The year 2020 is a new year, a new decade, and rapidly evolving era. Technology is advancing faster than ever and so is the role of the facility manager. We have a few predictions on what will transform the facility management world over the course of the next 5 years and beyond.
ADVANCING: IT and Building Technology
We’re all very aware that we’re going through a major technology overhaul these days. What you might not know is that IT is quickly becoming a major partner to the facility management team. Building managers are seeing massive advances in BIM tools, IoT integration, remote control capabilities and mobile application development.
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As new buildings go up, the computerized data and models turned over to building operators are easily accessible and thorough thanks to BIM technology. As old buildings are renovated and upgraded, better systems are put in place to collect data and connect with other systems.
Accordingly, the IT department is working closely with facilities to maintain and monitor the the interconnections between building systems, computer or cloud based applications for control, building information databases, and energy management tools. The “smarter” the building, the more IT will be involved.
UP AND COMING: Voice Command Technology: i.e. Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant
We’d be missing the mark if we didn’t touch on this very specific feature of smart building technology. Voice command technology is evolving, improving, and increasingly accessible. We find ourselves shouting to inanimate objects so often, it makes us wonder if the keyboard will even exist as an input device down the road. Hard to tell at this point…
What does this mean for facility management and maintenance?
We believe that building technology will evolve and respond to voice commands – even remotely. “Siri, cut power to panel A” or “Alexa, diagnose Unit A12.” We already see smart thermostats with connected apps and integrations to voice assistants like Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant.
A groundswell of possibilities are on the horizon.
For the facility manager and building operators, it’s important to stay informed on the available technologies through your trusted trade contractors and industry associations. The facility manager role may involve the learning of new technologies as they’re implemented and evaluating opportunities for improvement and investments in upgrades.
STABILIZING: Space Planning and Sustainability
Facility managers have always been responsible for maintaining a functional, clean, safe, and healthy workplace. Buildings full of conscientious individuals have led the facility department to be more environmentally friendly in terms of cleaning products, waste and recycling policies, and indoor air quality. All components of sustainability have become normal considerations for the facility manager of today. We predict that will continue to evolve at a steady pace.
Now let’s switch gears a bit and think about the ever-changing demands of the comfort-focused millennial workforce. Think open floor plan, adaptable desk furniture, and access to healthy snacks in a cozy break room. These requests have driven facility managers to be proactive and especially flexible space planners. The volume of workers who have become remote employees has also driven change. There’s a greater need for facility managers to adjust and maintain an even better environment for those who aren’t willing or able to work remotely.
A NEW PERSPECTIVE: Field Teams and Human Experience
There’s no substitute for a human instinct, even in our technology-driven, IoT connected, AI-obsessed world.
At the very end of the day, it’s our human experience that drives innovation and improvement to the built environment and all of it’s intricate components.
Check out these additional resources from experts on how the facility management industry is changing, and the technology that driving that change.
Facility Executive – 2020 Trends
AutoDesk – BIM Resources for the future (Great Infographic)