Laundry services enter digital age

Alert system rolling out soon

In a couple of weeks, a new feature is going to be available in the current laundry service program at RPI residence halls. Alexandre M. da Silva, director of Auxiliary, Parking and Transportation Services, described the new feature, LaundryAlert, as a web-based alert system that “enables the user to find out the in-use status of a washing or drying cycle.” It is a student initiative that began two years ago. The idea came from the students wishing for an efficient way to monitor their laundry throughout the laundry cycle. The idea was good enough to warrant the Student Senate to push for more development on this project.

Currently, the vast majority of the washers and dryers in the residence halls are already outfitted with “web-based controllers on the back of the machines” that connect to the website http://laundryalert.com/, said Senior Administrative Coordinator of Auxiliary, Parking and Transportation Elizabeth Preston. So far, three-quarters of the washers and dryers are outfitted already; the rest, mainly apartments and family housing, are awaiting the last shipment, which is due to arrive in the coming two weeks.

Students are able to view all the available washers and dryers through the website, and see how much more time a particular cycle has left. There is also a feature on LaundryAlert that allows users to sign up for a message sent out via SMS or e-mail to notify them upon the completion of the cycle. This feature is not only just for alerting users of when the load is finished, but can also notify them when a certain number of washers or dryers are available.

One drawback to this is if a particular machine is open, someone might already be loading in their laundry before the site updates. But since this service is mainly used to notify users of when there are laundry machines open; users can’t reserve a machine for their use.

Another plus to this new feature to the laundry service program is that FIXX is connected through the website. The student can report a particular machine to ASI Campus Laundry Solutions, who in turn notifies FIXX to service the broken machine. This eliminates having to go through FIXX and Auxiliary Services before notifying ASI Campus Laundry Solutions to send a technician out to fix the broken machine.

RPI is not the first to have such a program. Many other schools have created similar programs in the past. But this is an improvement to the current laundry service program pushed forward by the Student Senate that began with a student initiative. It is now currently available for these residence halls: Barton Hall, Blitman Commons, Bray Hall, Cary Hall, RAHP-Colvin, Crockett Hall, Davison Hall, Hall Hall, the Quadrangle, Nason Hall, North Hall, Nugent Hall, Sharp Hall, and Warren Hall.

Instructions on how to use this new feature will be distributed when all the residence halls have been outfitted with the web-based controllers. To access this feature now, go to http://laundryalert.com/ and put in the code “rpi2012” and a list of residence halls with the washer and dryers in use and available will appear.