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Digital Transformation in FM - Use of Tech in FM

Having partnered with the FMA on a number of occasions, including an Australian Facilities Management Software Survey and projects such as the Good Practice Guide to Selecting FM Software, Service Works continued the collaboration by sponsoring the FMA this year at its one-day National Summit, ‘Digital Transformation in FM’. The recent event in Sydney aimed to update FMs on the rapid pace of changing technology and its impact on FM.

Engagement in BIM

The morning session was devoted to BIM (Building Information Modelling), which is rapidly gaining support in Australia’s construction industry and could become a mandatory process for public funded projects, as it is in the UK. Using the Sydney Opera House as the basis for the presentation, discussions followed around the logistics of BIM implementation, as well was what to do with the data once obtained. The message was clear from all four speakers: FM professionals need to be engaged as early as possible in the design and build process. Delivery and operation of the building for end users is as important as the design and construction, and facilities managers’ timely feedback helps to ensure not only future efficiency savings, but also that the data held within BIM will be fit for purpose.

Is technology just another fad?

The afternoon session, sponsored by Service Works Global (SWG), looked at use of digital technology over the last 12 months using a number of case studies and in particular looked ahead to the future of technology. Is technology just another fad, unlikely to deliver long term sustainable benefits? Samantha Fuller, General Manager of SWG Asia Pacific took to the stage to debate this question.

Acceptable change

As the world moves forward in accepting technology and change, so too does the FM space. Individuals are using new technology in their daily lives to save time and give them greater control, and are beginning to expect this in the workplace as well. While wearables like smart watches and AR (augmented reality) glasses are relatively new to the consumer market, Smartphones are now widespread and this is reflected in FM. Following Service Works’ recent APAC FM technology survey, around two thirds of respondents reported using mobile and tablet devices to manage FM. One speaker discussed the creation of a virtual self who can be in the office while its physical counterpart stays at home – a concept more futuristic than wearables and phones but not outside the bounds of possibility; perfectly demonstrating the potential of technology in the future. At one point the idea of an intelligent building able to monitor its own condition was considered outlandish, and now systems like Service Works’ QFM facilities management software are able to integrate with them in order to provide a new level of data and deliver seamless FM services.

The audience was engaged and interactive during this session, asking questions ranging from how to implement new technology and who owns the data, to asking about examples of common devices used in FM (such as wearables) to what radio frequency is recommended for RFID.  The consensus across all participants was that technology is here to stay and will only grow in its use and user acceptance.  Having seen the benefits that technology can bring, both from our own CAFM software and new developments in the wider space, Service Works will continue to support FMs in achieving the best results using such new technology.