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Exploring 'Smart Skills' required for Smart Cities

How often do we think about the ‘Smart Skills’ required in facilities management to operate and maintain Smart Cities?

Sarah Davis is the CEO of Skills4Stem.
Sarah Davis is the CEO of Skills4Stem.

The term Smart Cities has become very familiar in recent years, but how often when you use this term do we think about the ‘Smart Skills’ required in facilities management to operate and maintain these Smart Cities?

If a smart city is all about using ICT to improve the quality and performance of services, as well as improving the communication between citizens and government, then the smart skills required by FM will be just as important.

How many of us today have smart phones and have never used the full capability of the device due to a lack of awareness or knowledge? Smart buildings could be the same without an effective FM service.

Smart cities make an even stronger case for the integration of the design and build teams, as well as the facilities management teams, because if the technology does not work as designed, it will not offer the advantages it has been promoted to deliver.

So what future skills will be required within Facilities Management to operate and maintain smart cities?

We are already starting to see a new generation FM total service approach which looks beyond the traditional soft and hard services. In the near future an FM package will probably also include front of house teams comfortable with complex graphical user interfaces (GUI’s), displaying not only user information but also building performance information (energy use, carbon footprint, water use etc.), as well as ‘on-demand’ logistics platforms and concierge services.

The housekeeping teams will become part/fully automated, using internal drones/bots and other technology devices. The facilities engineers will be required to have electrical engineering and software engineering backgrounds and they will be able to solve some software issues remotely even globally.

We will probably also see FM providers offering automated teaching aids to inform and enable users to access personalised building services (cooling, lighting etc.) in commercial as well as domestic environments.

I think it is also highly likely we will see FM providers develop and manufacture FM wearable technology to improve an individual’s comfort, functionality and accessibility within their environments leased to clients for use.

We may also see FM provider’s offer health screening to their client’s for their workforces with the accessibility of high quality cost effective wearable health technology.

I believe we will start to see more FM providers actively engaging with agile industry innovators within the smart cities and technology spheres. This will give insight and spark ideas on where they can add value to their clients.

I also hope the formal FM training programmes will start to accommodate the demand for different skills and technology knowledge and provide talent ready for the smart cities.

Smart cities could give facilities management an even greater opportunity for growth and diversity of services. I think the FM providers that seize the opportunities smart cities will bring and can offer the smart skills to complement these spaces will benefit enormously.

Next time you think smart cities think about the smart skills required.

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