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Technology: A key driver in facility management and real estate

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By Ashish Nanda, Group Account Director, JLL, West Asia

Technology has revolutionised the way we live and work, and the real estate industry is no exception. In the past, buying or maintaining any type of asset was a tedious and time-consuming process. However, thanks to technological innovation, consumers can now shop for properties online, tour them virtually, and even automate processes to manage the space.

The pandemic made technological advancement an absolute necessity across all sectors, including real estate. With almost everyone being at home, many processes became online and virtual. This trend has continued in the post-pandemic world too. Today, major players are looking to adapt technology across processes and deliver integrated solutions to the clients.

Technology has also proved to be a powerful driver for effective facilities management. From automating tasks to collecting data and providing insights, technology can help facilities managers improve efficiency, reduce costs, and improve asset performance.

The primary benefits of integrating technology for facilities management are:

Efficiency and cost reduction: Technology solutions such as automation, predictive maintenance, and real-time monitoring enable facility managers to optimise resource allocation, streamline processes, and reduce operational costs. By automating routine tasks and gaining better visibility into facility operations, they can improve efficiency and make data-driven decisions.

Sustainability and energy management: Increasing environmental concerns and the need for energy conservation have prompted facility managers to adopt technology for better energy management. Smart sensors, energy monitoring systems, and building automation help optimise energy consumption, identify inefficiencies, and implement energy-saving measures, contributing to sustainability goals.

Data-driven insights: The availability of vast amounts of data and advanced analytics tools have made data-driven decision making a priority for facility managers. Technology enables the collection, integration, and analysis of data from various sources, providing valuable insights into facility performance, maintenance needs, occupant behaviour, and resource utilisation.

Regulatory compliance and safety: Facility managers face stringent regulations and safety requirements that necessitate accurate record-keeping, compliance monitoring, and emergency preparedness. Technology solutions such as digital documentation, safety management systems, and real-time monitoring help ensure compliance, mitigate risks, and enhance overall safety within facilities.

Enhanced occupant experience: The focus on occupant satisfaction and comfort has become a priority for facility managers. Technology-driven solutions, such as smart building controls, mobile apps for service requests, and personalized environmental settings, can improve occupant experience, engagement, and productivity.

Remote operations and connectivity (remote working): Technology enables facility managers to remotely monitor and control facility systems, access real-time data, and collaborate with stakeholders. With the rise of remote work and distributed teams, connectivity and remote operation capabilities have become essential for efficient facility management.

While there are several innovations that are easing and streamlining processes in facilities management, the space for continuous progress remains. The future brings several exciting technologies that can greatly support facility management and real estate. These include:

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML): AI and ML algorithms can analyse large amounts of data to derive insights and make predictions. In facility management and real estate, AI can automate processes, optimise energy usage, forecast maintenance needs, and personalize occupant experiences based on preferences and patterns.

Internet of Things (IoT) and Smart Building Technology: IoT allows for the interconnectivity of devices and sensors within buildings. Smart building technology can monitor and control various systems, such as lighting, HVAC, security, and occupancy, to enhance energy efficiency, comfort, and safety. IoT-enabled sensors can collect real-time data for predictive maintenance, space utilisation optimisation, and improved operational efficiency.

Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR): AR and VR technologies offer immersive experiences that can transform facility management and real estate operations. AR can assist facility managers with on-site maintenance and repairs by overlaying digital information on physical objects, while VR can enable virtual property tours, design visualisation, and remote collaboration.

Blockchain Technology: Blockchain has the potential to revolutionise real estate transactions and property management. It can facilitate secure and transparent property ownership records, streamline lease agreements, enable decentralised property listings, and automate property management processes, including rent collection and maintenance tracking.

Advanced Energy Management Systems (EMS): Future EMS solutions will incorporate more sophisticated algorithms and AI capabilities to optimise energy usage, integrate renewable energy sources, and enable demand response strategies. These systems will provide enhanced control and flexibility over energy consumption and costs.

Robotics and Automation: Robots and automated systems can play a significant role in facility management and real estate operations. They can perform tasks such as cleaning, maintenance, security, and inventory management with greater efficiency and accuracy, freeing up human resources for more complex and strategic activities.

These future technologies have the potential to transform facility management and real estate practices by enhancing operational efficiency, sustainability, occupant experience, and decision-making capabilities. By embracing these advancements our teams (facility managers) and real estate professionals can stay ahead of the curve and unlock new opportunities for clients and business.

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