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Importance of Technology in Facility Management

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Abstract

Facility management (FM) is a profession that encompasses multiple disciplines to ensure functionality, comfort, safety and efficiency of the built environment by integrating people, place, process and technology. Today the FM Focus is on the trends of changing Business Strategy & Environment, emphasis on the frame work to create and adopt Business & support model to align to the current market trends in Corporate Facility Management is considered as business enabler, The FM strategy is to deliver best value, introduce innovation, support the core business drivers and maximize commercial use of the built environment. Figure 1 The use of innovative digital technologies and tools are playing key role in significantly improving the Facility Management function and operations. The aim of this article is to present the importance of digitization in the Facility Management. The article investigates the potential of technology to support the facility management and maintenance. COVID 19 has made the entire Facility Manager realized one thing, that how important is to adapt technology to ensure the BAU and employees wellness in effective manner.
International Journal of Advance Research, Ideas and Innovations in Technology
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ISSN: 2454-132X
Impact Factor: 6.078
(Volume 7, Issue 3 - V7I3-1486)
Available online at: https://www.ijariit.com
Importance of Technology in Facility Management
Dr. Abhijit Sarkar
abhijit_sarkar@rediffmail.com
Sharekhan By BNP Paribas, Mumbai, Maharashtra
ABSTRACT
Facility management (FM) is a profession that encompasses multiple disciplines to ensure functionality, comfort, safety and
efficiency of the built environment by integrating people, place, process and technology. Today the FM Focus is on the trends
of changing Business Strategy & Environment, emphasis on the frame work to create and adopt Business & support model to
align to the current market trends in Corporate Real Estate, Facility management, Work Place solution, Communication,
Environmental, Renewable, Sustainability, Health, Safety, Technology, Innovation, Global trends, Industry bench marking
practices.
Keywords⸻ Facility Management, Technology, IoT, Robotics, Customer Experience. Future Trend, Business Continuity
Facility Management is considered as business enabler, The FM strategy is to deliver best value, introduce innovation, support the
core business drivers and maximize commercial use of the built environment.
Figure 1
The use of innovative digital technologies and tools are playing key role in significantly improving the Facility Management
function and operations. The aim of this article is to present the importance of digitization in the Facility Management. The article
investigates the potential of technology to support the facility management and maintenance. COVID 19 has made the entire
Facility Manager realized one thing, that how important is to adapt technology to ensure the BAU and employees wellness in
effective manner.
1. BACKGROUND
During COVID the organizations which already had the technology as a part of their Facility Management operations were able to
ensure smooth BAU and also those buildings which are already tech enabled have been most productive during the period of
COVID 19. COVID-19 has caused widespread disruption. Many are working from home to help prevent the spread of infection.
Many employees have been catapulted into the use of video conferencing and cloud-enabled file-sharing to replace physical
meetings and traditional ways of working. These have often proved efficient and productive, enabling these technologies to
become embedded in workplace processes so that some employees are now empowered to work remotely for the longer term and
collaboration is not impacted.
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While safe access to premises was paramount and various contact-tracing technologies, such as Bluetooth-enabled wristbands and
Smartphone apps, like Arogya Setu are already being used by the workforce which enables the facility management team in
screening the employees before they enter. Digitization inevitably leads to automation with integrating all the elements of the
workplace and automating essential tasks and optimizing costs.
The internet of things (IoT), robotic process automation (RPA), artificial intelligence (AI), smart building/smart workplace
sensors and monitoring and digitization are dramatically changing where and how people work. These technological advances are
also changing the way we develop, plan, and manage facilities.
Sensors can now detect everything from burned-out light bulbs to air turnover in a room. Employees can receive real-time
information about when they need to leave the office to arrive on time for an appointment, where to park and how to report
building issues through online systems that can instantly trigger a repair. Cloud-based management systems can collate building
data across multiple facilities and equipment to flag and prioritize system responses and repairs. Ultimately, these new
technologies can minimize the mundane tasks while focusing on strategic role within the organization.
Operations can be further optimized during performance data to obtain information such as when and how many employees are in
the office. This allows to capture and analyses data that was previously tracked manually and can help in reducing cost and
generate new revenue streams.
