IoT leading the transformation of FM industry
Prabhu Ramachandran, CEO and Co – founder of Facilio candidly speaks to Realty Plus on the inception of Facilio and scenario of the facility management market in India. He also shares the advantages that technology and the internet have brought to the facility management industry.
- Brief on the inception of Facilio
Back in 2017, I, and my ex-Zoho colleagues Rajavel Subramanian and Yogendra Babu, felt the need to leverage technology to offer a solution to a global challenge. And it was the ubiquitous nature of buildings and how they impacted millions of people daily that attracted us all to create a solution.
At the time, digital transformation was taking root in several industries, and traditional models were being disrupted by innovative technology, like Uber for sharing transport or AirBnb as an accommodation solution. The IoT & AI trend had also just started.
Alongside this technology trend, we were observing the evolution of customer expectations, from transactional towards experience, in nearly every industry. Being from a technology background, we knew the power of tech-led and software-led efficiencies to enable superior service-led customer experiences. We identified the built environment as one such sector that was in dire need of transformation as the existing automation was dated, inflexible, siloed and focussed on maintenance, rather than experience. And that is when we set about “crafting facilities experiences”.
We studied the market intensely to identify critical pain-points, as well as kept a view towards making businesses future-proof – ready to tackle imminent disruptions, with a real-time, predictive approach.
Facilio was envisaged keeping in mind these specific pain-points, and as a response to the evolution of the industry’s current needs, and in preparation for the future. Our aim was, and continues to be, leveraging innovative technology to connect the three integral parts of a building – people, sustainability, and machines – in real-time, to help the built environment achieve continuous efficiency across portfolios.
- What is the current scenario of the facility management market?
Currently, the facilities management industry is on the threshold of siginificant disruption, and digital transformation is leading the way in helping the sector redefine itself. We are already witnessing early adopters benefiting from tech-enabled opportunities, by using these advancements as a competitive edge to enhance their facility offerings, improve the bottom line and overall tenant experience.
A changing marketplace has meant that at a micro level, Commercial Real Estate Owners are continually trying to enhance the performance of their existing and new buildings to realize economic benefits and transcend into value players. At the same time, there is greater momentum today for buildings to align with smart city & sustainability at a macro level.
But the traditional approach to facilities management has been siloed, and bogged down by heavy capital and operating expenditure, and long implementation cycles. Legacy automation systems and BMS have been hardware-centric, capital and time intensive to implement, as well as inflexible due to disparate systems functioning in isolation. But with changing customers expectations, and CX becoming core to business success, CRE’s and FM’s have been missing the agility that a unified and centrally controlled system enables.
Today this agility has become an essential need for CRE’s, to remain competitive and maintain their buildings as modern, smart, intelligent assets that are future-ready. And it is this agility and real-time predictive capability that a software-led approach enables, which is why it is poised to become the next game-changer of the buildings and FM industry.
- How is IoT and AI shaping the future of facility management?
IoT and AI in tandem are becoming the most significant enablers of the transformation of the FM industry. Research indicates that substantial costs are incurred in the operations of a building as compared to the construction costs, nearly 5-6 times more. Therefore the scope to realize ROI is tremendous if continuous operational efficiency can become the default standard of facilities management. And an AI & IoT enabled approach to FM does precisely that, helping building owners leapfrog into the next frontier of facilities management – modern, experience-driven services.
So how does IoT & AI enable that? As an industry, building management and FM includes multiple components – people, sustainability and machines – in separate silos, spread across a portolio. IoT is a powerful technology to connect all of these to capture real-time data centrally. At the same time, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) capabilities add context to this data and help extract powerful insights from the goldmine of existing performance data. This empowers data-led decision-making, and puts CRE owners in the driver’s seat to centrally control and drive the efficiency of their building portfolio. Additionally, it enables a collaborative and smarter workforce to manage facilities.
- What is Facilio’s USP?
Facilio is the world’s first AI & IoT-based real-time facilities optimization software offering unified facilities and sustainability management by leveraging existing automation data. Facilio’s powerful solution harnesses the connectivity of IoT and the intelligence of AI to enhance the facilities experience for users, increase transparency in operations and building performance, improve efficiency between teams and workforce, and drive a predictive maintenance model.
Our USP is our unique ability to balance operational efficiencies and energy management in one unified solution. We leverage technology to connect together the three integral parts of a building – people, sustainability, and machines – in real-time, to help the built environment achieve continuous efficiency across portfolios.
- Roadmap for 2019
The last decade has highlighted the potential of software-led models to disrupt an industry and provide large-scale efficiencies. The buildings automation market is also undergoing rapid digital transformation, and software-led solutions are becoming very central to this transformation.
And the numbers corroborate this fact. Verdantix, a leading global research consultancy specializing in energy, real estate, facilities and maintenance, estimates in a recent report that the worldwide market for software and related IT services in buildings is currently estimated at $8 billion, and is expected to reach $12 billion by 2022. Globally, Facilities Services spend is close to 1+ trillion dollars, with similar energy spending. At the same time, other research indicates that sustainability & IoT, and their convergence, will be the sweet spot FM’s should be aiming for to maximize their gains.
Facilio’s solution integrates all these components, and more, to deliver end-to-end building maintenance, operations, sustainability, and tenant experience, across portfolio, harnessing the power of IoT and AI.
So 2019 will be an exciting year for us. We will remain committed to our vision of helping CREs achieve continuous efficiency in real-time. We will be actively working on making our software suite more powerful and extensive, and expanding our operations across the US, Middle East, and other territories. We will also be setting up regional sales and support offices to focus on customer success and partner training while also investing in R&D for product innovation.
Smart Buildings, Smart Workforce, Smart Cities – these are the building blocks of all future economies. AI & IoT-led facilities management holds the key to help buildings leapfrog to this modern, smart, experience-driven era. And we want to be at the forefront of leading this transformation.