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How tech is preparing FM companies for the future

This is how Dubai-based entities are adopting established and new technologies to carry out FM operations

FM technology is gaining traction.
Pixabay
FM technology is gaining traction.

Facility management companies today are facing more challenges than ever before. With building trends shifting from mid-rise structures to towers, construction processes have become more complex and building owners and tenants are seeking improved services.

In addition, there is a growing need for energy- and cost-efficient solutions as building owners look to curtail power and water wastage to reduce utility costs. For facilities management companies, it is necessary to adopt innovative solutions that deliver cost optimisation and help to manage workforce deployment efficiently.

Thanks to technological advancements such as the development of the internet of things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), computerised maintenance management systems (CMMS), and computer-aided facilities management (Cafm), the facilities management industry has experienced significant transformation in recent years.

The construction industry requires efficient systems to manage portfolios of structures, as well as buildings that are under construction. With the rise of IoT, AI, and machine learning, facilities management work has become less labour-intensive and more data-driven.

With the implementation of AI, it becomes more convenient for facility managers to oversee and resolve any problems that affect operations. From heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning systems to smart lighting solutions and automated cleaning systems, facility managers are now looking to technological innovations to reduce costs, enhance services, and save time.

The adoption of automated building solutions is rapidly expanding in the Middle East, and uptake is especially strong in the UAE.

Under its Smart Dubai programme, the emirate’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has begun to use robots to clean Dubai Metro stations. The cleaning robots are equipped with laser-powered sensors and a sonar receiver, which is capable of shifting between spaces and detecting barriers in order to avoid collisions.

According to the RTA, the robots can be pre-set to carry out the automated cleaning of floors and only require human intervention for tasks such as adding water to their 90-litre tanks.

In the current market, Cafm software delivers a host of practical advantages for facility managers in the workplace. For example, Dubai-based Emrill Services utilises Cafm systems to deliver its services. The company launched a housekeeping service delivery application that is operational in Emaar’s Emirates Living master community, which includes the Meadows, the Springs, the Lakes, Emirates Hills, the Greens, and the Views neighbourhoods.

Emrill worked with Indian tracking company Technopurple to develop the technology for its application, which is designed to monitor the delivery of soft facility management services in buildings of all sizes.

For the growing number of facilities management and maintenance companies that are making the switch to Cafm systems, the technology speeds up and simplifies the process of monitoring and managing customer service requests.

Elsewhere, facilities management companies are installing smart sensors in buildings to monitor the facilities remotely, so that only routine maintenance work needs to be assigned to technicians. When backed by tools such as CMMS, these sensors can support the optimisation of a building’s power supply and the management of its utilities.

As well as delivering potentially substantial cost and energy savings, facilities management specialists that successfully keep pace with the rapid advances in technology within the sector will also be able to differentiate themselves by creating value-driven service offerings for both building owners and tenants.

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Construction Week - Issue 744
Jun 15, 2019