Building Controls, Design and Construction, Energy Management and Lighting, Green Building, Maintenance and Operations, Safety, Security, Sustainability/Business Continuity

3 Top Tech Trends for Facilities Management

Driving efficiency is a competitive imperative in the modern-day market. Facilities management is, for many, a large component of a significantly larger initiative. The pursuit of creating a business environment where systems work in tandem to ensure productivity, employee comfort, and process optimization has nearly universal appeal.

However, instituting a cohesive facility optimization strategy can be difficult, especially if you don’t have visibility into which processes are failing, why, and how these inefficiencies can be patched. Modern technological advancements present leaders like you with the opportunity to gain that visibility, add automated support to existing processes, and drive efficiency across process structures.

This article will break down 3 top trends for facilities management, illustrating what key innovations leaders should invest in, why they work, and how they provide a value-add for your organization.

Internet-of-Things (IoT) Integration

Smart technology is everywhere. From tablets to smartphones, wearable smart-watches to network-connected cameras, consumers and business owners alike use this technology to facilitate every aspect of their day-to-day business. These devices often connect to one another through your network, allowing them to access the Internet of Things (IoT).

With so many devices utilizing a shared network space personalized to the user, you likely personally benefit from instant access to information in a variety of ways. Extrapolating the scope of IoT integration to include your organization can provide you with unparalleled insight, both within your organization and without.

Some possible applications of IoT integration to the business sphere include:

  • Smart Buildings: Integrating smart devices throughout your office building like smart thermostats, AI-driven smart tools, and IoT-connected cameras can provide automated support for facilities management. From automatically adjusting the temperature to avoid power loss to recording inventory levels in real time, these devices help you proactively remedy inefficiencies and detect possible pain points.
  • Digital Twins Modeling: Digital twins modeling precisely replicates physical objects or processes, and shares these models to a common data environment accessible to all stakeholders. Leaders can leverage this technology for fault detection, monitoring project status in real time, adjusting for flaws, and proactively removing risk.
  • Energy Management Systems: Energy management systems reduce revenue leakage by automating resource distribution throughout your facility. Connected to IoT devices like smart thermometers, room sensors, and facility monitoring systems such as cameras, energy management systems can provide the right amount of energy to different areas of your facility when needed. For facilities managers, these systems have the dual purpose of limiting unnecessary expenditure and advancing sustainability throughout the organization.

IoT integration has two key functions: it automates a great deal of facilities management, and it allows leaders to respond proactively to risk, instead of scrambling to address issues after they crop up.

AI-Driven Analytics

While IoT integration has a great deal of utility, leveling up this infrastructure provides an even greater boon to process efficiency. Artificial intelligence (AI) is a recently deployable technological innovation that can be leveraged within facilities management systems to better parse data and derive valuable insights. While use cases for AI vary from industry to industry, many on-market AI tools facilitate operations, eliminate inefficiencies, and boost revenue.

Let’s take a look at a few key ways facilities managers can leverage AI to advance various goals within existing process structures:

  • Operational Efficiency: When paired with IoT-powered systems, AI can take the monitoring capability and predictive power of these systems to another level. AI can be used to automate manual tasks, prioritize employee duties, model data insights, and expand IoT’s predictive threat detection capabilities.
  • Disaster Analysis: In the event that something goes catastrophically wrong, AI can quickly scan the available data and assemble a detailed explanation of what occurred. In this process, AI will highlight the most likely causes of the event, making leaders aware of possible stress fractures or pain points in their processes, and offer recommendations to prevent possible repetition.
  • Resource Management: Connected to IoT devices, AI can actively predict energy expenditure and work to cut costs. Factors such as utility data, building behavior, environmental conditions, and occupancy cost are all combined into a seamless data model, which the AI then uses to predict cost and deploy measures to limit them. While manual approval conditions can be set, this process is largely automated, allowing facilities managers like you to focus on more pressing tasks.
  • Minimizing Human Error: AI is typically much more accurate than its human counterparts, reducing the potential for accidental oversights in facilities management. With consistent monitoring and analysis capabilities constantly firing, AI keeps a watchful eye on every aspect of your facility, and constantly updates its procedures based on available data.

AI is only as good as its input, so data cleaning may be necessary to ensure the models’ accuracy. However, while a bit of setup is required to get AI tools up and running, the benefits may far outweigh the time and energy involved.

Sustainable Energy Solutions

Finally, we come to sustainability. Many of the solutions above also advance sustainability by limiting resource expenditure; take, for example, AI.

AI’s mitigation of resource expenditure across company structures furthers organizations’ conservation efforts, which lowers their carbon footprint and contributes to the fight against climate change. But sustainability-minded organizations can leverage AI further with shipping route optimization, large-accident mitigation, and sustainable urban planning.

However, facilities managers who want to double down on cutting resource costs may consider investing in renewable energy sources. Renewable energy sources like solar and wind power can be significantly cheaper than their fossil-fuel counterparts, provided you have the framework to support the switch.

Best practice for facilities management often requires change, and change can be costly in the short term. However, the benefits of investing in this practice help future-proof your organization, empowering you to remain competitive in an increasingly efficiency-driven market.

Miles Oliver is an independent writer with a background in business and a passion for tech, news, and simply helping people live happy and fulfilled lives. He has lived and traveled all over the United States and continues to expand his awareness and experiences. When he is not writing, he is most likely mountain biking or kicking back with a cup of tea.

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