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Facilities Managers: Game-Changing Technologies x3

Facilities Managers: Game-Changing Technologies x3

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As digital transformation redefines business workflows and processes, many manual or laborious operations are quickly disappearing. The demand for commercial properties with advanced technology continues to increase competition across the in-person workplace market. These properties, typically known as smart buildings, use advanced technologies to manage assets, resources, and services to benefit the property owner, building employees, and customers.

Why Adopt Advanced Technologies in Facilities Management?

Real-time data collection and monitoring systems such as AI (Artificial Intelligence), RPA (Robotic Process Automation), and AR (Augmented Reality) are here to stay. By integrating these technologies with existing building infrastructure systems, facilities managers can:

  • Improve energy efficiency
  • Lower maintenance costs
  • Reduce operating expenses
  • Improve Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)
  • Increase occupant comfort
  • Boost employee productivity

As a result, many property owners and their facilities management teams are updating existing buildings to meet the connectivity and bandwidth requirements of these advanced technologies.

Artificial Intelligence Integration in Building Controls

Most commercial AI systems aim to teach an algorithm how to perform a specific task or process. The most successful commercial examples include Google, Netflix, YouTube, Alexa, Siri, and most recently ChatGPT and AI art.

Architects and engineers have been using AI for BIM (Building Information Modeling) platforms to create a virtual 3-D model of the project. The model allows the team to detect and correct design, construction, or operating concerns before construction begins.

AI can detect anomalies among vast data pools for facilities managers, making it an ideal enhancement for security and surveillance systems. By identifying shifts in data patterns, AI can detect unusual behaviors (calling out risks) or changing behaviors within groups (recognizing the need for process changes).

AI systems can also automate HVAC, plumbing, and electrical systems to reduce energy usage and operational costs. Sensors attached to the infrastructure system components collect and send data points to AI for analysis and then optimize the appropriate building controls for improved efficiency.

AI can send alerts to the responsible parties, notify facilities managers of unusual events, and even advise decision-makers of potential responses that may be required to address the issue. AI can also initiate video analytics to determine how data gets stored (for easier retrieval) or if other unusual traffic flows (like tailgating) have occurred.

Combined with machine learning, AI can pinpoint and identify potential improvements for building operations that might go unnoticed.

How Is Robotic Process Automation Used In Facilities Management?

RPA (Robotic Process Automation) is the practice of using technology governed by structured inputs and business logic to automate specific business or clerical procedures, including:

  • Workforce scheduling
  • Accepting payments
  • Monitoring energy use
  • Inventory control
  • Managing security access

Facilities management teams can leverage RPA to handle transactional tasks for high-rise structures and business complexes with high occupancy rates. Smaller companies with fewer staff can prioritize tenant service while incorporating a self-serve format for repetitive administrative tasks. This improved efficiency helps large and small companies lower operational costs and reevaluate current processes for additional savings.

How Does Augmented Reality Save Time for Facilities Teams?

AR applications connect the physical world and virtual content, allowing team members, technicians, and third-party providers to “see” and diagnose the building’s infrastructure systems and components. The AR technology provides digital overlays onto real-life environments and objects, giving greater access to needed information.

AR technologies can streamline maintenance and repair procedures and simplify diagnostics and troubleshooting processes to cut labor costs and improve asset maintenance and resource management.

Gridd® Mobile is accessible through any smartphone or tablet and displays a map of where to access the power and data cabling hidden within the raised access floor. Gridd Mobile also stores key project details like as-built drawings, detailed cut sheets, and more to record system changes or upgrades for successive workers, contractors, and vendors reducing knowledge loss.

Final Thoughts on Advanced Technologies for Facilities Management

Leveraging these three technologies can reduce maintenance and repair costs for facilities managers. Incorporating building automation can help companies lower labor costs while improving security and reducing energy costs. However, these technologies require massive amounts of data to be collected, shared, and transferred efficiently to work effectively.

When power and data cabling in the built environment is located within walls or above the ceilings, access is cumbersome and data upgrades or changes can be expensive and time-consuming. These technologies are utilized more easily with the use of modular access flooring.

When it’s time for a data upgrade, facilities team members remove a small section of the finish floor to access the affected cabling and components quickly. Without traditional construction processes’ selective demo, dust, or noise, most upgrades take days instead of weeks or months to complete.

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