What Facilities Managers Need to Know: LoT vs IoT (Internet of Things)
This is the next in a series of posts highlighting the 13 trends, technologies and best practices essential for facilities managers, from the ebook What You Need to Know to Succeed in Facilities Management in 2020.
A big part of many facilities management groups’ responsibilities is ensuring the maintenance and upkeep of all types of assets and equipment. Those operating stores, restaurants, buildings and other facilities rely on these ‘lots of things’ (LoT) to work properly to support their businesses.
But what happens when there’s a problem, when a piece of equipment breaks? Well, often no one immediately knows, until the problem appears or damage occurs or worse, when a customer reports it. Then someone investigates and reports it, typically by submitting a work order (maybe immediately via a mobile device or later when back in an office).
Eventually a contractor is notified and arrives to fix the problem. Sometimes, then a needed part is identified which can necessitate a second trip. This all negatively impacts the company’s brand (harming its “brand uptime”), revenue and quality of service.
Internet of Things Impacting Facilities Operations
But this world is changing. Equipment and assets are becoming internet-enabled, allowing communication from all sorts of devices so they may report on their own condition and needs.
- a machine recognizes a potential failure or service requirement ahead,
- automatically submits a work order for pre-emptive service or preventive maintenance,
- with any needed part or supplies identified
- a contractor arrives promptly – before any problem or service deterioration occurs
- with whatever’s needed, and
- the equipment has its service performed
This scenario is not far fetched at all. These aware, connected and communicative devices are what’s known as the ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) and it promises to bring dramatic changes across both business and consumer landscapes.
McKinsey estimates that the IoT will have a $4 to $11 trillion economic impact by 2025. While it’s not quite Skynet, the IoT will be far reaching, and dramatically change the world of facilities management.
All this new data will provide much greater visibility into one’s equipment and maintenance ecosystem. FMs will make more informed repair/replace decisions. These preemptive maintenance ‘strikes’ will result in lower costs (via smaller problems and fewer service calls) and eliminated service interruptions.
Importantly, there’ll be less impact on on-site personnel (e.g store, restaurant or other customer-facing staff) as they’ll no longer need to identify, report and/or try to remedy/troubleshoot issues themselves.
IoT-Driven Benefits for Facilities Management
Facilities teams prepared to take advantage of the IoT will realize tremendous productivity gains from a vastly expanded coverage area. With self-monitoring assets now working “for” them, they’ll in a sense, “be everywhere at once.”
With everything from HVAC equipment to lighting to food/beverage dispensers reporting on their respective needs (“time for a refill…need a replacement”), FMs will be able to identify seasonal trends, take proactive actions and deliver greatly improved quality of service.