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Australia facilities management wearables, mobile, IoT

The facilities management sector in Australia is embracing the benefits of mobile technology to effectively manage FM operations, new research reveals. Based on findings from Service Works Group’s Australian FM Software Survey 2017 run in conjunction with FM Magazine, two thirds of FMs are now using mobile devices such as smartphones and iPads for this purpose – but interestingly smaller communication devices such as smartwatches and fitness trackers are not currently on the horizon for FMs.

Mobile for Productivity

66% of survey respondents identified mobile apps as the most significant technology trend for 2017, with 62% of in-house engineers and service providers reported using mobile technology to manage FM. Consumer technology such as this is finding a home in FM due to the new functionality developed and its usability in conjunction with FM software. This includes the ability to scan QR codes on assets to access pertinent information on the FM database, uploading and attaching a video to an allocated job, and harnessing GPS technology for locating both assets and engineers to optimise workload management. This, coupled with the falling cost of mobile devices and the fact that some FM software providers (such as Service Works’ QFM ) have optimised their application to enable usage across all platforms with both online and offline capability, means that phones and tablet devices have more value and usability than ever as a work tool.

Wearable Wellness

However, the value of communication at the touch of a button has not yet been recognised as a significant trend in the Australian workplace in terms of wearable devices, with just 14% identifying this as an area of potential interest for 2017. Yet smartwatches and hearables are just the next extension from mobile communication, providing hands-free access to a live stream of information. Some organisations are even going one step further, and implanting microchips into employees’ hands. 150 workers at a company in Sweden are now able to open doors, operate printers, or buy snacks with a wave of a hand. Wearable technology is also proving useful in workplace wellbeing; a growing but not yet mature area in Australia. Devices like fitness trackers and smartwatches have the potential to monitor exercise, stress levels and even sleep, and the data from these can be used to create a more supportive and desirable working environment.

Emergence of IoT

Half of respondents (51%) stated they felt IoT (Internet of Things) would be important this year, which coupled with the high use of mobile devices, reveals that the market is ready for new technology but more education may be required before the leap to IoT as a mainstream strategy is adopted. In fact a recent study by Hewlett Packard complements this research, citing that that “although 97 percent of the 1,150 respondents from Asia Pacific have an understanding of IoT, many are still unclear of the exact definition of IoT and the value it brings to their organisations”.  In the FM Software Survey, budget was reported to be a challenge this year (69%) which potentially accounts for the low take-up on the newest technology. But on a worldwide scale those who are using IoT have gained a great amount of invaluable data from the devices, which in turn have fuelled insightful business strategies and led to increased productivity.

Request a report of the full survey results, or find out to create a mobile-led FM strategy, by contacting Service Works Group on +44 (0)20 8877 4080 or emailing info@swg.com.

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