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What Facilities Management Can Learn From Changing Consumers And Their Digital Demands 

What Facilities Management Can Learn From Changing Consumers And Their Digital Demands 
09 March 2020
 

Aleš Špetič, Co-Founder and CEO at Klevio, shares his knowledge of “FM’s digital transformation” and how Proptech will continue to disrupt the industry. 

Aleš has co-founded and run four international tech startups: Klevio, CubeSensors, DeckReport and Zemanta (acquired by Outbrain). Zemanta was the first company to win Seedcamp Week when the seed fund, and former accelerator, launched in 2007. With CubeSensors, he won the Best Hardware Award at the Launch Festival in San Francisco in March 2013, and the TechCrunch Hardware Battlefield at CES 2014. Aleš teaches a startup management course at the University of Ljubljana, is a trained engineer, has an MBA from California State University and has written a book on database programming, called “Transact-SQL Cookbook”.

FM on the brink of "digital transformation"

 

Facilities management (FM) is on the brink of a huge injection of "digital transformation". With the increasing popularity of smart cities and the Internet of Things (IoT) as discussion points, facilities management teams are starting to take note. The trends being discussed have inspired a new wave of FM-focused changes that are mooted to disrupt the industry, drive new levels of efficiency, and shift revenue models. 

Previously, the industry digitised the recording, storing and sharing of on-paper documents. But this second wave of transformation is a shift towards IoT for everything, as well as its place in the interconnected spider’s web that is Smart Cities. 

 

Data in buildings

 

Something you will have heard plenty of is that Facilities Managers have to redefine their use of data in buildings. But I don’t think you need to be Elon Musk to make changes that drastically reduce overheads, and efficiencies for the building and its tenants. Collaboration with a startup or tech provider might provide wins that also do the most important thing: improve the day-to-day lives of the community within your block, warehouse, office unit, or flats. 

People make buildings what they are, and facilities management teams are the lifeline of that. Much like electricity supplies in cities, people only notice you when it goes wrong, but everywhere they go, they are grateful without knowing it. The dream is to improve their lives, and as you do that, make your own easier, cleaner and safer. 

 

Live by the smartphone

 

The current model, often summarised as “manage”, “repair” or “firefight” is not sustainable anymore, the tenants of your buildings want more. People want their places of work to mirror the consumer brands and technologies they have become accustomed to, things have to be seamless, responsive, instant and natural. This is something that can be retrofitted using  existing consumer products. You don’t need to redesign your entire building to update things and make life better. Even small changes can make a drastic difference. 

 

We all have smartphones with a host of different sensors and geofencing capabilities, Apple Pay and Google Wallet are getting rid of cards and the need for wallets, so isn’t it time that facilities teams got involved? You should still have a hard set of keys just in case, but for everyone else, mobile should come first. 

–Aleš Špetič

CEO, Klevio

 

Access is everything

 

The first entry point as people leave their commute and enter your building for the day, is the door. And I don’t see that changing for quite some time. 

Access is more than just security of the building. Recent growth of Space-as-a-Service operations like the WeWork’s of the world have shown the direction of data-capture at the front desk for guests, but still use a variant of keycards, which have been around for years. But why...? 

We all have smartphones with a host of different sensors and geofencing capabilities, Apple Pay and Google Wallet are getting rid of cards and the need for wallets, so isn’t it time that facilities teams got involved? You should still have a hard set of keys just in case, but for everyone else, mobile should come first. 

Upgrading your building doesn’t have to be a multi million-pound refit. Retrofitted solutions can add that user-first functionality and make your life easier. SmartLocks and smart intercoms like Klevio provide consumers with tidy mod-cons that make them feel special and catered for. Now they can enter and leave the building with the same device that orders their food, pays for their transportation, and keeps them up to date on everything else.

 

Data used the right way 

 

You don’t need to track every minute of what people do inside your buildings. But responsible use of access and other IoT solutions that take a general look at a building’s use can be extremely useful as actionable data.

Access systems also allow you to monitor and regulate who has access to where, grant permissions for new guests and colleagues from anywhere at any time. You can also remotely revoke access to a specific person, as well as being able to provide the approximate locations to and instant access for emergency personnel, should the need arise. 

 

Experience first, then build from there

 

The bigger picture for FM professionals is exciting. Not only can you install some comforts and desirable user experiences for the inhabitants of your units, but you can plan for the future. From the moment someone enters the building, they become part of the bigger system. Smart systems will enhance their lives; hopefully without them even seeing it. 

We don’t want automated mobility devices in the building. The beauty of IoT is its potential for alleviating us of the tedious tasks, allowing us to do ‘what we are paid to do’. 

Finding a keycard or replacing the locks if one key is lost, works for access, but consumers now want that hyper-availability of anything, at any-time. If their phones and smart devices are the access points to Amazon Now, they will inevitably want the same for anything at their place of work - you will soon have the power to allow this without even waiting for Alan of the seventh floor to report an empty print cartridge. The printer will have ordered it before he even knew it.

 

Complete integration 

 

At home the occupants of your building may already be connecting Alexa and Google Home to various devices. The more things work together, the smarter and more efficient they will be. Start with the useful, visible solutions like access and in time digitise the rest. Consider how technology is being used by everyone each day, and how you can seamlessly connect your building to the demands of people today.  

Picture: What Facilities Management Can Learn From Changing Consumers And Their Digital Demands

Article written by Aleš Špetič | Published 09 March 2020

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