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Automation is coming: How to get up to speed as an FM professional

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Automated systems come in many different forms, ranging from machines and robots to simple, virtual applications. Automation is set to transform every industry, so it’s important you’re prepared for the changes. Rob Curley, MD of digital consultancy Singlepoint has said, “To be productive, this new automation age will also require a range of human skills in the workplace.” It’s important professionals in every sector get up to speed on automation now, rather than later. FM professionals can get ahead of the curve and maximise a whole new wave of opportunities by moving towards automation today.

IoT and smart buildings

With automation becoming more widespread, it’s imperative you get to grips with the various systems. For facilities management professionals, the merging of the Internet of Things (IoT) and automated systems could change the game. IoT is still in its infancy stage, yet it is enabling a multitude of new devices and systems that can be used in buildings. FM professionals need to prepare now for introduction of these systems into the workplace and consider re-training employees for automation.

There is a plethora of cloud-based analytics, as well as advanced lighting systems. There’s also software that can connect different processes to work in tandem in one building. For example, occupants of a building can use The Comfy App to change the thermostat on their phone. The app optimises temperatures based on the routine preferences of employees in the office. It finds the balance of everyone’s preferences, so workers are comfortable in the building.

Machine-to-machine connectivity is becoming more and more commonplace. For example, the Belimo Energy Valve is a smart connected pressure-independent valve that measures and manages energy. It has a built-in web server which collects up to 13 months of data, and this data can be downloaded to the cloud for analytic purposes. The surge of automated IoT systems is opening new doors for Facilities Management professionals to improve efficiency.

Computerised management systems

One of the more successful examples of automation in FM are computerised management systems. Systems like Timegate represent a future where everything from interviews to on-boarding is automated. The system is a cloud-based workforce management solution that automates the entire recruitment process. Timegate is designed for FM professionals and any organisation that needs machine-like efficiency in turning candidates into employees. It gives you a real-time overview of the operations and employees can use the system remotely to access HR resources or book holidays.

Along with Timegate is Servitac, a computerised management system that is built on a customer-centric model. It helps FM companies manage their operational delivery and service compliance, with real-time dashboards, task lists and reports. All the information is online, so it’s easy for FM professionals to monitor and manage their services.

Today, every company is striving to be as agile as possible. As the digital revolution continues, the need to deliver products and services faster will only become greater. Agile working must be the goal in the age of innovation. Without automating components and using smart devices, it can be very difficult to achieve optimal performance. Computerised management systems can help FM professionals streamline their work.

Automated security

There’s no question automation will have a profound impact on the way we work and live. Businesses will need to adapt to the changing environment to remain competitive. Technology is advancing at a rapid pace, enabling companies to create their own robots. Knightscope, a company based in Mountain View, USA, have created and tested a security guard robot known as K5. These robots have a pre-programmed patrol route, with a battery that lasts for up to 24-hours on a single charge. The K5 has sensors, cameras, electric motors, and can improvise if it notices something suspicious. The robots communicate with each other via Wi-Fi and through a wireless data network. Robots in security have a wide range of uses in FM services. They can be used for patrolling office buildings and can help FM professionals make faster, real-time decisions. FM professionals should start using robotics in their services to speed up daily tasks and to ensure facilities are working in top condition.

Automated technologies will help make the job of facilities management much easier. With data collection and IoT systems, professionals will be able to manage buildings with real-time information. These technologies can provide a holistic picture of workflow and enable FM professionals to see how every part of the office is functioning. It’s important FM companies keep an eye out for the latest trends to remain competitive. Automation is on the rise and it could usher in the greatest era of technology we’ve ever seen.

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