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DigiFM Conference Smart FM is the smart way forward

DigiFM Conference Smart FM is the smart way forward
LtoR Pradeep Nenumal Lala, Manas Das, Dr Shakti Chauhan, Charu Thapar and Aravind Babu Ramaraju

The titans of the Facility Management fraternity came together on a single platform for a daylong DigiFM with the theme: Embracing and transforming Smart FM on the digital platform. We bring you selected excerpts from the first part of the conference:

Ralph Sunil, Group Head – Facility Management Services, GMR Group: Digital FM will replace all the primitive conservative methods with smart methods. It has many stakeholders: the last-mile staff, the person who is cleaning, the person who is servicing, the transport attendant, the courier person and others are the ones who are going to be benefited by digitalization. Digital FM makes you self-sufficient as an employee or as a service provider.

The group discussion on How FM Transformation through digitization is adding value to organization by Charu Thapar, Regional Director – Property & Asset Management-Asia Pacific, Head of Strategy & Platform, Head Emerging Markets – India, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and Philippines, JLL: Technology is a great enabler in our country. Our country, which has the youngest and tech-savvy workforce, finds it easier to implement technology than most Western countries. About 60% of our workspaces have become mobile, our phones have become our offices. Workspaces have moved on from using technology just for managing, maintaining and budgeting; it has become an overarching need for delivering experiences to the end user. It is extremely important when our clients or end users are coming to our sites that they are enabled by technology. They are able to do everything on their phone, reducing their human interaction or errors.

Firstly, data is indisputable. Second, relevant data creates very strong strategies. Data is necessary for optimisation and it helps build better relationships with your customers, it strengthens your internal teams and it quantifies the purpose of the work that you do and that is what technology brings to the table and helps us deliver.

Making a presentation on Influencing employee experience, Pradeep Nenumal Lala, Managing Director & CEO, Embassy Services Pvt. Ltd said that data really impacts different levels of people in the industry in significant ways. From a vendor perspective and an owner perspective, it affects the leadership of an organisation because it helps the leaders make some analytical decisions with the credibility of numbers backing them. From a middle management level, the engineers and the managers realise how to manage asset lifecycles better, and also bring in benchmarking across the industry and various geographies, across the country and globally. From the lowest level of the workforce to the person who is actually analysing and capturing the data, it brings in less stress. Clients can actually measure deliverables of the vendors and also do a lot of risk management and compliances more easily.

We, as an owner driven organisation use data more selectively to manage our assets, bring in more of predictive maintenance and using customised tools.

About Risk management factor, Pradeep Nenumal Lala said that risk from an asset perspective is very important because you have the right kind of data where you compare two different assets at different locations and you can identify the change in parameters or the readings that you get across your dashboards. This helps you to go from a preventive to a predictive mode. From the perspective of cost, we use certain technology of beacons in our services where we really do a time and motion study and bring in cost effectiveness by understanding how much time a janitor would need in a place; we can optimise the time and bring in more cost reduction.

Speaking on Transparency in FM, Arvind Babu Ramaraju, Director – Head Workplace Experience, Corporate Workplace Services, COGNIZANT, India, said that What we can look at is the element of identifying what advantage does data- driven decision-making have over a traditionally picked up or emotionally driven or any other perspective which drives a decision. Any decision driven by data is indisputable because of the sheer fact that it adds up for its own content. We collect data from various sensors in the way we operate our FM, and looking at the right parameter to make the right decision is very important. So, what we measure and what we consider from among those measurements while making decisions is crucial.

Transparency is the primary most advantage of being digital; there is no scope for anyone to fiddle. Being digital right at the inception stage itself creates templates and platforms for data to be readily available. So, transparency comes right at the beginning.

Manas Das, Head – Facilities & Network, Adani Capital Pvt. Ltd. & Adani Housing Finance Pvt. Ltd: If you view the FM industry, we have everything in silos. We have multiple drivers: we are handling travel, we are handling normal facility parts, we have the soft services, the hard services. If you look at travels, you can have a nice digitized experience while you don’t have a touch digital experience in the soft services. So, this disbalance always creates a hazy layer in front of our service delivery.

To create trust and transparency which can better the customer experience or satisfaction is an area where digitalization is going to work for us. IBM says that by 2020, there will be 60 billion IoTs connected and if you see the total world strength, that is about 6.5 sensors per person. Having a digitally connected ecosystem which can improve the customer experience would be where visibility and transparency could come from.

LtoR Sumeet Vijh, Sumeet Anand, Sunil Kumar Singh Chauhan and Subroto Mukherjee

Dr. Shakti Chauhan, Senior Vice President-2 & Head: Administration & Facilities, HDFC Bank: Transforming FM is definitely bringing better experiences. Through service support, we are helping, adding or extending its value and creating more value for the cost we spend. With data awareness, we know what is happening and can convince the management to support us. Risk management makes it easier to gauge the level of risk we may have and plan accordingly. Compliance lets us manage effectively without any major hassles. Requirements should be open to customisation; technology is not a single thing which has to be implemented across the board, we can use it as we need and it can justify the decisions that we take. It brings trust and recognition to the team and steps up the visibility of the organisation. It is not about following standards of some other country which has gone through the transformation. It is about setting up standards as per the work force we have.

Commercial buildings also have other needs like energy saving. But is there any incentive for the occupants to save energy in commercial buildings? Not that much, because they are not paying the bill for energy; you are. Those who build smart buildings in Europe are focussing on energy management. They are focussed on the technical building systems to keep them running and to have some kind of predictive maintenance of HVAC systems, lighting systems and also on security issues.

Presenting Smart Buildings, Building Information Modelling (BIM) & FM Services, Dr. Peter Hug, Managing Director, VDMA – German Engineering Federation & EUnited – Member of the Management Board, said, “I was just thinking about the first computer I bought thirty years ago. It was so expensive and it had 10Mb and today even one email is much bigger. We have had development which is really phenomenal. When we talk about buildings, everything is a bit slower; you don’t change the technology in your building every two years like you change your mobile phone. You change the technology in buildings in ten years or maybe in 15 years.”

Many of the software packages that are developed for FM have some kind of interfaces to the BIM modes as well as interfaces with smart building technologies. So, the technology is there but it needs to be adapted to each and every big building. What is missing is some kind of a sensitization in this field.

Technology providers come in and they use beacons, which are the favourites today. Beacons, of course, have a disadvantage; they use batteries and the batteries run empty depending on usage. This may take five to seven years, but I think it is nevertheless a good idea to use them because I am sure that in five to seven years we will have new technology coming in. The payback period is good because beacons have become so inexpensive.

Many of our top services cannot be digitized. I am quite sure that digitisation will not have huge impact on manpower deployment. In India, I am running three schools for janitors. I have a school in Bangalore, Delhi and Hyderabad and we are training people to be employed as janitors in airports, hotels and other facilities. It is so difficult to motivate and mobilise people. I go to a father in a slum and tell him I have a job opportunity for your son; he will get a good career and make a lot of money. When he finds out that it is a cleaning job, he is not interested anymore. We don’t find enough people, so we need to optimize and make things perform better. We need to reduce the need for people because we do not get these people.

IoT will bring in standardisation and new lines of communication via standardized protocols developed, such as the chip protocol that is connected to home over IP.

  • Ralph Sunil, Group Head - Facility Management Services, GMR Group
  • Sudip Datta, VP - IACS & Head SCM, BSI Group

Read more in detail in forth comming issues of Clean India Journal

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