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Facility managers are the key to smart cities

September 9, 2020

‘Smart buildings’ provide facilities managers with the ability to detect issues in any location, from anywhere in the world. 

Sensors give facility managers the ability to fix problems of all shapes and sizes, before they cause significant damage. With the ability to detect and identify problems, smart technology aids in sharing knowledge which helps facility managers identify trends and enhance business efficiencies. 

Companies that utilise new technologies give themselves every possible competitive edge over the old way of doing things. Embracing new technology is essential for facility managers as they move throughout the decade: building automation has been tipped to be the ‘smart’ segment with the largest growth rate in 2020, predicted at 42%. 

Improved response times

With the ongoing global presence of Covid-19, facilities managers have had increased expectations placed on them for hygiene and cleanliness, balancing these demands with the welfare of staff and building occupants, and often reduced operational budgets. Using technology to share information across buildings and businesses, facility managers can respond faster to emerging challenges in their building management. 

From smart utility meters that help detect water leaks to smart sensors for pest control, combining data from multiple properties helps Facility Managers gain a ‘big picture’ perspective. 

IoT devices as solutions

Internet of Things (IoT) solutions have advanced to such a stage that they’re capable of helping businesses adhere to regulations, while also protecting the business from damage. Proximity sensors used for non-contact detection of objects are being used in car parks to indicate parking availability and can be used to manage people numbers in confined areas – especially relevant in these times of social distancing. 

IoT devices are a welcome tool to businesses in addressing challenges as well as for facilities managers to identify problems which are hidden from view. New devices and applications are capable of sharing information through mobile apps, online portals or email to provide a complete performance review of the building and highlight the problem areas. As building management becomes more complicated, facilities managers must have access to the right data for decision-making in order to be able to understand the problem and respond by identifying the appropriate solution.

Smart pest systems

Technology offers facilities managers the ability to test and refine their building management strategies, including pest treatment regimes.

Treating pests from bed bugs to rodents can be tricky when dealing with multi-site and multi-room establishments. In a smart city, sensors can identify pests in their early stages, removing the need for labour-intensive inspections which inconvenience residents and cost management time and money. 

By sharing this data with nearby properties and businesses, facility managers can adapt priorities within their action plans. Smart pests systems offer industries including hospitality, hotels and lodging, care homes and housing associations the opportunity to be more effective in managing pests. Read more about how smart systems can be used to outwit pests on our blog. 

Modernising facility operations

The opportunities for facility managers to use IoT systems to solve practical problems, revitalise revenue and reinvent staff resourcing are vast. We’ve seen the arrival of robot vacuum cleaners to assist cleaning teams, hotel mini bars that automate inventory and billing, plus voice and movement controlled lighting and sound systems – but IoT is going much further.

Hospitality businesses and residential buildings are increasingly expected to not only meet operational needs but also the expectations and experiences of the visitor. Buildings including care homes, retirement villages, hotels, student accommodation and short-term rentals will need to identify the best strategic investment to achieve building efficiency and ensure occupant satisfaction. In an economically challenging and competitive environment, reputation is one of the influential factors to long-term success, requiring facilities managers to place the comfort of guests and residents high on their agenda.

Detectors and monitoring systems enable facilities managers to deploy staff immediately to problem areas whether it’s replacing missing towels, emptying bins or dealing with pests, without having to do manual checks. 

Machine learning is transforming detectors and sensors to be smart, bringing greater efficiencies. Facilities managers now have the opportunity to work with their organisations to identify potential threats and find detection solutions that will help them identify problems quicker, innovating how they minimise risk and keep staff resources contained.

As businesses ramp up the implementation of smart systems - building smart cities - facility managers must be at the forefront, creating a better world through real-time information sharing and analysis, allowing action plans enhanced for efficiency. 


Topics: IoT, smart tech