washers and dryers have an LED “puck” light that displays at a glance the status of the machine: available, reserved, in use or undergoing maintenance. Using the app’s accessible interface, students can reserve their own machines or report one that’s down.
‘Ideal opportunity’ to upgrade
Carolina’s contract for laundry maintenance was expiring, the washers and dryers were at least 15 years old and frequently malfunctioned, and the One Card laundry readers were at the end of their life.
This was the ideal opportunity to install all new washers and dryers along with smartphone-based control, said Ryan Turner, interim Director of Networking.
“This was a great example of the Carolina way,” said Hyatt, of Finance and Operations IT. “Auxiliary Services, Housing, Finance and Operations IT, ITS and our new vendor partner all worked together to bring a major upgrade to the student laundry experience.”
Long ago Hyatt was involved with installing the first generation of card-based laundry control. “I still remember seeing students bring sandwich bags full of quarters to do their laundry,” he said. “Using their One Card was a major upgrade!”
Hyatt was pleased, he said, to work with a great team to bring the next major upgrade to the student laundry experience.
Rick Bradley, Carolina Housing’s Director of Administrative Services, agreed. “We know that a project of this scope takes many hands, and we greatly appreciate the collaboration from our ITS partners,” he said.
Carolina Housing, he said, “is ecstatic with the new laundry machines in all of our facilities across campus. The former machines were in need of replacement and the students love the new machines and the technology.”
Sarah Jooste, a first-year student in Hinton James, said she appreciates the convenience of the new system. With all the stress of a packed first semester, she was glad that doing laundry didn’t add to her stress. “Being able to reserve a washing machine early on is really helpful,” she said during the Fall semester. The new system, she added, eliminates any guessing of whether another student is using a machine.
Güzin Karagöz, a second-year resident who serves on the Residence Hall Association Executive Board, also is pleased with the new system. “I saw a substantial change in the way that the machines work as well,” she said. “They work for a shorter amount of time and wash my clothes really well.”