2022, following the decrease of the Omicron variant, initiates hybrid work culture for several companies across India, among which IT giants have taken the lead. This transition has been accompanied by immense hesitation for both employees and employers regarding their health and safety in the wake of the current situation. The facilities management industry has played a vital role as organizations have reopened workplaces. Preparing with maximized safety, end-to-end safety and vigilance as well as promoting safe, sanitized and future-proof spaces is the need of the hour. Technologies such as Internet of Things (IoT) sensors, scanning and the use of QR codes should be actively adopted to promote a 360-degree contactless environment. The facilities management industry as a whole anticipates the overall market growth and surge in demand for services that characterize the new world of work. Mr. Sudhakar Murthy, Specialist Services Group Head, Embassy Services Private Limited share more ideas on the same topic.
- How does Integrated Facilities Management take advantage of new era technologies in its operations?
The real estate sector and its facilities today have a significant impact on the balance sheets of organizations. The facilities management (FM) function impacts everything from customer and employee satisfaction to sustainability efforts. Many organizations struggle to manage facilities due to outdated or fragmented systems that don’t communicate with each other, making visibility and control difficult. This is where using technology-dependent platforms that connect systems, data and functions across the organizational structure can help optimize the real estate lifecycle and deliver better business results. .
- What are the extended services within the framework of integrated facilities management and what is the value differentiation that the technological tools bring to them?
The use of technology platforms in IFM leverages the comprehensive suite of services provided under its umbrella, providing management control over various features, such as event management, digital security and employee wellbeing. These facilities fall within the ESG scope and may include many other services that normally fall outside the IFM portfolio. Technology applications can help provide solutions in critical areas, including reducing the number of separate systems for tracking facility assets and events, providing tools for the team to plan and meet facility needs , and by producing real-time information on the performance of the installations.
- How do these technology-driven FM solutions help industries and in which industries are these services offered?
Technology-driven FM solutions utilize comprehensive, proven technology platforms that help empower multiple industries with agile solutions. Using these technologies is essential because many corporate real estate portfolios tend to be complex, often involving multiple types of assets. These platforms will eliminate operational teams working in silos and provide clear insights to management on overall business performance.
Facilities represent a large portion of any business’s assets and expenses. Facilities management is a critical and methodical business discipline that assists in the optimal management of space, infrastructure, people and organization. Increasing performance by creating a restructured service delivery and outsourcing model will have a critical impact on controlling real estate and facilities costs. The alignment of space allocation and use can be improved to minimize costs and improve workplace efficiency. The use of disruptive technologies and the adaptation of the building stock to change the dynamics of the company, as well as the improvement of the management and operation of workspaces, will therefore make it possible to achieve savings.
Some of the industries in which facilities management services are offered include smart cities, manufacturing, banking, and retail, among others. These industries are effectively taking advantage of technology-based FM services.
- What are the trends shaping facilities management and its intersection with technology and digital transformation?
Various trends are shaping facilities management and its intersection with technology and digital transformation. The first trend is the outsourcing of various non-core business or service functions, including purchasing, payroll management, digital workspace management, and more. The second trend in facilities management is the application of sensor technology in MEP (mechanical, electrical and plumbing), employee wellness, water and energy management, security and other areas. One of the critical developments is the integration of building sustainability and efficiency into companies’ efforts to achieve net zero goals. Flexible working and distributed teams are essential elements of governance in post-COVID-19 situations with smaller teams and more efficient operations.
The shrinking real estate footprint, the growing importance of predictive maintenance, the growing importance of mobile applications, and the increasing responsibility for the environment and our society highlight the need for rapid technological development and growth in the FM sector. In addition to harnessing the power of the Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI) and connected devices, more advanced data analytics, cloud data collection and remote monitoring of FM are some of the key trends shaping facilities management and its intersection with technology and digital transformation.
- How can this industry evolve in the future with technology at its heart?
The facilities management industry has always evolved and adapted to changes in society and technology. Some of the trends in this space include flexible office spaces and hybrid work models. With implications for employee spaces, fewer people means fewer spaces. Smaller rooms suitable for “hot desking” and “office hospitality” are at the heart of the renovation. Employees can use any available chair for the shared office, and they can also reserve a workspace.
Many facility managers use software solutions to help them in this endeavor. When a room is in use, smart sensors turn on lights, heating and air conditioning. Applications are used for energy dashboards to map energy consumption and suggest where savings can be made. The use of visitor management systems as well as seat reservation applications will help reduce paper consumption, save trees and thus protect the climate. Data analysis is also becoming increasingly important as technology advances. The availability of reliable data on space occupancy, attendance and consumption trends enables strategic decisions to be made.
Focusing on employee health and wellbeing is key. The pandemic has had a significant impact on our workplaces. Prevention efforts to minimize the spread of the virus, such as social distancing, self-testing, contact tracing and additional cleaning, are measures that are here to stay. The use of temperature scanners, automated sanitizers, and other similar devices provide employees with a sense of comfort about their overall well-being and will continue to be used by organizations.
- How does IFM strengthen sustainability and ESG in project efforts with technology?
Companies now have a much greater responsibility to bring about positive changes in the environment. This starts with ensuring they are not wasting energy and proactively following sustainable practices as set out in their ESG roadmap. The same is true for building owners, operators and managers, as buildings are responsible for nearly 40% of global carbon emissions.
A number of real estate companies are encouraging ESG leadership in India’s built environment by connecting projects and developing key performance indicators to assess progress towards these. It has significantly reduced energy consumption through measures such as the use of energy efficient lighting and equipment, HVAC system control, etc.
Setting clear and achievable ESG goals will help reduce operating costs and carbon emissions while improving productivity and overall facility performance. Facilities, property and property managers who want to stay ahead of the curve must now prioritize ESG initiatives using appropriate technology solutions. This would allow companies to establish clear key performance indicators, report performance to stakeholders and ensure their buildings are attractive to both investors and occupants.