Newer technologies are moving forward more rapidly and are being embraced more broadly as companies of all stripes, sizes and markets recognize that any competitive advantage is fleeting and ephemeral. Facilities management is one area that possesses great potential for rethinking work flow and reimagining traditional processes. A combination of technologies that form the Internet of Things (IoT) - sensors, actuators, mobile devices – are integrating to create smart and smarter facilities.
Enterprise mobile apps, such as our own EZFORMS, are a significant element of this IoT environment in that they provide much of the “glue” that holds the whole thing together and enables the rapid sharing of data/information within and across facilities.
While there are hundreds of thousands of apps in existence, the vast majority are not designed for the enterprise. Beyond that hurdle, handheld device adoption is still low in the facilities management industry though poised to grow. This slow adoption mimics the same bell-curve experience we have seen in every technology across every industry over the past 40 years. Innovators, early adopters and then we cross the chasm to broad embrace and use.
While the decision to integrate handheld device technology into facilities management activities seems easy, the execution can be challenging and costly if the solution does not bring together the proper devices and enterprise apps.
As the connected environment continues to evolve, there are several areas where facilities management can make great leaps in productivity and efficiency and mobile apps for the enterprise will be a key component.
Smart technology can provide facility managers with critical information that can be used to provide a comfortable and safe environment. Applications can alert managers to potential equipment failures, track space use among employees and remind managers to perform routine maintenance on an asset. With mobile solutions and smart technologies, facilities managers will be able to control and maintain their buildings in ways never before imagined.
Smart buildings are changing the way facilities managers plan and execute their activities, driving greater efficiency, productivity, effectiveness and safety. Also important is the impact of the data being gathered across all the facilities for an enterprise, leading to improved strategic decision-making regarding physical plant, human resources and capital investment.
The integration of facilities and technology is driving the need for greater collaboration between the two work disciplines. Mobile devices and enterprise apps that can adapt to the needs of multiple constituencies within the organization can facilitate much improved collaboration for daily/weekly/monthly checklist processes as well as supporting the coordination and sharing around ad hoc projects.
Sustainability continues to grow in awareness and acceptance as a cornerstone of corporate behavior. Environmentally-savvy professionals are taking a long-term view of sustainability, planning projects that are time-intensive but ultimately cost-effective. Recent surveys on sustainability planning show that those professionals believe their organization will spend more time or money on sustainability in the coming year. By doing the same and thinking in the long-term, facilities managers can not only cut down on their companies’ expenses, they can also ensure they adhere to the ever-changing standards of environmental responsibility.
Smart technologies, mobile solutions and sustainability are emerging simultaneously to change the way facilities are managed and the way facility managers are going to do their job. Though challenging, this confluence of technology represents an opportunity for great leaps forward in facilities management that deliver significant value across enterprise operations.