NATIONAL REPORT—One thing that COVID-19 experts agree on is this: the fewer the touch points, the fewer the opportunities for infection. Much has been written so far about touchless check-in but another touch point beginning to receive attention is the water filtration system. Earlier this month, Vero Water, a leading provider of luxury still and sparkling water, introduced its VERO+4 featuring Touchless Technology to meet the heightened sanitation and safety requirements for HORECA establishments because of COVID-19. Similarly, FloWater announced the addition of a foot pedal mechanism to its already self-sanitizing FloWater Refill Stations, making them fully “Touchless.”
In the case of Vero Water’s VERO+4, the user simply places a bottle on the drip dray and holds one’s hand 22 mm away from the desired water type sensor for automatic dispensing. Users have the option of filling up with sparkling or still water.
“Vero is using a capacitive proximity sensor technology to dispense without touch,” said Joe McNulty, Vice President of Operations for Vero Water. “This technology produces an electrostatic field—meaning it will sense metal as well as non-metallic materials such as paper, glass, liquids and, of course in this case, the hand. When the object moves away from the sensor the influence on the electrostatic field reduces and the output signal stops. We have done extensive testing to ensure proper and long-term utilization without interruption of service. The best part, our current clients will also benefit as the Vero+4 has the ability to be retrofitted in the field very easily for a touchless application.”
When asked about the genesis of the VERO+4, Joe McNulty, Vice President of Operations for Vero Water said, “Our team prides ourselves on the ability to continue with innovation within the industry. With the current times, we understand the new challenges that our partners will face so the team expedited the touchless technology design and were able to go from initial concept to utilization in just 100 days. We acknowledge there is somewhat of a new normal that the industry will adapt to, and we will continue to lead the way with new developments to provide Vero Water in a sustainable and safe way to all guests.”
More on FloWater’s Approach
In the case of FloWater, the user places his or her bottle in the filling area and then simply depresses a foot pedal for the company’s highly purified water. Also available on the machine are soft-touch buttons for dispensing that are flat and can be easily cleansed and wiped free of contaminants with disinfecting wipes.
“It also has a recessed nozzle that is not exposed,” says Kate Ellison, V.P. Sales & Partnerships, FloWater. “There is no cross-contamination. We use activated oxygen which self-sanitizes the internal parts.”
The new FloWater “Touchless” foot pedal activation device is now available for both new FloWater Refill Stations and for the over 5,000 units already in place in offices, hotels, stores, gyms, and schools across the country.
Ellison says once her company introduced the touchless options there was a lot of interest. “Within an hour we had 150 requests,” she says. “Touchless was a necessity. It is very easy to install. It is so much about guest perception these days.”
Ellison says customers offering the touchless option are including signage but it is “relatively intuitive.”
Both Vero Water and FloWater provide highly filtered water and systems that eliminate significant plastic bottle waste. Vero Water uses a five-stage purification system that reduces impurities, chemicals, and imperfections. FloWater’s seven-stage Advanced Purification uses an existing water source and removes up to 99 percent of any impurities that can be found in typical tap water. Then, FloWater improves the water with trace elements of essential minerals and electrolytes, and finally, finishes the water through a coconut carbon filter for a crisp, fresh, delicious taste.