At a recent conference a senior figure at a real estate investment firm told delegates that facilities managers and landlords had to be smarter about how they used data in relation to space because not all data was relevant. After all there is only so much one can get out of yet more software telling landlords how meeting rooms are being used. But building managers can use data smartly. Here are some of the ways in which it can be done.
Artificial intelligence building systems
Artificial intelligence is already being applied to many aspects of the facilities management industry. If there is an operational problem in a building, users want immediate answers and swift solutions. A lot of AI systems can do this now as a problem occurs. This is mostly by monitoring real-time data so that correlations between existing performance and potential malfunctions can be made and this pre-empts the need for repair or replacement before a problem occurs.
Using drones can benefit productivity and efficiency and also safety. Drones can complete tasks despite weather conditions and dangerous substances. They can also be sent into hard-to-reach areas. For instance, in very dangerous areas such as structurally damaged post-earthquake buildings a drone can be sent in to assess damage and repairs rather than putting a worker at risk.
Energy monitoring and measurement
Artificial intelligence can take a complex set of calculations that create a building's performance model and automate them. Then new variables such as weather and occupancy can be used to provide energy consumption data. Using this data, FMs can determine what a building's energy consumption is before and after a retrofit. It is a more accurate way to track energy than simply looking at energy bills. Again, it gives building mangers a chance to pre-empt any issues before going ahead with any major design changes.
More offices with an open-plan design now exist and more employers are using flexible work arrangements. This means there may be unoccupied office space which can be a costly problem for owners and operators of a building. Using indoor space sensors can help predict demand at different times - whether planning for a new open-plan office or for the day-to-day management of a workspace. Another example is when it comes to the cleaning of premises. Cleaners would regularly clean all busy spaces that are consistently used. But using sensors to track when spaces need to be cleaned based on actual use can help predict demand and even devise a schedule for cleaners.
Many companies spend a significant amount of funds on the indoor safety of their offices. Artificial intelligence presents sophisticated solutions that can help with this even further. For instance, using a key card for accessing certain systems and even facial, retina or fingerprint recognition technology. This technology is already being used with everyday items such as mobile phones, so it would not be surprising if it also starts being used in building security.