Key Focus Areas For Facilities Managers Over The Next Decade by Prabhu Ramachandran
Buildings are living and breathing assets that shape people’s lives. Most buildings last for decades and, during that time, demand as much as 5 to 6 times their construction costs in operational and maintenance overheads. Any technology-led improvements in building management, especially in commercial real estate, are bound to generate cascading positives. However, the industry still has to cover a lot of ground, to shed a walled-garden mentality with regards to its approach towards buildings maintenance. Infusion of technology can result in gains at every level, through the creation of a unified, centralized, data-led approach.Key Focus Areas For Facilities Managers Over The Next Decade by Prabhu Ramachandran, CEO and Co – Founder of Facilio where the author focuses key aspects of technology can solve some of the most critical problems faced by facility managers, property owners and tenants.
What do the customers want?
Commercial real estate (CRE) is a highly competitive arena that requires a good grasp of maintenance issues, to earn the trust and loyalty of tenants. An AC that’s colder than what’s tolerable, broken lifts or bad lighting are easy to address, but failure to do so can be a surefire trigger for customer discontent. The customer experience should therefore be prioritized by a proactive buildings maintenance team.
Though there are several international guidelines in place, such as ASHRAE and USGBC standards, CRE owners often grapple with the inflexibility of siloed legacy building management systems. In the decade to come, CREs who adopt emerging software-led and tech-enabled, proactive facilities management systems will be likely to dominate market share. Especially in instances where multiple facilities management vendors have been engaged across a portfolio, such a unified approach will be essential in converging controls and data, in order to enable uniformly excellent tenant experiences.
What can software do?
Buildings consume a whopping 40 percent of all energy the world produces. Despite several process changes and automation, power consumption has not been substantially addressed. Nothing has really stood out in legacy models, in terms of innovation that successfully embeds sustainability within everyday facilities management practices. Instead, traditional building management systems (BMS) are prone to holding massive amounts of energy data in a siloed, unstructured manner. Sadly, though all the data is theoretically available, in practical terms no useful insights are gleaned to aid effective operations and energy savings.
In this age of smart buildings, a software-led automation paradigm can help transform operational efficiencies by unlocking such hidden data, and making it visible on a single accessible platform. In effect, data can be leveraged to produce actionable intelligence. With IoT (Internet of Things)-led applications, what used to be monthly spreadsheets can now be instant alerts on a mobile platform, to help a building manager fix issues instantly, before even the tenant experiences an issue.
How to stay ahead of the curve?
Often, an absence of a routine preventive maintenance cycle increases maintenance costs multifold. Even if a company has such a routine in place, they could still go wrong because of premature wear and tear. A comprehensive predictive analysis of facilities performance, with the aid of IoT generated data, can be used to glean unprecedented insights that drive timely intervention. For facilities such as air conditioners or elevators, data analysis helps identify patterns and undertake predictive work cycles much before an actual breakdown happens.
In the coming decade, these technologies will enable CRE owners to re imagine building management, with a real-time and integrated approach that enhances routine functions. Software-led technology that leverages the already abundant data, by making it visible to a unified platform, will usher in an empowered and agile future in facilities management operations. As is the case with most path breaking technologies, early adopters will be likely to gain significant advantages over their competition.
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