Technology Trends in Facility Management Report
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Technology Trends in Facility Management Report 2018
W H AT’S I NS ID E The facility management industries adoption of technology is growing at a rapid pace, and this year’s report covers a variety of innovations and how they have expanded on the trends from 2017. Inside this report, you will find the latest data, statistics and trends in technology being used in facilities around the world. For more information on implementing technology in your facilities, download our free ebook on Implementing Facility Management Technology.
Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) Buildings
Internet of Things (IoT) and Smart Devices
Facility Management Software
DRONE TECHNOLOGY In the next year, facility managers can expect to continue seeing drone technology being used in the facility management industry, since more sensors will be modified for unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) applications.8 The increase in drone applications will be in addition to the growing reliance on video inspections predicted last year, since these devices will continue to become more affordable and capable, and facility managers are starting to be more comfortable introducing this technology to their teams.11, 2
“Drones will allow you to get a holistic view of what you are trying to inspect or maintain, whereas today you're taking samples across a campus, roof or facade." Thomas Haun, Senior Vice President of Partnerships at PrecisionHawk8
Drones were originally used for inspecting roofs, towers and other assets difficult or unsafe to physically access through real-life, high-definition video feeds.2 Since then, drones have started to speed up and automate tasks in new ways, because they offer a visual feed of the asset’s condition to the pilot, which can be recorded for documentation purposes, in addition to thermal, multispectral, hyperspectral and LiDAR sensor data. Specifically, they have been used to: • Expedite and better document inspections of assets and areas by recording images and sensor data, used to evaluate potential maintenance needs • Detect energy inefficiencies of buildings with thermal cameras, such as to locate inconsistent wear or fractures hidden from site by siding or roofing tiles • Calculate dimensions of larger spaces, such as parking lots or fields, for capital planning projects The sensor industry currently has a reactionary approach to using its technology with drones. For instance, LiDAR sensors have been used for decades as hand-held devices to map spaces in three dimensions, and vendors attached them to drones for faster, more efficient data collection. In the future, experts say this will be reversed; sensors will be designed for areal applications and then modified for hand-held data collection.8 The transition to using drone technology for these expanding capabilities will be slow, yet steady, as industry leaders in facility management learn about the technology, partner with vendors to identify the potential return on investment (ROI), invest in these systems and share their findings with other facility leaders. Once drone technology becomes better defined and case studies have been completed on the ROI this data can offer, then facility management teams will either choose to purchase their own drones and use the available software to apply the data they collect, or continue to rely on industry partners to help them collect, process and apply the information.
360º CAMERAS Industry partners have found more ways to make 360° cameras technology accessible, which has resulted in them gaining traction in the facility management space in the last year. Also known as omni-directional cameras, it was anticipated that lower cost variations of these cameras would flood the market since teams with tighter budgets could purchase them, but it did not happen in the facility management industry; a smaller price tag does not mean return on investment (ROI) is easier to prove to justify the purchase, so facility teams have looked for help making this technology effective. Instead, facility management teams have relied on vendors to take the photographs, show them how to use the technology and find ways to apply the panoramic images to their programs.2, 7 Even the consumer market is waiting for more direction as platforms are refined.16 Early adopters of 360° cameras in facility management have used them for: • Space audits to assess if a room meets the building standards, such as flooring type, available furniture, paint colors and general wear and tear • Photographic depictions of where the asset is in the room and what it looks like for easy location • Creation of VR facility tours, which are ideal for new hires who don’t understand what different rooms or assets look like
“360° cameras provide an immediate visual of that piece of equipment, room or space. Often times, when you’re having conversations about an asset, you spend a lot of time trying to explain where something is located. Now, you can just show them in a photograph." James Harrod, Business and Operations Manager at UW Health7
Eventually, 360° cameras will live permanently in maintenance rooms so technicians and managers can virtually assess mechanical problems, but, for now, integrations still take time to successfully complete so facility managers can gain confidence with data they have access to and maximize the impact of their investment.7 In the next year, facility managers can anticipate seeing similar trends as more facilities connect with technology partners to invest in this virtual approach to facility management. Partners will continue to help facilities design goal-centered plans, collect pictorial data and find places to store the photos for easy reference, such as in a FMS. 360° cameras have nearly endless applications in the facility management industry and are the crux of other technology trends, such as VR, so advancements will continue to be made, new applications found and more affordable models made.5 Eventually, facility management teams will have their own cameras available for internal use, but, for now, price and application seem to be the two biggest barriers to entry.7
