We call cabs, order food, groceries; buy clothes, accessories and a lot more using functional applications or mobile apps.
With the internet of things being more and more a reality, technology also enables us to work in a more flexible manner. We can monitor devices remotely which allows us to be more fluid in our work orientation. Facility managers too can now carry out their work remotely and ensure improved productivity and service levels.
Technology and its use in Facility Management services is no longer a nice-to-have value addition or some aspect that is used during a business pitch for getting the business. It is now a clear differentiator in how the asset management framework is delivered.
It is not the availability of a technology platform but its capability to integrate, assimilate and provide pertinent data in real time. At the same time, the ability to derive knowledge from it is crucial. Enabling stakeholders to take timely, meaningful and impactful decisions delivers true value in managing your assets. Remote capture of operational parameters for an integrated dashboard, benchmarking operational cost of maintaining critical equipment have now become important and the first movers will always have an advantage.
There is a spurt in the number of IT companies that have trained their focus on Facility Management Services (FMS). A plethora of solutions is now available and as with many software solutions identifying your needs for asset management and aligning these to the right solution is as important as having the right accounting package.
As technology companies have understood the needs of both asset owners and operators in the FM world, a lot of workflow and process architecture has been built into the CAFM (Computer Aided Facility Management) Software. There are of course a range of solutions, whether specific software customised to specific needs or off-the-shelf packages, the importance of ensuring a detailed outcome based approach to deciding which package to choose cannot be overestimated. An office based system design will of course not work in a manufacturing environment whereas a design to capture an industrial asset base will become complex and unworkable as a management system.
The use of enterprise level asset management systems assists on the one hand with asset value maintenance and enhancement, lifetime operational costs and on the transactional level decreases unscheduled downtime and reduces maintenance costs. Data, data analysis and databased intelligent decisions will be the most critical elements that will underpin the performance of asset management programs and technology helps in the easy capture of the initial data. The data that is gathered can be used to make informed decisions, spot trends, plan and manage activities and have a store of knowledge that is the property of the organization and independent of knowledge accumulated on a personal basis creating a Decision Support System every aspect of asset management services in FM has a technological interface and requires developers, designers and occupiers to think ahead and incorporate solutions.
With the internet of things, the machines, utilities and buildings can now be interconnected and will communicate with each other to monitor and control systems. Sensors read the angle of the sun to determine the lighting brightness and temperature settings required for HVAC. Motion sensors are already in use in many buildings to control lighting patterns. Smart monitoring systems connected to the Building Management Systems automatically zoom on to any alarm triggers to facilitate early detection and resolution.
RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) technology is also being incorporated for inventory control as also for controlling entry to secure areas. Access control and compilation of attendance has already migrated to biometric devices in most modern facilities. Facial recognition software is being added to the CCTV cameras to identify visitors who require additional monitoring during their stay on the premises thereby further mitigating security risks.
Button-sized blue tooth devices fitted in guest bedroom will help capture the time lines for in-room cleaning and provide bench marks to map and optimize performance.
Thermography scans are useful for identifying high heat zones and loose electric connections. Software is available for quick analysis of the scans and help in root cause analysis.
Imagine individual machines, buildings and townships connected and integrated through remote monitoring systems where their consumption and performance is monitored in real time with each being treated as a separate cost centre. The facility managers will then be able to modify parameters of each to ensure maximum efficiency.
Greater use of technology will result in optimized building performance and functioning, automated monitoring and control through a single platform, maximum energy and operational efficiency, better decision-making ability and strategic control of facility, lower life cycle costs, increased safety, security and greater occupant comfort and most importantly Improved return on investment (ROI) over the life span of the building
Technology already has made a tremendous impact in the manner the facility management services are delivered. The future will see greater automation, real time data collection, interpretation and intervention by the machines and entities linked to smart devices. This will greatly reduce human intervention and improve functional efficiency.
This is currently a race against the time when you factor in the geo-political changes taking place across the region in terms of skilling of manpower and the cost of purchase of the same. Every client is potentially looking towards technical capability of their partner to deliver services that are supported by technological tools that either help them save cost in terms of manpower and other resources or provide them tremendous value in getting them real time analyzed and bench marked data to be in position to be able to take quick decisions that result in reduction of input while increasing the desired output.
Today, it is no more the case of investing in technology as a value add. Clients expect us to hit the ground running and help in improving their customer experience in provision of hygienically maintained, safe and cheerful work place and ensure that the air inhaled, food eaten and water consumed is healthy and safe in all aspects. The scope moves beyond provision of Facility Management Services., Integration, in the true sense, of a work experience comparable to the best in the world is the current expectation and this cannot be possible without intent, process benchmarks, process implementation, monitoring of services, quick responses to request, complaints and escalations and capturing of customer experience to result in the ‘moment of truth’ for the provider. The one aspect that can bind the above parameters effectively and provide platform for an FM company to strategize and deliver solutions is the ability to quickly integrate our technological framework to the client’s framework. The companies to survive, succeed and excel will be those who focus in providing experience, not just services; and this will be only possible if the investment of thought and resources is done towards leveraging the advantages of Technology in Facility Management Services.
No Technology, No Excellence. Know Technology and Know Excellence!
Ram Devagiri Executive Director and Head of Facilities Management Services, Knight Frank India,they need to be cost effective.