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Asset & Facilities Management Predictions for 2014

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For many within the services sectors now is the time to look ahead and explore how new advancements in FM can create efficiencies and competitive advantage, so let’s take a look at some emerging technologies that will change the way we deliver service to our customers.

Hosted Building Automation
Building automation may not be new however its delivery method via a hosted service is certainly an innovative and cost effective way to utilise this emerging technology. Industry research predicts the two main forms of cloud based building automation will be hosted building management software (BMS) and active management analytics. FM companies that offer these services as a combined package via the cloud will be well positioned for 2014.

Energy Efficiency Focus
Next year should also see energy savings becoming a standard key performance indicator for facility management service companies. Contract payments based on energy consumption and energy performance are growing in importance and will no doubt become a negotiation point. Analysing real time data on the building itself can highlight energy waste and ensure efforts are made towards a more efficient performance.

Motion detection
Motion sensors have been sold in the domestic market for some time now however we’re seeing the co-existence of motion detection devices and video surveillance being used in conjunction with HVAC systems. There’s huge benefit for FM managers where this technology aids with the identification of maintenance issues such as the detection of water leaks.

Biometric systems (aka Facial Recognition Systems)
They’re already being used for immigration, border control, law enforcement and now the commercial sector is looking at introducing Biometric technology for use in banks. Swipe cards and pin pad systems will soon be redundant as improvements in Biometrics are leading to a more precise and environmentally tolerant technology. Expect to see more use of Biometric systems over the next five years as universal acceptance of it grows.

HTML5 Web Apps
HTML5 is fast becoming the mainstream for deploying enterprise software on mobile devices. Unlike Native apps that are generally installed on a smartphone operating system, web apps are accessed via a browser and provide native-like functionality. Given that they’re arguably cheaper to develop, and they provide almost the same level of interoperability with smartphone features as a native app there’s little doubt that the prevalence of web apps used in business will grow significantly next year.

BYOD (bring your own device) Mobility
BYOD is a logical approach given the advent of Asset Management web apps, in essence it allows for a doubling or even tripling of the mobile workforce. Enterprise policies on employee-owned hardware usage need to be thoroughly reviewed and extended, so we are seeing the introduction of policies and clear objectives that cover user-owned hardware that access company networks.  The most difficult aspects to this policy is the balance of flexibility with confidentiality and privacy requirements.

Total FM (TFM) contracts
Growth in FM will be driven by the proliferation of ‘Total FM’ style contracts, meaning that opportunities in FM outsourcing will also include the needs of niche sectors, such as energy management and workplace planning. Margin pressures and internal process rationalization has led to companies re-evaluating their maintenance contracts in order to gain the most value and reduce their risks. Companies successful in FM over the next few years will be those that offer ‘end-to-end’ contracts covering multiple services, continuing the growing trend of BPO (business process outsourcing) arrangements.   

The importance of Building Information Modelling (BIM) for HVAC
BIM applications such as Green Building XML and Autodesk’s Revit integrate with CAD systems and help architects, construction engineers and more recently HVAC companies maintain greener and more sustainable buildings. This use of 3D, 4D and 5D modelling technology used at sites like The Sydney Opera House and recently on a public housing project operated by the Hong Kong Housing Authority is growing rapidly within the HVAC sector as well. BIM helps HVAC engineers in design without needing to engage architects to about duct sizes, electrical co-ordination or airflow specifications. It delivers significant energy savings by enabling engineers to focus on optimising an entire building or system instead of its individual components, a compelling reason for the use of BIM in the FM world.

FM workforce Integration
Last year at the European Facility Management Conference Jeff Gravenhorst, Group CEO of ISS stated that the strong trend toward outsourcing driven by risk mitigation meant that the future leaders in the FM arena would need to be workforce integrators. Facilities Managers are therefore becoming strategic partners, they need to be information providers with an emphasis on corporate and social responsibility. Continuous performance monitoring and training of staff in sustainability practices and new technologies will be the key focus for FM integrators looking to remain competitive in 2014.

The focus on ‘Strategic FM’
Companies are now taking a more strategic approach to FM resources and contracts. The year ahead should see an increasing trend in customers exploring how FM can help their business achieve competitive advantage. Aligning FM services more with operational performance should result in tangible cost savings, enhance productivity and workforce efficiencies. The focus is rapidly shifting away from merely a service oriented discussion to that of a value driven discussion, meaning FM high achievers are thinking more strategically when responding to new opportunities by articulating a clear and measurable value proposition.

How do you see Facilities Management changing in 2014?  Comment below.

Bruce Minty

Bruce Minty

Bruce Minty is the Supply Chain and Manufacturing Product Manager for ERP vendor Pronto Software.

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