VIRTUAL REALITY (VR) AND AUGMENTED REALITY (AR) BUILDINGS VR and AR have been eagerly adopted by larger, well-funded industries, such as the medical and architectural spaces, but, as reported last year, VR and AR have yet to reach their full potential in the facilities management industry.2 Early adopters stepping into this digital environment have started to explore their options with software partners, specifically to: • Train new employees about where assets are located in facilities through a VR tour • Provide x-ray vision-like views of facilities through AR, where digital plans, including HVAC systems, electrical and plumbing, are overlaid on facility walls to help pinpoint locations for maintenance • Assess information on a maintenance malfunction with VR and an on-site 360° camera before dispatching a technician or leaving to collect the necessary repair materials In the last year, the technology to build these VR and AR platforms is becoming more accessible to developers, so, as facility management teams realize their full potential, it will be easier to work with experts to develop and implement these programs.3 It is predicted that once more wealthy neighboring industries embrace the technology, thought leaders in facility management will start developing a platform so it’s easily integrated in facility management. One example of this is with the architectural industry. Many higher-level teams use VR technology to give clients a seemingly real-life look into the facility that is being designed by restructuring building information modeling (BIM) data into a virtual format. Instead of just looking at a blueprint, they can put on a VR headset, look around the new space and get a better feel for what is being constructed and provide feedback before construction even starts. This introduction of VR in the facilities space will help thought leaders understand other potential applications.
“Early adopters and innovators are going to crack the code on VR and AR to be able to deliver real, distinct value in the facility space. When someone figures that out that value, it's going to spread like wildfire.” Jon Brouchoud, CEO and Founder at Arch Virtual3 In the future, experts anticipate the eventual combination of VR and AR into one headset.3 As of 2018, a VR headset blocks out the vision of the user completely by putting a display inches from their eyes and reduces outside noise with headphones so the user is completely immersed in a different environment. In AR, glasses are worn that provide a digital overlay to the user’s environment. These will be combined, and the user will have dial on the side of the headset to select how much of a VR environment they want to experience.
INTERNET OF THINGS AND SMART DEVICES Last year, the internet of things (IoT) and smart device implementations were still considered to be in their infancy even though they have been available for more than a decade, and, while there is still room for growth in the market, facility management teams continue to adopt more of these systems. • About 15 years ago, facility managers used sensors to monitor asset systems and understand how the systems work. Since then, nearly half of facility teams have integrated heat and humidity sensors in they asset management program.1, 7 • About 10 years ago, early adopters used the data to monitor energy spend and find ways to reduce the carbon footprints of HVAC, lighting and other systems.6 • Most recently, artificial intelligence (AI) has been paired with these systems through images and video to help facility managers identify data trends and predict asset downtime.6 Investments in these evolving types of technology, including smart devices and IoT, will continue as the sensors become smaller, more affordable and able to transmit at a wider range, and the facility management market alone is estimated to contribute more than $2 billion to IoT by 2025.2, 17 The focus will be on making asset performance easier to predict as the data is uploaded and analyzed by cloudbased systems, since machines can identify trends faster than people.
“The only way to protect your assets is by putting more people on the ground to monitor performance or deploy real-time sensors with automated performance feedback so you can identify and repair small subcomponent failure before the whole asset fails. It’s not so much diagnosing what the problem is anymore, but extending the life of an asset.” Troy Gonzalez, Chief Engineer at Booz Allen Hamilton6 IoT has been a buzzword for nearly two decades, but it is often confused with building management systems and smart devices and buildings.4, 18 While these technologies are usually designed to reduce the amount of wasteful energy-use and improve occupant comfort without relying on people-power to manually adjust systems, there are significant differences. Internet of Things A collection of devices that connect to a larger system through a network, such as the internet, so data can be shared between systems without people manually sharing it with other people or entering it into computers.12 Smart Devices Devices that collect data on a facility and autonomously management different fixtures and assets such as lighting and heating.13 For instance, if a room is not being used, the light will shut off and energy spent on temperature control reduced. Building Management Systems (BMSs) Also known as Building Automation Systems (BAS) and Building Management Control Systems (BMCS), these systems connect with sensors through a network, such as the internet, to monitor and autonomously control larger assets, such as HVAC.15
Collecting LiDAR data with mobile devices has helped facility management teams keep more accurate asset location records and improve floor plan accuracy, but, up until recently, gathering this data took hours and formatting it took days. Handheld mobile LiDAR devices are newer to the mobile market, with the original devices being mounted on tripods to collect data, and can collect data faster and minimize LiDAR shadowing.14 These handheld devices are accurate up to a couple centimeters, which may not be enough for construction purposes where detail needs to be accurate to the millimeter level, but it is detailed enough for facility management teams. The point cloud data LiDAR devices collect can be inputted into a software to be developed into a colorized image, and it can also be imported into a BIM software to base floor plans around. Some of these devices also collect photographs of the facility, so in addition to an accurate model data, there are also updated space images.