Figure 2
Facility Management Team, who has long looked to automate building maintenance activities, all the IoT hype may sound
inflated: Is this just a new buzzword for old practices? But it may not be. Yes, companies have been installing sensors and
automating activities for some time, primarily aiming to realize the benefits of low-hanging fruit such as cost savings and
operational efficiency through improved energy management and reduced personnel costs. Figure below depicts approaches to
developing a connected BMS, each progressively more connected and integrated than its predecessor.
Figure 3
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Most Building Owners install BMS on a piecemeal basis to automate individual tasks such as elevator or lighting control;5 not
surprisingly, owners then must collect and aggregate data from various places (see figure above). Partially integrated BMS:
Realizing the limitations of individual BMS, more mature CRE companies have begun using partially integrated BMS, combining
automation of a few activities with a common focus, such as energy management systems. Compared with individual BMS, these
systems are more integrated, require less manual intervention, and enable faster decision making. More importantly, building
owners use these systems to enhance tenant and end-client experience through sustainability initiatives (including to support
LEED and other green building certification standards), open Wi-Fi access, and so forth. Fully integrated, IoT-enabled BMS: In
sharp contrast, a CRE company’s IoT-enabled system can be fully integrated BMS, allowing higher-order cost, productivity, and
revenue benefits with a deep customer and data focus. It can leverage one infrastructure to operate all building management
solutions and require minimal to no manual involvement. Internet protocol or IP-enabled devices can facilitate intelligent decision
making by automating point decisions and enhancing strategic insights; this allows data to automatically flow all the way around
the Information Value Loop without manual interaction, enabling quick action on the data and creating new value for CRE
companies. The Internet of Things in the Facility Management industry. The way in which IoT-generated information creates
value represents a fundamental shift for Building Management in creating value through information generated by connected
systems, IoT applications can not only improve efficiency but provide new opportunities for differentiation and even new revenue.
Building Management can do this by implementing full sustainability programs with supportive analytics, a deeper focus on
tenant and end client relationships and experiences (footpath technologies that assess shoppers’ movement patterns in a mall
through signals from their cellphones), or even enhanced revenue generating services to tenants (infrastructure, analytics, and so
forth). With so many options, determining which is right for a particular Building Owners requires understanding exactly how IoT
technology can create value for them and their tenants as well as the latter’s end users.
We have seen in recent times Smart cites technology have been enabling the Facility Managers to efficiently manage their
operations and even during the COVID period many of these smart cities have played very critical role.
Smart city technology can help cities operate more efficiently while improving services to citizens and businesses, among many
other benefits. While the definition of a smart city is still evolving, a few things have become clear. Smart cities are expected to
leverage information and communication technologies to enhance service levels, citizen well-being, sustainability, and economic
development. Smart city technology can make cities more effective and efficient, which is necessary, given the projected rapid
growth in urban populations over the next few decades.
Advancements in “big data” and connected devices will allow these cities to access the information that’s never been available
before. A well-designed data analytics strategy is expected to give city officials the ability to access and analyze a massive amount
of information and easily glean meaningful, actionable insights. When a city can monitor desired metrics in real-time, service
levels will definitely rise.
Smart cities are expected to transform the work environment by streamlining manual processes and giving employees greater
opportunities to reach their full potential while also providing citizens with improved services.
The experience of Indian cities in responding to COVID-19 has clearly demonstrated that technology and data-driven decision
making are critical for ensuring effective citizen outreach and service delivery. They can serve as models for helping other
governments around the world realize the benefits of smart cities in a post-pandemic world.
As seen in many countries across the globe, smart cities in India too have been playing a major role and leading the way in the
country’s battle against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Smart cities like Agra, Chandigarh, Vadodara, Bengaluru and Kakinada have been able to effectively tap technologies like
IoT/sensors, tele-healthcare, data and analytics, and contribute significantly to India’s fight against COVID-19.
2. OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
The COVID-19 pandemic has put the spotlight on the facility management (FM) services, with a focus on cleaning, disinfecting
and sanitization. Facility management team are implementing the learning from other Asian and European countries, ahead of the
curve in handling COVID situation by introducing best practices, technology and innovative solutions at competitive prices to
meet the current and future workplace challenges. The FM industry is a perfect example of identifying bottle necks and creating
solutions in response to this crisis. Recently, there has been considerable speculation about the future of the facilities management
industry. With scores of commercial real estate enterprises active across global markets, the need to manage and maintain
buildings has never been a more pressing concern.
A value driven FM operation requires a change in approach that includes the convergence of the right tools and technology that
can empower facilities in achieving optimal performance. The use of innovative digital technologies and tools are playing key role
in significantly improving the Facility Management function and operations. The objective of the research is to devise identifying
the role and benefit of technology models which if adapted can add significant value to the Facility Management Professionals &
Industry including the building owner.
The aim of this article is to present the importance of digitization in the Facility Management. The article investigates the potential
of technology to support the facility management and maintenance. COVID 19 has made all the Facility Manager realized one
thing that how important is to adapt technology to ensure the BAU and employees wellness in effective manner.
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3. RELATED LITERATURE REVIEW
Top trends in facilities management
a) How society, demographics and technology are changing the world of FM by CBRE
b) Six emerging trends in Facility Management by Mc Kinsey :15th Nov 2019.
c) Five facility management trends set to define 2020 by FM media on 14th January 2020.
d) ISS 2020 Vision Scenarios for the future of the Global Facility Management Industry
e) Potential Effects of Technological Innovations In Facilities Management Practice by U.J. Adama and K.A. Michell
f) News article India’s smart cities playing big role in technology led battle against COVID-19 published by Geospatial world.
4. HYPOTHESES
The hypothesis that this research addresses is as to substantiate that the adaption of appropriate technology platform by the
Facility Management professionals or the Building Management, based on the belief-desire-intention formalism, supported with
semantic knowledge bases that are synchronized in near real time to the environment, delivers several benefits in the realization of
an intelligent technology framework. Specifically, that framework can usefully support some fundamental knowledge
requirements in the discipline of facility management.
4.1 Case Study: Case study The Royal BAM Group
The Royal BAM Group comprises 25 companies operating around the world within the built environment, with employees
totalling 28,000. By 2020, BAM will be a ‘10+ business’ a company that achieves more than 10% Return on Capital Employed
(ROCE), that operates in the European construction sector’s Top 10, with a turnover of more than €10bn. The ‘10+ status’
corresponds to the BAM mission to ‘create value for customers, shareholders, employees, and building partners by bringing
together people, knowledge, and resources at every stage of the construction process in order to produce a sustainable built
environment’, and is BAM’s response to the increasing demand for multidisciplinary work during the whole ‘lifecycle’ of
building projects. BAM Construct in the UK delivers a variety of services, from constructing new facilities through to running and
managing buildings. This is achieved via its portfolio of companies: • BAM Construction BAM Properties • BAM Design
BAM FM BAM Services Engineering BAM Plant In addition to BAM Construct UK Ltd, there are two further companies
operating in the UK BAM Nuttall Ltd, which offers a full range of civil engineering activities, and BAM PPP Ltd, the
investment arm of Royal BAM Group, which operates in the specialist field of Public Private Partnerships (PPP) to develop and
deliver public sector projects that require private sector finance and investment. BIM is already a standard element of BAM’s
design offering and is fast becoming an intrinsic part of its construction tender and project implementation processes, significantly
streamlining the actual build. One of the main drivers for this is to improve the sustainability rating of a building, which is heavily
influenced by its design. BAM realized it had the opportunity to influence its clients in creating greener building solutions on
Design and Build or PFI projects. Planning and visualizing its projects virtually has helped BAM Construct create design
alternatives, optimize solutions, undertake clash detection and carry out ‘what if’ analyses, guiding it to a more cost effective way
of constructing buildings.
BAM FM provides traditional FM services, including cleaning, catering, security and building maintenance, and some less
traditional functions, such as fielding teams of leisure attendants and lifeguards. It also advises on facility-related legislative
issues, evaluation and benchmarking. Challenges of BIM (Building Information Modelling (BIM) in FM Because of the
multidisciplinary nature of BAM.
