The world is evolving faster than ever, with new
technologies rapidly changing the way humans interact with one another and the
world around them. We’re also living in a time in which environmental issues
are at the forefront of our minds, thanks to the very real threats of climate
change, pollution and the depletion of our finite natural resources.
If you compare the role of facilities manager
working just 10 years ago to the role of one working today, it is clear that the
influences of technology and sustainability are having a powerful impact on the
sector. But could the former be a tool for tackling the latter? Here, we
outline six of the biggest innovations in facilities management technology, and
discuss how they’re paving the way to a more sustainable future.
1. BIM Technology
Information Modelling (BIM) is a tool that enables architects to create a
complete digital model of the building before building it. BIM visualises every
aspect of a building, and so enables businesses to make better-informed
decisions that account for its complete lifecycle.
addition to saving money, BIM supports the creation of more sustainable,
environmentally friendly buildings. For example, businesses can set
environmental targets for things such as embodied carbon, water usage and waste
management, and can also use the model to identify the construction materials
with the lowest environmental impact.
importantly, BIM supports the sustainable management of buildings by giving
businesses the opportunity to analyse dynamic data from the building and to identify
inefficiencies and malfunctions at the earliest possible stage.
2. ‘Smart’ Buildings
facilities can be inefficient spaces. Someone in an office gets too hot because
the pre-programmed heating has come on, so they open a window. Another person in
a warehouse turns on a light in the storeroom, and it stays on all day. All
little actions in themselves – but it can add up to a big waste company-wide.
a smart building, all of the different systems – heating, lighting,
ventilation, security and sanitation – are integrated and controllable from one
centralised location. Smart sensors identify inefficiencies – a leaky tap here,
a light left on there – and work to rectify them. For a sustainable business, such
innovations represent a huge opportunity to boost energy, water and waste
3. The Internet of Things
machines gain the capacity to communicate with each other using wireless
technology, the face of facilities management is likely to change dramatically.
As well as improving productivity and efficiency, it is predicted that machine-to-machine
(M2M) technology will have a positive impact on sustainability.
example, when applied to energy, smart meters could be combined with
demand-response applications to reduce CO2 emissions. Or, when applied to
transportation, real-time M2M between vehicles could facilitate more
fuel-efficient route optimisation. The possibilities to create a more
sustainable business are endless.
4. Automated Systems
use of automated systems and smart robots has already made significant inroads
in facilities management in the healthcare sector, where robots are being increasingly
used to provide portering, waste management and catering services. However, over the
upcoming years, we can expect automated systems to become mainstream across a
wide variety of sectors; think drones carrying out property surveys, or robotic
course, replacing human labour with robots reduces costs and frees up staff
availability and facilities space. However, the utilisation of robotic
technology in facilities management can also bring about sustainability
benefits in terms of reduced energy costs and more efficient management.
5. Increased Integration
the next few years, expect to see a growing trend in computer-aided facilities
management (CAFM) software that can be integrated with the systems of other
departments – from HR tools to space planning applications.
a sustainability perspective, the integration of CAFM with environmental
management systems presents a particularly exciting prospect, as this increases
cross-departmental collaboration to ensure that all employees and contractors
are on the same page, and using the same data, to create a sustainable business.
explosion of Smartphone technology, cloud computing and wearable technology is
contributing to a fundamental shift in the ways that facilities managers
conduct their business, leading to a rise in ‘supermobility’ – being able to carry
out tasks, irrespective of where you are in the world.
managers are benefiting both from mainstream technological innovations – such
as improved video conferencing and multimedia instant messaging apps – as well
as a rise in facilities management mobile apps, which are opening up new worlds
of opportunity. For instance, at OCS we use the Logincident app, which gives our
employees unprecedented power to instantly and easily record unsafe conditions
and near-miss incidents using their Smartphone, which means that preventative
action can be taken to reduce the risk of accidents at the earliest possible
a result of such developments, facilities managers are increasingly able to
manage their operations remotely, enabling them to respond more quickly, and with
more data, without even having to visit the site – a truly energy-efficient
you can see, the facilities management landscape is changing fast. The
challenges that lie ahead in terms of creating more sustainable facilities is a
significant one; however, with the right facilities management technology,
there’s no reason businesses cannot rise to the challenge.
find out how we can use the latest technologies to manage your facility more
efficiently, visit our facilities management page or get in touch on
0844 846 7608.