In the International Built Environment Week’s (IBEW) panel discussion on 28 September 2020, which discussed about the strategic outcomes of predictive maintenance, Loh Wei Loon, Senior Managing Director of Singapore and South East Asia CBRE, agreed that COVID-19 has clearly accelerated the adoption of Smart Facilities Management (Smart FM) and digitalisation in general, not only in order to increase productivity, but also to ensure safety.
Meanwhile, the development of technology in the past decade is not only in terms of the accessibility of big data, but also the communication between systems, which enhances the performance of any individual system. Data analytics is the key to system optimisation.
In building operations and maintenance, this includes the ability to manipulate data from different angles and to corelate data to external factors. Swarup Biswas, VP of Portfolio Growth APAC, Johnson Controls, emphasised the importance of strategic thinking in the optimisation of big data and technologies.
CREATING VALUES FOR CUSTOMERS
Smart FM is complementary to the industry’s ongoing efforts towards Integrated Digital Delivery (IDD). Property owners and their FM managers could identify and implement smart technology solutions that meet their business objectives, including solutions that streamline work processes and allow for real-time monitoring of assets and operations that can help improve FM service quality and enhance asset values.
Biswas believes that COVID-19 has impacted building operations to a large extent. Buildings will continue to be occupied even though the rate will not be 100 per cent. On the other hand, maintenance have to be carried out in full force. In this case, what we need is flexibility and agility to adapt to the new demand and requirements, which can only be possible if we have digital technology to assist us. Biswas maintained that, from a service provider’s perspective, in order to create values for customers, FM boils down to five key areas:
- How service providers conduct inspections and diagnostics
- How service providers do specific maintenance tasks on-site
- How service providers give condition assessments and debrief clients
- How service providers give recommendations
- How service providers perceive clients as partners that provide budgeting and planning support
ENHANCING USER’S EXPERIENCE
In the past, these values are solely dependent on technicians and supervisors when they visit clients to provide operation services. It used to rely mostly on their capabilities, expertise, knowledge and understanding of problems on-site. Technology offers two additional supports:
- Digital technology as a platform where AI offers accurate predictions
- Digital technology as a platform to allow remote inspection by experts
With these two factors combined, technology will benefit not only service providers in terms of the increased productivity, but also customers for an enhanced user experience. Inspections and diagnostics supported by prediction quantification and professional expertise will result in a meaningful transformation. In terms of extending the lifecycle of an asset/project, the aim is now to provide specific maintenance. Reactive and periodic maintenance is no longer relevant as we are moving to being proactive and predictive, where defects and failures can be eliminated at an early stage.
The most important element in FM is to identify a building’s purpose. Building owners must be clear with what they want, i.e., the main purpose and the competitive advantages that they want to exude. For example, a building owner may want to get the best maintenance to fulfil certain corporate’s objectives in terms of energy consumption and carbon footprint. When these are clear, strategic solutions can be mapped out and a suitable implementation model can be adopted.
With the rise of AI and IoT devices, and cloud-based technologies, the FM industry is now able to help building owners achieve the abovementioned, transform their business models to allow scalability, and be able to gain a competitive edge in the market. Prior to the adoption of Smart FM solutions, however, the organisation’s business requirements and processes must be taken into consideration.
In the words of Swarup Biswas, “There are two options: technology can be a good ornament or it can be the best tool in running a building’s operations efficiently.”– Anisa Pinatih, Construction+ Online
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