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Learn to Optimise Smart FM Tools

Facilities Management

22/08/19 | Sally Wotton

Big data and complex analytics, the Internet of Things (IoT), an agile and mobile workforce, and the Cloud are just some aspects of technology that must now be considered. Implementing an FM platform that supports these technologies - among others - and enables collaborative working with a building's owner, occupants, and other business systems leads to both flexibility and agility in service delivery.

Intelligent buildings yield vast volumes of data from a plethora of systems, sensors, and data sources, but how that data is interpreted and used collaboratively is what contributes value and efficiencies. The key is to leverage the IoT ecosystem with technologies that can sense, communicate, analyse, and effect best practices.

Being aware of technology and actually implementing it are two different challenges. All too often, sensors are discussed as being a solution; however, if we don't understand what we are going to use their data for, then we have sensors for sensors' sake, and data that might well detract rather than aid us in the workplace.

We need the understand why we have installed a sensor to measure, for example, footfall, temperature, or moisture content, and the change that we intend to implement or witness as a result of the sensor output. If we understand what technology is going to do with the data provided from a sensor, and if the FM technology platform is able to automatically make decisions and orchestrate change, then we have an opportunity to improve the workplace and drive efficiencies.

For example, at a basic level, a sensor might trigger the creation of a reactive task in a CMMS or CAFM system that requires a help desk agent to then allocate the issue to a technician. The next step might be to use a mobile device to instruct a technician to attend to and investigate or rectify the issue.

However, if data from the sensor actually changes the behaviour of the CMMS or CAFM system - say by automatically changing the maintenance regime or the facilities' activities that were previously scheduled on [ad-hoc basis] - then it leads us to proactively delivering facilities services and efficiencies.

So what does this mean for facility managers and service providers preparing for smart cities and intelligent building? Service providers need to be ready for informed clients that understand the value of technology ownership and building data.

Technology platforms need to provide agile mobility applications for the workforce and customer, transparency of life cycle and performance data between stakeholders, and the ability to integrate and work collaboratively with other business systems.

Data from sensors and intelligent systems needs to be aggregated so that is can be used and interpreted effectively, and FM technology must provide business intelligence (BI) tools to aid effective interpretation and analysis of data.

Finally, FM platforms need to provide agility and flexibility to innovate as facility strategies continue to evolve.

5 minutes with Karen Moore, Account Manager - Solutions Advisor, FSI Middle East

What does your role involve?

As FSI's Account Manager I am primarily responsible for maintaining customer satisfaction and promoting continuous communication between FSI and our clients. I often act as an interface between our Technical Team and the client and assist in ensuring their needs and requirements are met. My background is in FM service provision so I understand the points of pain that our clients experience and can advise where our Concept Evolution can benefit them on a day to day basis.

What do you love most about your job?

I love interacting with the client. There is nothing more rewarding than gaining the trust and respect of someone and knowing they have faith in you to help them overcome their problems. Both I and FSI believe strongly in openness and transparency - it is the foundation of any long term relationship. I have a very direct style which I believe my customers both respond to and appreciate.

What is the most challenging aspect of your job?

As with most customer-facing roles the main challenge is in managing the expectations of the client. The key is in communication and honesty. The people I deal with are busy professionals who need results quickly. If I set the expectation level correctly and keep them constantly updated as to the progress of issues we can resolve issues before they become problems.

What has been your most memorable project and why?

I don't really deal in projects but in relationships. It's always nice to be able to help solve a problem or resolve an issue a client has been having and to then feel that relationship strengthen. Every time that happens is memorable.

Where do you see the FM industry in five years?

I have been in the FM industry in the UAE for 7 years and seen the level of client expectation and knowledge grow immensely in that time. Undoubtedly FM Companies in the region are having to raise their game to compete and are looking for differentiators to help them stand out. Technology is a massive differentiator and I believe we will see a bigger move towards using the tools this industry has at its disposal to drive improvements in service delivery and provide visibility of performance to ever more demanding clients and end users of the facilities we manage.