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Challenge of Internet-of-Things in FM

The Internet-of-Things and the associated management of a network comprised of numerous physical objects is expected to bring fresh challenges to FM sector

Alexander Sophoclis Pieri is the deputy editor of fmME.
Alexander Sophoclis Pieri is the deputy editor of fmME.

The advent of smart city developments bring a whole new range of challenges to the table. One particular issue that is likely to strike a chord with facilities management is the Internet-of-Things (IoT), and the associated management of a network comprised of numerous physical objects.

Falling under IoT are a whole range of devices embedded with electronics, software and sensors, all the while connected to the same network. These can be anything from handheld mobile devices, security cameras around a building’s perimeter, vehicles on the premises, or even fixed sensors within a structure’s HVAC system.

A number of these platforms are already accessible and managed through a structure’s building management system (BMS), as well as computer-aided facilities management (CAFM) system. In fact there are a number of FM operators, who on their respective projects, already manage an entire ecosystem made up of hundreds of different devices.

Of course when you begin to talk about smart cities, the discussion is no longer about a single community, but rathermultiple. Furthermore, accessing and managing each community remotely, becomes an issue not only for the respective FM provider, but also for local governing authority.

Take for example a scenario where a security guard is presented with a situation that requires the involvement of law enforcement. If the said security guard were to be equipped with a body camera with audio, connected to a local community management centre, involving the police would be as simple as granting access.

Police would be able to link directly to the guard’s device and advise them on how to approach the situation, deciding then and there on whether or not to intervene.

A neat little setup, this scenario does open the door to a number of questions, particularly on the type of regulations that need to be in place to allow such a functionality to exist. Compatibility also becomes an increasingly pressing issue for vendors, whose products come with a wide-range of specifications.

Equally as important will also be the topic of big data. As more and more devices become connected under IoT, obviously more data needs to be managed. Data analytics will become the norm, rather than the exception.

Factor in end-users and their valued input, and your community has grown two-fold.

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