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1. (WO2018004533) SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR MANAGING PRODUCT USAGE FROM DISPENSERS
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WHAT IS CLAIMED IS:

I . A method for improving product usage prior to refill of product dispensers in service areas, the service area having a plurality of product dispensers, the method comprising:

for each product dispenser, detecting a product level or amount condition of product in the product dispenser with a sensor configured with the product dispenser and a control system in communication with the sensor; and

based on information from the sensors, generating and transmitting a visual or audio message to the patron that encourages the patron to use a first product dispenser that has a greater product fill amount as compared to a second product dispenser in the same or different service area.

2. The method as in claim 1 , wherein the product dispensers are any one or combination of towel dispenser, soap dispenser, or toilet tissue dispenser.

3. The method as in claim 2, wherein the sensors are any one or combination of mechanical sensor, non-contact electrical sensor, weight sensor, or optical sensor.

4. The method as in claim 1, wherein the first and second product dispensers are in the same service area and dispense a same type of consumable product, and the message is transmitted to the patron via a device inside of the service area.

5. The method as in claim 4, wherein the message is transmitted via an audio/video device in the service area.

6. The method as in claim 4, further comprising detecting the presence of the patron in the service area prior to transmitting the message.

7. The method as in claim 6, wherein the presence of the patron is detected adjacent to the first or second product dispensers, the message encouraging the patron to use one of the product dispensers over the other.

8. The method as in claim 1 , wherein the message is transmitted to the patron via an audio/video devise located outside of the service area.

9. The method as in claim 8, wherein the first and second product dispensers are in different service areas, the message encouraging the patron to use the service area in which the first product dispenser is located.

10. The method as in claim 1, wherein the message is a visual configuration of the dispenser that is altered or modified based on a fullness state of the dispenser.

I I . The method as in claim 10, wherein the first and second product dispensers are electronic towel dispensers within the same service area and are configured to switch operation between (1) a hanging-towel mode wherein a portion of a towel hangs from the towel dispenser and is visible to the patron, and a subsequent towel portion is automatically dispensed and hangs from the towel dispenser upon removal of the hanging towel by the patron, and (2) a hidden towel mode wherein a towel to be dispensed is contained completely within the towel dispenser and is not dispensed until the patron is detected adjacent to the dispenser, the method comprising:

monitoring a towel fill level in both of the first and second towel dispensers while operating both of the towel dispensers in the hidden towel mode;

upon one of the first or second towel dispensers reaching a setpoint low fill level, switching the other one of the first or second towel dispensers to hanging towel mode; and

wherein the hanging towel portion of the towel dispenser operating in hanging towel mode acts as a visual message that encourages the patron to retrieve a towel from the towel dispenser operating in hanging towel mode.

12. The method as in claim 11, further comprising switching the towel dispenser operating in hanging towel mode back to hidden towel mode upon reaching the setpoint low fill level in the towel dispenser operating in hanging towel mode.

13. The method as in claim 11, further comprising switching the towel dispenser operating in hidden towel mode to hanging towel mode upon reaching the setpoint low fill level in the towel dispenser operating in hanging towel mode.

14. A system for improving product usage prior to refill of product dispensers in service areas, the service area having a plurality of product dispensers, the system specifically configured for practice of the method of any one of claims 1 through 13.