When some folks hear the term Internet of ThingsIoT ), especially as it relates to facility management, they often think of a modern-day Oz-like entity running all of the operations of one or more facilities. There is some truth to the image.

Digital technology allows facilities to be run by a Centralized Facilities Program (CFP) which brings all operational functions to a single point. The benefits that integrated digitization provides to management, tenants, owners, and technicians are impressive and unprecedented.

How IoT is disrupting the Facility Management industry

The shift to the internet has impacted many industries. Today, virtually every business uses the internet in some form or another. In some business categories, the disruption is profound. For instance, Airbnb and Uber, in a few short years, have leveraged mobile communications and digitization, turning travel and transportation on its head.  

Uber mobile app finding drivers in car - IoT
Uber lets you find drivers in seconds (Source: Unsplash)

In facilities management, this disruption calls into question processes and protocols that have been in place for decades. Today, IoT and analytics can bring a large number of data points together, resulting in significant improvements in efficiency and effectiveness.

Woman using laptop around supercomputers - IoT
(Source – Pexels)

How IoT and the digital revolution Can optimize Facility Management

One of the numerous benefits of IoT in facility management is the ability to do more with less. Many organizations are increasing their implementation of IoT and analytics to improve operations and save money. There are many concrete ways that new digital technology can materially improve facility management. They include:

1. Data-driven decisions and automated analysis

Building automation systems produce an enormous amount of data. If accessed and analyzed, this data can provide transparency and help management make smarter decisions

Illustration of Monitoring entire building portfolio from one interface - IoT
(Source: Facilio)

Property managers can get a full picture of the ongoings within buildings, and make evidence-based decisions. Information is power and if used correctly;  it can increase productivity, ROI, and help management make better decisions faster.

2. Increased workforce productivity

IoT can dramatically improve workforce productivity, often resulting in improved labor ROI and workforce satisfaction. Whether it is an industrial unit, manufacturing facility, or office space, buildings that leverage IoT can improve the work environment, and increase employee engagement as well as happiness. As the saying goes, a happy worker is a productive one.

Person dancing across the hall - IoT
(Source: Giphy)

Advanced infrastructures that use asset tracking technology with real-time data, can manage HVAC systems more effectively, so workers are more comfortable, and less is spent making so. More importantly, IoT-enabled buildings can provide real-time access to the location of employees, data on occupancy, workflows, and worker inefficiencies. 

3. Smarter problem-detection and solutions

More often than not, many wait until something is broken before they fix it. This reactive approach can turn out to be very costly. Facility management teams can now be proactive and increase their efficiency by identifying problems in their infancy before they become expensive to repair or replace.

Virtually, every system, product, and machine are generating data. Monitoring this data in real-time will notify if something is amiss – or about to be – so management can immediately address the problem.  Real-time contextual data helps troubleshoot potentially costly issues so that they can be quickly nipped in the bud.

Facilio's application dashboard - IoT

For example, if there is an energy spike in a room, Facilio’s Machine learning module will pick this up and notify the manager is notified immediately, with enough insights to understand the root cause. They can then quickly dispatch technicians to solve the problem.  This quick action can save thousands of dollars.

4. Predictive and Preventive Maintenance Optimization

All equipment and machinery in a building eventually wears out and becomes less efficient with time. Predictive analytics and machine learning can help maintain these high-value assets, extending their life and increasing their performance over their lifecycle. IoT can help facility managers implement predictive maintenance, by anticipating when assets and systems need attention. 

Energy meter dashboard showing real-time data - IoT

This process can even prevent costly repairs from happening in the first place by predicting when those assets and systems are likely to fail. Predictive algorithms and machine learning techniques take historical data to make predictions as to when a particular asset needs, for example, maintenance; a tune-up, recalibration, or a major overhaul. IoT helps optimize the smooth-running of a building’s operating systems, preventing breakdowns and keeping tenants happy.

5. Optimized energy consumption

Buildings consume vast amounts of the world’s energy resources and governments are now increasing regulations and oversight of energy consumption. IoT-enabled building portfolios can capture and analyse energy usage and provide actionable solutions that greatly improve energy efficiency. By analyzing local weather patterns and employee usage data, managers can optimize a building’s lighting, temperature, ventilation, and HVAC systems.

Entire building view - IoT
(Source: Pexels)

This results in reduced energy consumption, cost savings and a better workplace environment. Furthermore, by monitoring energy consumption and usage in real-time on a granular level, management can reduce their carbon footprint and actively work towards energy sustainability.

How to Efficiently manage your building by harnessing IoT

Managing buildings is no easy feat. Facilities differ, team members are spread out, and each task or problem presents a unique challenge. Assets work independently of each other, which creates operational silos and therefore blindfolds the management to make good decisions. This might lead to redundant and repetitive activities.
Facilio web dashboard - IoT
Leveraging the unused data sitting within all these assets and systems will increase the efficiency of a building(s) operations. It’s the time of Connected FM Facilio unifies maintenance silos, assets, space, and sustainability data, generating real-time, actionable insights; creating an efficient, collaborative, and delightful built environment. 

IoT is today’s Wizard of Oz

To create and manage a fully integrated and digitized IoT smart building in today’s world does not require an Oz-like figure behind a curtain. Instead, it calls for a concerted effort by management who have established clear and actionable objectives.

Whether it’s a small facility or multiple buildings, IoT can dramatically improve operating systems which used to be time consuming and inefficient to operate. Done right, one can turn facilities management into a highly automated, integrated system which benefits tenants, management, and the owner.

Today, the Wizard of Oz is a fully integrated and digitized facility management system.