In the present day, organizations confront the challenge of effectively managing properties and their services to streamline their core activities. The goal is to cultivate a more humane, efficient, and productive environment.
This seemingly straightforward objective demands coordinated efforts, encompassing diverse areas of management. Key considerations include assessing investments (financial management), designing facilities (space management), maintaining them (operational management), and overseeing the team working within these facilities (user management). Each of these aspects is a realm unto itself, presenting unique challenges. This complexity has only been heightened by the advent of Covid, which has fundamentally altered spatial requirements. Factors such as the need for safety distances have led to less intensive use of spaces, necessitating increased flexibility to enhance profitability.
Despite the presence of various standards in this field, such as the European UNE-EN ISO 41014:2021, a well-guided FM program proves instrumental in facilitating our endeavors.
Modern applications within this sphere leverage cutting-edge technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT). The incorporation of these advancements undoubtedly endows these applications with extraordinary potential.
Towards process automation
In a scenario where margins are constrained by various factors, the imperative to minimize operational costs while enhancing service quality and customer satisfaction becomes evident. Achieving this goal necessitates a transformation of processes, rendering them more digital, responsive, and real-time.
When scrutinizing space management, the proliferation of terms such as the following underscores the growing significance of this domain:
In any case, the common thread is that these systems centralize processes and manage them in an increasingly automated manner.
Sensorization (IoT) and sustainability applied to facility management
Sensors, beacons, RFID trackers, data visualization and analysis tools, and, in some cases, automated vehicles are the new elements that constitute the landscape of so-called "smart" facilities.
Large companies engage in a competition to implement constructions that demonstrate their commitment to sustainability, enhancing energy efficiency, while also building their reputation and, in some cases, serving as a field of research for new projects. This commitment is often underscored by certifications such as BREEAM or LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), which spotlight the company's initiatives in areas such as management, health and well-being, energy, transportation, water usage, materials selection, waste management, ecological land use, pollution control, and innovation. In some instances, these initiatives align with or are mandated by current legislation, perceived by some as an opportunity for positive change.
In this context, while buildings like The Edge, Deloitte's headquarters in Amsterdam, were seen as the penultimate standard for sensorization and sustainability, the latest benchmark appears to be PTK1. Situated in Petach Tikva, Israel, and owned by Intel, PTK1 is hailed as a technological marvel. Intel states that "PTK1 independently executes its various systems and functions, accumulates data, processes it, and uses artificial intelligence (AI) to make decisions." Additionally, the building boasts LEED Platinum certification.
The building's extensive sensor network, boasting 14,000 sensors in contrast to the 7,000 found in other high-tech facilities, plays a pivotal role in monitoring and controlling various aspects such as lighting, temperature, ventilation, parking availability, conference room status, and other services and systems within the building. This results in the generation of an impressive 50 to 100 terabytes of data per day. The data is then analyzed in real time by a facilities management system built on Intel technology.
In pursuit of data integration and, more importantly, facilitating collaboration among stakeholders in Facility Management (FM), the concept of an IoT Platform emerges. This is defined as a unified and integrated environment for data storage, analysis, retrieval, and advanced service management. The platform adopts the notion of centralized data exploitation, thereby supporting the identification and implementation of new advanced strategies for FM operators. These strategies are broadly categorized into three groups, all grounded in the utilization of IoT:
Advantages are accrued as part of an ongoing process, and in this context, the consulting firm McKinsey & Co recommends actionable steps to drive continuous improvement.
The digital twin and facility management
Digital twins have emerged as a prevalent and essential tool in various industries, including industrial production and building construction, as well as in the management and control of facilities.
The digital twin facilitates the virtual "testing" of various scenarios in the workplace before their real-life implementation. Instead of dedicating extensive hours to weigh the benefits of workplace changes prior to physical installation, Facility Managers (FMs) can seamlessly navigate through different points in a building's life cycle. This adaptability allows them to comprehend potential outcomes, enabling a thorough understanding of the of impact decisions before they make their physical presence felt.
Central to the concept of a digital twin is the seamless connection between the physical and digital counterparts of a building. The digital replica mirrors the physical version in terms of design and construction, digitally representing all building services such as lighting, air conditioning, mechanical and electrical installations, controls, and commissioning at any given time. This digital duplicate not only enhances our understanding of how buildings function and how to manage and design them more efficiently during construction but also serves as a valuable tool to investigate reasons behind unexpected building behavior.
Contrary to simply being a 1:1 scale 3D model, a digital twin doesn't need an exhaustive graphical representation. Its graphics are tailored precisely to meet the specific information needs of each client, striking a balance between precision and relevance. Additionally, it requires a substantial amount of associated data linked to the graphical representation. This data becomes a valuable resource, capable of being extracted and integrated into dashboards through Business Intelligence solutions like Microsoft Power BI. Cuatroochenta's proficiency in Power BI and FM applications such as FAMA adds another layer of expertise to further enhance our capabilities.
This statement, featured in the Schneider Electric E-guide, adeptly conveys the notion that there are no instant solutions, but rather a methodical and progressive approach to digitizing various facets of a company—a result of a well-devised strategy. This concept aligns seamlessly with what we've observed in the sensorization section.
The PWC report, "Emerging Trends in Real Estate®: Europe 2022", offers another insightful example in this regard: "We have just completed the initial phase of our distinctive data platform, an 18-month endeavor. Yet, now we can analyze and leverage it." This underscores that we're navigating medium to long-term processes. To ensure success, Facility Managers (FMs) aspiring for a digital twin must steer clear of immediacy, recognizing that obtaining information of such depth is impossible in a short timeframe.
«Integrating IoT and AI into a digital twin plays a pivotal role in FM management. The challenge lies in adopting a medium-term perspective, where the volume of information becomes substantial enough to contribute significantly to informed decision-making»
Similarly, as acknowledged on page 55, 68% of respondents affirm that organizational transformation will be a primary focus in the next five years. This shift is attributed in part to the requirements of property occupiers and consumers seeking greater flexibility and shorter contracts to align with their evolving needs. This demand is often coupled with a desire for elevated amenities, service standards, attention to health and wellbeing, and enhanced digital connectivity. In essence, there's a growing demand for tools that empower us to navigate increasingly variable and demanding conditions.
Drivers of organizational transformation
Properties as a service
Changes in customer demand
ESG Agenda (Environmental, Social, Governance)
Demand for flexibility from tenants and other users
Compete for talent
Source: Emerging Trends in Real Estate® Europe 2022, PWC