4.2 What is BIM?
Buildings are getting smarter and so are the technologies used to govern them. One of the most prevalent pieces of technology
businesses can deploy today is Building Information Modeling (BIM). What is BIM in facilities management? It’s the next step in
digitization of facilities, to glean quantifiable information from physical environments. Everyone from architects and contractors,
to facilities managers and maintenance technicians use BIM. Today, BIM is a cornerstone for smart buildings, office IoT build
outs, and all-around better facilities management.
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BIM is a process-driven technology used to map and quantify the physical aspects of a building. BIM is part of everything from
building design, to construction of a structure, to facilities maintenance. The core objective is simple: quantify as much of a
building as possible and use that data to inform better decision-making about how to manage facilities. The simplest introduction
to BIM for facilities managers is through digital twins. A digital twin is a 3D digital replication of a physical building and the
baseline model for a BIM record. A digital twin allows a facilities manager to identify different elements of a building, isolate
them for their information, and understand the needs of both that specific element and its relationship to peripheral systems.
There’s virtually no limit to what BIM can tell us about a building. As machine learning folds into BIM software, computers are
able to tell us more about our buildings than we could ever hope to learn looking at schematics and blueprints!
How does BIM benefit facility managers?
The results of BIM for facility managers are undeniable. Researchers have spent decades developing BIM to aid building
managers as they seek to reduce costs, improve building ROI, streamline operations, improve employee engagement, and prevent
problems from arising. Here are some of the ways, specifically, that BIM benefits facilities managers on a day-to-day basis.
Generates cost savings in facilities upkeep, maintenance, and improvements
Improves project efficiency and expedites delivery time for results
Reduces safety risks and clashes, which lowers passive change orders
Offers greater predictability for facilities maintenance and upkeep
Improves the visibility and oversight of facilities managers in everyday upkeep
Provides a system of record and visibility for vital systems within the building
Integrates with Facility Management Software’s & systems to automate processes
BIM goes beyond facilities management, too. The information and modeling provided by BIM help facilities managers
communicate needs and expectations with contractors and craftspeople. BIM facilitates total management of a building across
diverse teams. Anyone can glean robust information from the powerful data of a digitized building and its systems to provide
better, more efficient, targeted results.
BIM matters in the future of smart workplaces. As buildings become smarter, they’ll continue to produce information that’s
relevant to BIM. Every IoT sensor provides contextual data points that factor into the ecosystem of a building. Someday soon,
BIM will be able to replicate a real-time dynamic picture of a building, from the infrastructure down to the people within it. And,
with each new data stream aggregated into the greater BIM schema, facilities managers will have that much more information to
work with as they strive to create the best possible management approach.
Case Study Continues: Construct’s business, which encompasses design, construction and property development, facilities
management and facilities engineering, there is a great deal of synergy within the Group; and while the design and construction
teams had already utilized BIM for some time, it became increasingly apparent that the FM teams needed to apply it across a
building’s lifecycle. In fact, there was a clear deadline for BIM to become integrated into BAM FM. The firm operates a number
of public sector buildings within its PFI contract portfolio, and so with an eye on the 2016 GSL deadline [see box on page 13] that
has been set for companies tendering for Government construction work, a key challenge for the FM team was to adopt level 2
BIM throughout all its lifecycle management projects. Explains Kath Fontana, Managing Director of BAM FM: “Our design and
construction teams had been using BIM for many, many, years, and over the last few years it’s become much more possible –
because of Cloud computing and the like to use it across a building’s lifecycle. “So, while we already had a strategic approach to
BIM as a business, it became an obvious progression to develop it for facilities management.” One major challenge is in
integrating BIM with existing facilities management software packages already used routinely in FM, such as Computer Aided
Facilities Management (CAFM). In February 2013 BAM announced that it had completed the software and data systems to prove
that BIM data could be automatically transferred into FM software (CAFM). As Fontana explains: “We worked hard to develop
Building Information Modelling for FM to push the boundaries of BIM innovation beyond the design and construction phases and
into the operations stage, generating benefits across a building’s lifecycle and meeting the requirements for Government Soft
Landings (GSL) and PAS 1192-2:2013. “So, while there has been a push in terms of our business and our own strategy and how
we’re trying to develop our own business, there was also a pull from the client side and specifically Central Government in terms
of what they’re trying to achieve. “So, our reason for embracing BIM is down to a blend of the two drivers which is in all
likelihood the case for many working in FM.” For building operators and end-users, BIM improves the performance of their assets
over the long term, and gives certainty that buildings will perform as expected from day one. Allowing assets to be managed and
maintained more efficiently and proactively has obvious advantages, not least providing accurate and timely information to
engineers and maintenance staff ‘in the field’, on handheld electronic devices, reducing the need for paper and unwieldy,
unconnected systems. The benefits of BIM for the whole life of a building are two-fold both from the perspective of the end-
user and for facilities management. For the end-user:
Sustainability buildings are fit for purpose from the outset as clients can see exactly how their buildings will perform at an
operational level, leading to improved performance in areas such as energy, carbon, cost savings and user experience.
