Shooting the Breeze with Tony Johnson, HVAC Trade Manager

Technology is driving change across all aspects of our lives, both personal and professional.  From your streaming services, transportation options and new roommate Alexa, it’s likely your home environment is different from what it was even a few years ago.

And while at work (or at your home office, as many adapt to a work-from-home environment) you’re integrating more and more technology, like Zoom, Bluetooth, and Google Hangouts into your day-to-day processes.  Some of these new approaches are already in place, others are in progress, and others are peaking out from just over the horizon.  These are some of the trickiest ones to plan for.

The facilities management field is certainly not exempt from any of this.  And given the sector’s multidisciplinary nature and various internal and external touchpoints, there are a lot of technologies coming at you from all directions.  To help provide you some context with all this, we covered a number of these innovations in our 2019 Facilities Management Survival Guide.

As our CEO, Tom Buiocchi, highlighted in the FM Survival Guide:

“We certainly expect the changes to the facilities management and maintenance world to continue and even accelerate – and why not – as the underlying retail, quick-serve restaurant, healthcare, financial and other “multi-location” industries accelerate their recent evolution and transform.”

“Technology and demographics are playing huge roles in these shifts, as digital strategies are being deployed throughout your favorite stores, shops, restaurants and locations to meet the rising expectations of “customer experience,” while lowering costs, and improving in-store brand presentation.”

To help better understand these shifts, we reached out to a number of our ServiceChannel subject matter experts to share what they thought was the innovation/technology/trend is likely to have the single biggest impact on the FM sector as we move into the future??

Our well-experienced team shared what technology they’ve been seeing, what projects they’ve been working on, and what they anticipate being the innovations and trends that will have the greatest impact on the FM industry.

Innovations, Technology & Trends Impacting the FM Sector

The best way to learn about the new innovations in facilities management and the trends that are emerging is from leaders in the field. Here are some of the top FM trends to keep an eye on as the industry evolves. 

1. Internet of Things (IoT) and Augmented Reality

More and more, companies specialize in technology like HVAC monitoring devices, fuel monitors, fitness equipment usage devices, grease trap monitors, etc. All can communicate with our software without any human interaction. Augmented reality with things like BIM (building information modeling) also will begin to transform facilities. Imagine the benefits to troubleshooting with an instruction manual displayed while working on an HVAC unit.

Brett Harrington, Sales Engineer

2. New Business Processes

Carpe Diem! Implementing a new software solution is a great time to think about what you’ve “always wanted to do, but just never have.” Instead of trying to fit a limited existing process into a robust software solution, companies will take advantage of asset tracking, warranty handling, invoice feeds, and more to enhance overall operations, leading to strategic advantages.  Companies are learning that the “should do’s” are actually “must do’s” to remain competitive.

Erica Young, Implementation Project Manager

3. Focus on What Makes Sense for Your Company

Ease of use, asset management, integrated systems, budget tools.  From the top down, these are the sexy things larger FM teams like to talk about. Smaller organizations will probably focus on budget tools and how to get more with less. Workflow and automation based on certain types of criteria could also be something that would move the needle with that group.

Mike Rivisto, VP, Customer Success

4. Mobile FM

The continued adoption/improvement of mobile tools. Enhancing the ease of use at the site level specifically fits perfectly within the culture/comfort of younger users.

Dave Perry, Director, Sales

5. AI & IOT

AI lets you automate, take the manual effort out, and allow you more time to be proactive, etc. by using the power of the data.  IoT, with asset tagging and management.  It’s not just buildings, it’s what is in the buildings.

Tom Buiocchi, CEO

6. Automation

As traditional brick and mortar stores struggle, FM budgets will be reduced, including head count. FMs are going to have to do more with less so any place they can automate any process, but have checks and balances in place to stay within their budget, will be a win for them.

Emily Kansa, Customer Success Manager

7. Mobile

Putting technology in the hands of all the end users and increasingly we will be able to push things to them (repair videos, maps, work order details, etc.)

Doug Ingraham, VP Product Management

8. Asset-based IoT

Deeper investments in asset management and associated IoT. With shrinking budgets, this is the area that can contribute the most to savings: warranty claims, energy savings, etc.

Hugues Meyrath, Chief Product Officer

9. FM On the Go

FMs and users on-site will be able to do anything they need to do on the go while travelling, at home, etc. to improve their performance and save time.

Susan Thomas, Premium Support Consultant

10. Auto Dispatch via IoT

Location users and FMs are typically not ‘asset’ experts and are not in front of the ‘asset’ 24/7. With IoT, assets will be able dispatch work orders (24/7 or set parameters) during the beginning stages of ‘break/fix’ and schedule preventive maintenance at an optimized schedule, resulting in maintenance cost reductions and asset life increases.

Igall Buzilo, Director Strategic Solutions

11. Rapidly Changing Tech with Rapidly Changing FM Roles/Responsibility

FMs will be more focused on leveraging advanced hardware and software technologies to identify technical solutions to better serve their locations.

Leum Fahey, Project Manager

12. Smarter Budgeting

Putting mobile applications into the hands of everyone in the work order chain will free them from their desktops and POS terminals. That produces hands-on details and accurate information which result in effective resolution.

Paul Lehman, Solutions Manager

13. Advanced Location Visualization

More interactive store maps that can display anything from assets to open work orders can give an FM a better understanding of what’s going on at a location, and allow visualizing new assets/fixtures/furniture before arrival at a location.

Dylan O’Neill, Product Associate

14. Analytics and Machine Learning

In today’s competitive world, it is imperative to do more with less. FMs are going to be challenged to find ways to save money, improve efficiencies and provide better service.  They need to leverage intelligent automation and advanced analytics to achieve these goals.

Sid Shetty, VP – Marketplace Strategy & Experience

Final Thoughts

While FM trends will change over time, it’s important to take note of what other successful facilities teams are embracing now so that you can stay competitive and reach your goals. From augmented reality, transitioning to mobile, IoT, automated intelligence, and more, there’s an abundance of new technology FMs can utilize to streamline their business and make smarter decisions.  

Ready to learn more? heck out the Facilities Management Survival Guide where you’llfind a number of informative resources and new innovations in facilities management to power your own program

Download the FM Survival Guide