FM Technology Trends 2018
Globally the facilities management industry has experienced a continued year of technology changes. We take a look at the technology advances expected in 2018 and beyond.
In addition to the continuation of internet of things (IoT) new developments are refining the facility management (FM) sector. In the coming years, increased connectivity and automation will drive the way FM services are provided.
The Internet of Things is just at the beginning of its lifecycle, connecting data, processes and people. With the smart devices linked together on a single network, it will soon become the new normal in the workplace as buildings and work environments become smarter and adaptive to occupant needs.
A new standard, 802.11ax is set to become the solution, running at between four to 10 times the speed of Wi-Fi (up to 10 gigabits per second), offering more data channels and greater range. This will allow a greater number of devices to use the network without losing speed, even in public areas like airports or stadiums. 802.11ax also offers low power communication, targeted at IoT devicesto extend their battery life.
LiFi, or Light Fidelity is providing super-fast wireless network connectivity through LED lighting. It offers the opportunity to incorporate devices with LiFi capability into a large number of LED environments and applications in commercial, industrial and government facilities. LiFi can be incorporated into existing lighting systems, expanding network coverage, complimenting WiFi access (or in some cases making WiFi access points redundant), minimising infrastructure commitment, lowering the associated capital expense and ongoing operating costs, also reducing emissions and waste.
Also, with mobility on rise, facilities managers will soon be able to work with a increased level of mobility that means a more effective and efficient way of managing work on the move. There will be greater adoption of new mobile hardware technology, where we see the utilisation of new mobile device attachments such as thermal imaging cameras and tracking devices. Developments in battery power also continue to move quickly, enabling more reliable on the go access to all the services that an FM can use at their desk.
Location-based services (LBS)
As part of the mobile evolution, it has changed customer services beyond all recognition. For the FM that manages multiple sites, an app could be used that delivers up-to-date inventory of supplies at multiple sites. When a mobile phone enters the site boundaries, the app would pull up a list of available materials, flag supplies that are not sufficient to meet immediate needs for the users of that building and facilitate ordering.
Wearable technology will soon play a part within FM. Wearable hold full potential to improve workplace safety, security access and collaboration as also support data collection in different physical work environments. With further development, tablets or smartphones could be wrapped around an operative’s arm to provide greater freedom and manoeuvrability.
Standardised operational data
Even more integration of CMMS and other systems within a building will allow better access to information, with intelligent workflows automating processes for high efficiency. The data across all applications will get standardised, driving the market forward in areas such as Automated Guided Vehicles, increasing productivity and work place safety.
BIM Level 3
While BIM Level 2 is far from maturity and foundations are still being put in place, the industry is already looking ahead to what BIM Level 3 will bring. Understanding, evaluating and contributing to the next digital standard for the construction sector will be the key. Level 3, or ‘Open BIM’ is a fully collaborative model, allowing more complex and extensive data to be used and shared. In addition, the data could also be used in a wider sense to provide asset information for ‘Smart Cities’ or ‘Smart Grids.’
Big data gets bigger
Big data will soon become a necessary asset for companies in the FM sector, as it turns data into insight. Big data is used on a daily basis to make predictions about customers, who may not even be aware this is happening. Two big users of this are Amazon, who predict item purchase based on shopping habits, and Netflix who make suggestions of what to watch next. These principles can be applied to FM where energy consumption in a hospital or business premises is predicted and managed according to the weather or a day of the week or time of day. Individual employee daily facilities usage profiles could also be created to help model and employ your most effective workspace.
End-user map based services
Applications developed by groups that are community-led extension of self-service FM will grow to include logging issues, notifying relevant parties to enable scheduling of remedial services and will become part of a daily occurrence for the general public. Users can track the progress of reported incidents, driving a community empowerment explosion. In addition, the technology is developing where the user and the machine interacts using spoken or written natural language just like Apple (Siri) and Google (Google Now). The interaction may be a simple request or question to complex such as collecting workplace data from a large number of employees.
Virtual Reality (VR)
VR is set to expand its reach for 2018. By using VR apps to see exactly how a product will appear, teams will be able to ensure new assets fit in designated areas without needing measurements or access virtual guides to show 3D visualisations of parts, machinery or even buildings. This will save time and reduce costly errors.
A blockchain records every transaction in an exchange, which can be viewed by anyone within that network, but cannot be owned, deleted or altered. This decentralisation also adds security as there is no point of weakness for hackers or malware, and devices can be authenticated and accepted (or otherwise) by the system. The popularity of blockchain for finance can be used within FM to speed up the supply chain with authenticated suppliers and transactions, secure against fraud or double payments; and also through the use of ‘smart’ contracts, where automated actions occur if certain rules are met (such making payment if goods have been dispatched), and the need for middle men is eliminated.
Source: Service Works Group (SWG)