While facilities management companies are already deploying intelligent building management systems (IBMS), environment-friendly practices and more efficient controls and processes, more is coming up with advanced automation in terms of Internet of Things (IoT), robotics, artificial intelligence and augmented reality. However, there is more to it. Let’s discuss:
Wellness taking the centrestage
Facilities provided in an office building can directly impact the health and well-being of users. As much as the external factors like pollution and air quality matter, the internal environment comprising of lighting and ventilation as well as thermal factors such as temperature and air are the ones that are core to facility management operations.
Considering the fact that employees spend most of their time in the office, the physical environment of the office maintained by the facilities management function plays a significant role. Today, facility managers are constantly being urged to provide the best and holistic experience to the end-users so that they can perform better.
The previous ‘one-size fits all’ approach is no longer valid, contend many. Instead, taking the individual’s needs into consideration is of paramount importance. On similar lines, a peaceful and quiet environment can help employees concentrate better compared to a noisy, distracting environment that increases stress.
Thus, facilities management companies are seen to be not just running the building and maintaining it, but they are equally responsible for the well-being of its occupants. Facility management companies are now increasingly accountable for making office spaces desirable workspaces.
Recently research studies have pointed out that concentration and feelings of alienation can creep in if employees are made to sit in open plan offices. Rather than linear desking, future employees will be a part of working spaces that are more akin to physical and psychological needs of the individual employee.
Furthering the scope of facilities management
With the ever-changing levels of client expectations, robotics and wearable technology coupled with the Internet of Things (IoT) will become part of facilities management industry. The large amount of data gathered will then be used to further enhance the immediate environment for the users that the facilities management offers.
For instance, there may be robotic gatekeepers for security purposes to check and track employees wearing smart passes around the premises.
Soon beacons will add another chapter to the story of smart-tech in facilities management. Presently the technology is mainly used to push advertising notifications into users’ mobile devices available under a certain radius, through Wi-Fi networks. However, there is a latent potential to use this technology for indoor navigation, smarter meeting rooms, maintenance and security.
Beacons are a great tool to manage large crowds within places like shopping malls, hotels, auditoriums and stadiums. Stadiums in the United States, for instance, have already started using beacons to direct visitors towards their respective seats.
Given the scope of technology and what it can do, these are some of the most challenging yet interesting times for facilities management if work environments are tweaked to suit the goals.
(By Aval Sethi, CEO, Protaiga)