Proactive facilities management and maintenance FM staff have operations data at their fingertips on a handheld device,
allowing staff to respond to incidents in a timely manner and undertake proactive maintenance to prevent issues in the future,
saving time and money.
Improvements in the planning of changes and maintenance, plus responses to reactive tasks, achieving a ‘Faster First Fix’ and
improving building and service performance. For Facilities Management:
Certainty BIM for FM provides a best practice approach that seamlessly links design, construction and FM data into the BIM
model, ensuring that buildings perform as predicted during the operations phase.
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Time saving and efficiencies
Easier handover gone are 2D drawings and paper O&M manuals which can be hard to locate and interpret; instead BIM for
FM offers 3D walkthroughs and visuals that contain the relevant facilities data, making it easier for operations teams to
understand their building and how it works.
Says Fontana: “I think I would probably compare using BIM instead of alternatives, such as 2D drawing or O&M manuals, as
equivalent to making the transition from a typing pool to email. It’s that kind of evolution. “What BIM does is to give us an
opportunity to take a more strategic approach to our buildings. This is because digital data is much easier to manipulate and use.
On a day-to-day basis it makes operations more efficient, and at the strategic level it makes FM more effective.” What this means
in practice, as an example, is that BIM helps reduce an engineer’s repeat visits to a building, meaning they should be able to know
before they visit what type of plant it is, the equipment associated with that plant, the manufacturer’s information, the part
numbers, and where the equipment is located all of which reduces the requirement to go and carry out an initial visit and survey
before they need to begin the work. This not only reduces the time it takes for FM to fulfil a job, but it also reduces the level of
disruption for clients. Says Fontana: “In practical terms, it means you don’t have to go to a room and take down all the ceiling tiles
to find a connection, as you don’t have to do any intrusive work unnecessarily. This means it should not only improve reactive and
planned maintenance, but importantly, it should also if you’re using the model correctly – enable you to take a strategic
approach to predict the performance of a building in the future.” BAM is also discovering that having a BIM enabled building is
beneficial when it comes to letting. This is because even before the building is finished, a client can see what it is going to look
like, and how they could set up their offices. Says Fontana: “We’re getting feedback that a building that has BIM is more
valuable. This is very anecdotal, so you couldn’t put a number on it yet, but there’s a perception that it [could become] a valuable
part of the asset transfer process. “Another important point to understand is that by using a BIM process (PAS 1992-2), the
information being exchanged should be verified before it is published. For FMs this means an end to the laborious and costly
process of surveying, capturing and recording assets, and better still should remove the risk of wrongly pricing maintenance
projects due to poor asset information.
5. METHODS
5.1 Type of Research
5.2 Data Collection Details
5.3 Data Analysis Details
Use of several methods including case studies, data sources and validation of findings with industry representatives and
conference peer-review processes, have been used to validate the research design and findings during the research process Initial
exploratory interviews, observations in industry seminars and industry reports. The starting point for this research was the interest
on digitalization raising from the real estate & facility management industry. To investigate what this interest was in particular,
the author had been participating in several industry seminars, where digitalization was on the agenda.
At the same time, several industry reports were published real estate & facility management sector where studied. The
observations from industry seminars and reports were used for designing initial exploratory interviews with real estate owners.
