Where’s Facilities Management Headed in 2019?

This is the fourth in a series of posts by Vernon Turner, globally recognized as one of the Top 50 IoT experts, focusing on the impact of emerging technologies across business processes.

As we enter 2019, many of us in the advisory and consulting world attempt to look at the market trends and signals with an eye at predicting what the future may hold. One industry that makes me excited for this coming year is facilities management, where there are numerous areas of technology innovation and business model disruptions.

Facilities management is such a broad area; FM teams can be responsible for anything from a tiny storefront with a grocery store to a multinational retail or restaurant chain to a massive factory floor full of automated machinery.

However, much of the change will be driven by one common element – the network-attached asset. Previously, equipment like air conditioning units simply sat on a rooftop where they either worked or didn’t work. Now, as a result of embedded sensors on these units, it gives rise to the intelligent, smart and connected air conditioner, part of the Internet of Things (IoT).

The ripple effect of IoT technology as a source of real-time data for facilities management will be significant in 2019. For example, adjacent industries such as supply chain management will be impacted by IoT devices as predictive and preventative maintenance becomes a standard feature of any operations-critical asset.

#1 On-Asset Analytics:

By 2020, 35% of operations-critical assets that support building and facilities (such as lighting and cooling systems) will be leveraging cloud-based infrastructure models that are reliant on real-time analytics performed either on the asset or near the asset (promoting the term ‘edge computing’). This asset-generated data will be used to calculate key performance indicators such as preventative or predictive maintenance schedules.

2019 FM Predictions#2 Building Data:

By 2020, Building Management Solutions (BMS) will become the most valuable software platform for facilities management. The BMS will become the gateway with information on everything related to the structure of the building, to every asset within the building. IT software vendors will challenge traditional building operations suppliers for the ownership of the platform as a source for higher value, data-driven services.

#3 Field Services Shift:

In late 2019, augmented reality (AR) and mobile devices (tablets, smartphones) will drive a shift to the ‘gig’ economy in the Field Service industry with local ‘for hire’ experts replacing 10% of dedicated field services engineers. This will quickly rise and double to 20% by 2020, as more real-time analytics prescribe step-by-step repairs. During this time, voice-activated or ‘bot’ technology will begin the guided repair process for the service engineer.

Critical to this prediction will be the success of independent and external software service platform companies who will coordinate, manage and measure the service from end-to-end for the customer.

#4 Software Platforms:

The valuation of software service platform companies will grow rapidly in 2019 and 2020 as they become the central external point for facility management ecosystems. As they track, store and analyze all of the elements of the service workflow, their knowledge of asset quality and service repair will drive valuable and monetized services that manufacturers, underwriters and customers will seek.

One additional outcome will be an interest in mergers and acquisitions of services platform companies by the likes of insurance companies to better write policies for the whole ecosystem.

#5 ‘Digital’ Assets:

In 2019, manufacturers of high-value assets or equipment will begin to create and share digital representations of their products. These ‘digital twins’ will mimic in great detail the physical representation of the asset. Tying the digital twin to the real, smart and connected IoT-based physical asset will set the stage of new service repair innovation. However, because this approach will initially be used on the most valuable assets, investments in skills training and augmented reality (AR) equipment will limit it to the top 5% of all repairs.

By 2021, global logistics companies will partner with these manufacturers and software service platform companies to begin a new manufacturing process, a 3D Print, of the digital twin. The outcome for the end customer will be faster and higher quality, repair-driven, real-time and accurate data from the IoT-based asset. In addition, access to this data will set off another wave of mergers and acquisition as a result of these high-value services.

VCauseway-Connectionsernon Turner, founder and principal of Causeway Connections LLC, a strategic advisory and consulting firm focused on the use of The Internet Of Things as a source of industry disruption, is globally recognized as one of the Top 50 IoT experts.

Having helped to build the IoT research domain at IDC, Vernon is now providing strategic advice to clients who see the opportunity to change the way they manage their equipment and businesses. Vernon can be found on Twitter as @vernonxt, on LinkedIn and at www.causewayconnections.com.The way of executing facilities management will change and the following are a few industry predictions that we should expect to see in 2019 and beyond.

Photo by Tom Parkes on Unsplash