Prabhu Ramachandran, Founder & CEO of Facilio Inc, looks at how AI and IoT- led FM can help reimagine the facilities experience and disrupt the status quo.

The last radical disruption in buildings took place some 20 years ago, when automation was first introduced. But the industry has remained conservative and hardware-centric, with a slow evolution in software. Today, facilities are a mix of disparate, siloed-automation systems - apps for maintenance, traditional building management systems, environmental sensors in server rooms, systems for security and a lot more – working independently of each other. Thus driving efficiencies centrally is a challenge.

“The entire ecosystem is hungry

for agility and innovation to drive continuous efficiency and ROI.”

Additionally, the growing demand for cost and energy savings, and the focus on sustainability and operational efficiencies has made commercial real estate owners and FM’s impatient to harness the massive potential of tech- enabled transformation and to transcend from service providers into value-players. The built environment and facilities management industry is now poised for a massive digital transformation, one that will entail a reimagining of how we look at and manage buildings. The future of facilities management is an integrated one.

An intersection of technology and

operational needs Billions of dollars are invested in the management of buildings worldwide. Nevertheless, there continues to be a massive scope for improvement as legacy siloed systems, and long implementation cycles of traditional FM software vendors bog down commercial real-estate owners with inflexibility. The next frontier of facilities management lies at the intersection of innovative technology trends and FM needs of creating modern, experience-driven services.

The Internet of Things & AI: The Internet of Things has been opening up new possibilities for building integration and allowing the evolution of intelligent buildings. Facilities management, with its multitude of automation systems, devices and connectivity layers, presents the perfect use case for the application of IoT’s connectivity prowess to achieve optimal integration of the three core components of a building – people, sustainability, and machines - in real-time.

Artificial intelligence brings context into this collected data. By being able to analyze and extract insights from the goldmine of latent data in existing automation


systems, buildings can be managed better as CREs and FMs are empowered with data-led decision making.

ROI and the Opex vs Capex battle: Traditionally, facilities management in buildings has entailed high capital and operating expenditure. In fact, research indicates that nearly five to six times more money is spent on operational costs than on construction costs. Therefore, the scope to realize ROI is tremendous if continuous efficiency can become the default standard of facilities management. An AI or IoT enabled approach to FM does exactly that.

Real-time, predictive facilities: For FMs and CREs, the days of firefighting are passé. Real-time data capture, analysis and insights ensures buildings can be managed on a predictive model as opposed to the traditional reactive maintenance. This transfers control into the hands of CREs, allowing them to centrally drive the efficiency of their building portfolio.

Sustainability at its core: Sustainability today needs to be built into the core of managing facilities. This can only happen when sustainability can be embedded as part of daily operations. IoT-enabled operations and energy intelligence helps integrate asset and sustainability data in real-time, helping CREs realize multi-fold efficiency.

“The industry is now poised for a massive digital transformation, one

that will entail a reimagining of how we look at and manage buildings.”

Smart workforce: FM is heavily workforce driven. There is tremendous scope to make the workforce smarter with tech enabled FM which is a key part of being “smart”. FMs get empowered by a real time AI and IoT-led approach leading to efficient workforce management and higher productivity as facilities teams look beyond the mundane tasks of tracking down information, exchanging redundant paper notes, and digging down energy-consumption charts and spreadsheets, and start delivering value to real estate owners and end-users.

Delivering the ‘facilities experience’ Wherever we look around us, experience is key. CX or customer experience, that was until recently being touted as the key differentiator for businesses wanting to maintain an edge over competition, has now become a critical survival skill.

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