Interconnected fire alarms, self-cleaning windows, digital management systems – the amount of tech innovations in facilities management is as exciting as it is daunting. Some solutions can help you improve important KPIs like revenue, tenant comfort and carbon footprint. Other solutions may look good in theory, but leave a lot to be desired in practice.
With new tech start-ups launching on a daily basis, navigating through what works and what doesn’t can be difficult. In this article, we take a look at some of the most clever tech innovations that you should know about in 2020.
Post-it notes have been around since the ’70s, and digital spreadsheets like Excel have been helping with record-keeping since the ‘80s. While digital spreadsheets are great in their own right, just consider the technological advancements that have occurred since the ’80s. In 2020, there are numerous software solutions specifically designed for facilities management. If you’re still finding yourself punching numbers into a spreadsheet, it’s high time for a change.
By using facilities management software, several repetitive tasks can be automated, such as the gathering and compiling of various data sources. A cloud-based facilities management software that also comes with a smartphone app allows you to collect and access your data at all times. Rather than having important information scattered across many separate systems, you can store all information in one place.
Self-cleaning windows deserve more attention. Keeping windows clean in several buildings requires manpower and strong chemicals. Self-cleaning windows use UV-light from the sun to break down and remove organic dirt from the glass when it rains. The process is environmentally friendly, keeps the windows clean and can eliminate the need for external cleaning of glass facades and windows.
You may have already moved from reactive maintenance to preventive maintenance. While this is a step in the right direction, unfortunately, equipment doesn’t break down according to a fixed schedule. Furthermore, doing continuous maintenance rounds and repairs on fully functional equipment is costly and time-consuming. Predictive maintenance solves all these challenges.
Predictive maintenance solutions analyze the data retrieved from equipment and inform technicians about when equipment is acting abnormally or showing signs of deterioration. This removes the need for continuously scheduled repairs and reduces the risk of breakdowns, outage and costly downtime. With maintenance only being performed as needed, the cost savings can be large. According to the Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, predictive maintenance can lead to a reduction in maintenance costs of up to 30%.
“A well-orchestrated predictive maintenance program will all but eliminate catastrophic equipment failures.” - Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy
Predictive maintenance solutions are often based on digital twins. A digital twin is a virtual copy of a specific piece of equipment. By building a digital twin and gathering the sensor data from the equipment, you will be able to develop a predictive model. This enables you to not only identify which piece of equipment is about to have a failure, but which specific part needs to be repaired.
With Industry 4.0 in full effect, IoT is one of the most popular topics in 2020. But how can you enable IoT if your equipment isn’t able to communicate with each other?
Replacing equipment in order to achieve data transparency is expensive and often wasteful. Disposing of machines with a twenty or thirty-year life span hurts your triple bottom line. Why replace machinery that works perfectly fine? Innovative solutions have set out to solve this issue through digital retrofitting.
Digital retrofitting allows you to get data without replacing your legacy equipment. One example of digital retrofitting are sensors that can be placed on your equipment to gather data and transfer this to monitoring software.
Take a garage door for instance. Modern garage doors can provide you with data on how many times the door opens in a day. This insight can help you identify at what times the garage door is being used and when it needs maintenance. What happens if you want to make your current garage door smart without the need for replacing your legacy system?
With digital retrofitting, you can enable predictive maintenance by placing a counting sensor on the garage door and you will have access to the exact same insight at a fraction of the cost. This will in turn enable predictive maintenance in your building and help you reach your energy and sustainability goals. And no equipment replacement was necessary.
While drones aren’t anything new, their use has expanded tremendously over the past years. Facilities managers are now able to use drones to access difficult-to-reach areas in buildings without the need for lifts and scaffolding. With a camera streaming live to your remote control or smartphone, you can easily inspect all the corners of the building and assess damage and repairs.
Drones can also be fitted with sensors to detect abnormalities in temperature or humidity. This allows you to easily identify the source of leaks or cracks in the building.
With all these technological advancements, it’s an exciting time to be working in facilities management. Leveraging the right solutions, you are able to do predictive maintenance and asset management, increase efficiency and enable smart cleaning with ease.
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