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These seminars and reports addressed the topicality of the digitalization research in the sector, which indicate that the research has
potential for practical relevance. The Study reveals that the author, have been core advisory member of various associations and in
touch with the fraternity and been following the trend globally, few implementations on technology front which are implemented
by the author and helped a lot to his organization. The innovations are just not confining to commercial buildings but even many
residential complexes are initiating the technology innovation.
The Study reveals that the Authors society has implemented My Gate App, which is a visitor management system. It helps in
managing a gated community security needs like entry and exit of visitors, vendors, domestic help and online delivery personnel.
It also helps in managing gated community needs like clubhouse and amenities management, complaint management, accounting
and billing and more. Its also a type of society connect, for a host of services such as accounting, facility management, security,
maintenance requests, communication and visitor management requests that enhance the living experience in societies.
The study reveals that the author have been doing research and have read various articles which substantiates how important was
the phase of COVID to prove that technology is the key enabler to overcome any crisis.
6. RESULTS
The Study reveals that technology is the key enabler. The use of smart building technology can enable more efficient facilities
management and help support a safe and healthy environment. How can we track potential exposure within the office? How can
we reduce and better manage density? How can we improve air quality in our facilities? How do we make the environment more
comfortable? How do we keep our facilities cleaner? How can we better manage our facilities? Smart maintenance for HVAC
systems Facility management and cleaning Building management, the answer to all this is only Smart Building Technology. From
data to safety management its all that can be managed by technology. How can we optimize the work place by opting flexi and
collaborative work place?
Using technology and a proven methodology for a comprehensive and proactive approach to facilities management provides
numerous advantages, such as ensuring business continuity, promoting a consistent brand and image and increasing returns on
facility investments.
7. DISCUSSION
The findings from the literature review demonstrate that there is a need to integrate technology into the role of FM managers. The
integration of technology into the facility management space is still relatively young. As it continues to play a bigger role in our
work and personal lives, you can bet that the use of technology within the facilities management space is only going to grow.
Beyond utilizing current facility management software, you can expect the eventual introduction of BIM, drones for monitoring
hard-to-access parts of the office, smart desks and chairs to better optimize worker productivity and even nanotechnology in office
equipment that will repair itself. Of course, some of these technological advancements won’t become part of your office routine
for many years, but it’s important to start integrating technology into your current workplace to lay the foundation for a successful
future. Start with small, easy changes and you’ll be ready for whatever high-tech elements emerge to revolutionize the workplace.
8. CONCLUSION
The future of facility management needs people who understand how to build algorithms and apply this to the cleaning protocols.
Or people that are able to design robotics concept for cleaning and are capable to do the robot’s maintenance. These are all jobs
with a new variety of task people can perform and are really important to develop new business models around new concepts.
Knowing this change is inevitable, the facility manager needs to start focusing on the jobs cleaning operatives will have in the
upcoming years and educate these people to help them grow towards the change. We now teach generalists, but we need
specialists; people that are able to keep up with the fast pace of change.
Institutions that understand the value of facilities and the importance of a strong capital-planning management system will be at a
competitive advantage. They will have a better understanding of current and long-term facility conditions and capital
requirements. Artificial Intelligence has allowed these solutions to be even more effective and has increased the range of
applications for technology. Machine Learning, a subset of AI, has proved particularly useful for monitoring stock levels and
identifying when spare parts need to be ordered.
There is a need to embrace new ways of doing things as the FM landscape changes. However, whilst there is considerable added
value to be gained from new technologies, it is important that FM providers select, implement and correctly manage the correct
suite of solutions for their client. This means assessing what is facility appropriate, cost appropriate and appropriate for their
staff’s level of training and knowledge. Opportunities abound for FM providers that are willing to truly commit to them. However,
an advanced solution in the hands of unsophisticated users, together with poorly managed data, can create more problems than it
solves.
As the old adage goes: Garbage In, Garbage Out. In future, technology will become increasingly important for lifecycle asset
management, driving resources more effectively and for investment decisions; that digital connectivity will deliver improved
customer service; and that more technology and analytics experts would be needed in FM to embrace developing technology and
to make the industry smarter and more productive.
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DECLARATION OF CONFLICTING INTERESTS
The author declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.
FUNDING
The author received no financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.
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