“Facilities with dynamic environments, such as industrial plants and manufacturing floors, will start relying on having accurate and up-to-date 3-D data to manage their assets and activities. Other types of facilities may not adopt this technology until later, but, eventually, all facility managers and building owners will expect to have up-to-date documentation of their facilities both in 3-D point clouds and imagery." Amir Rubin, President of Paracosm14 Some instances of how this data is useful include: • Manufacturing shops with large pieces of machinery that are regularly rearranged • New building sites where grade and space measurements need to be taken before design starts • Older buildings that need digitized floor plans, since their previous copies are outdated and on paper In the next year, more facility management teams will see how mobile, handheld LiDAR devices are practically applied by early adopters of this technology. Eventually, documenting point-in-time data, and continually updating floor plans and asset locations will become standard practice.
FACILITY MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE As projected last year, facility management software (FMS) continues to be the cornerstone of proactive facility management departments with more than half of facilities having a FMS.1 These programs help reduce data inaccuracies, minimize reliance on paper work orders for both regular and preventive maintenance, assist in locating assets in a timely manner and provide digital versions of maintenance and inspection reports linked to the assets themselves.2 In the next year, facility management teams will continue to see: • On-site data collection teams becoming a standard for each software implementation to ensure data and floor plans inputted into the software is accurate • Floor plan viewers on the main interfaces of FMSs including pins of where different assets located are for easy identification • User-friendly interfaces designed specifically for facility management team members and managers, so they can easily access, update and modify asset information and documentation • Work order systems that make preventative maintenance tasks easily scheduleable, workloads virtually manageable and service requests conveniently submittable by occupants to increase communication between the facility team and the facility users Early adopters of FMS have also seen a number of their day-to-day problems reduced, including: • Documentation becoming more organized, which reduce the time it takes to find reports and resources since they are easily linked to assets in a FMS, whether that be previous inspection reports, SDS/MSDS sheets, O&M manuals or previous maintenance history • Reduce the amount of time teams spend reacting to broken or malfunctioning equipment by scheduling regular and preventative maintenance tasks, which will cost less over time and keep teams focused on regular tasks10 • Better coordinated custodial cleaning crews, since accurate space and floor plan data give more accurate task time requirements In the last few years, FMS has seen a revolution as new systems were introduced to help maximize facility management team efficiency, and, as facilities continue to transition to these more robust systems, industry expectations will continue to grow.
“Facility managers have relied on insufficient software to organize and support their departments for decades, but they don’t have to settle for the status quo anymore. Facility Management Software is truly the most powerful way to innovate a facility. The right software can provide not just the tools to become more efficient, but the data collection resources to become more effective in their jobs and make better long-term decisions.” Todd Hoffmaster, Co-Founder and CEO of AkitaBox9 In the future, data collection services will set successful FMS apart from their competitors, since facility management leaders have realized the effectiveness of their FMS is contingent on the quality of the data entered and being referenced by employees. This data is cataloged by on-site data collection teams, converted into Revit® or other CAD files by the FMS team and given to facility management teams. Technicians can reference his data in the FMS on-site through a browser-based interface, whether that be textual documentation or 360° camera photos, in addition to any linked documents, such as O&M manuals or inspection reports.
About AkitaBox At AkitaBox, our mission is to empower building teams to make data-driven decisions that impact the places we live, work and play. As a one-stop shop for data collection, location-based asset mapping and work order management, you are sure to find a solution that meets your needs. With an à la carte service offering, AkitaBox works with you to identify the best solutions to meet your individual facility’s needs. With customtailored training and support, our team of success managers will guide you through the entire process from start to finish in as little as 90 days. To learn more, visit home.AkitaBox.com.
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