How Technology is Helping Facilities Management Teams Tackle Important Real Estate Trends
Real estate conjures up images of modern buildings, creatively landscaped premises and trendy cafes. Facilities Management (FM) is not the first thing that comes to mind.
Yet FM teams that manage maintenance, day-to-day operations, security and occupant safety are the backbone of any successful real estate experience.
Like most functions, FM was undergoing a constant digital transformation that the pandemic has accelerated. The unique demands that Covid-related measures have placed on real estate operations have also accelerated emerging trends that have affected real estate operations.
Here’s how technology is helping FM adapt to these new trends and deliver exceptional tenant experiences.
Greater operational efficiency
Legacy systems currently hamper FM operational efficiency. Typically, companies patch legacy systems at the site level and tinker with a platform at the portfolio level. This process hurts visibility and makes it impossible to integrate modern datasets.
This picture is changing rapidly as operators recognize the true costs of legacy technologies and modernize their operations.
While IoT renovations increase operational efficiency, it’s best to take a digital approach to real estate projects. Connected buildings simplify multiple FM tasks, from managing contractor relationships to timely service responses, by bringing together all operation and maintenance (O&M) stakeholders on a single platform. glass, allowing better cross-functional visibility and alignment.
Large FM teams can now engage with transparency while automating administrative tasks such as approvals, reporting and inspections. With a smart, digitally driven approach to O&M, employees can redirect their energies from non-business value tasks and focus on productive activities that generate revenue.
Changing tenant expectations
As tenants demand more from their spaces, the results of urban real estate projects have changed. Fast-growing tech companies need open space that scales with growth, requiring flexible rental terms. Trends such as remote working and coworking have also increased demands for shared offices, with more occupiers but leaving the same rental ticket sizes.
The result is that FM has effectively become a recruiting tool. The more creative an office space is and the more flexibility it offers, the more likely a company is to attract top talent.
The demand for flexibility and customization also extends to residential real estate. Tenants, long accustomed to apps that anticipate their needs, expect building management teams to deliver seamless digital experiences.
The digital transformation of FM has proven to be a boon for building operators. Processes such as rent collection, maintenance and lease extension requests can be automated. Additionally, with visibility into tenant usage data and payment statuses, any flexibility in rental terms can be easily built in.
Modern computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS) also give tenants better control of their spaces. Solutions can provide employees with control over workspace booking and environment settings, and gather invaluable feedback that serves FM teams. FM teams can also monitor and automate safety and security levels by setting danger thresholds that reduce risk to occupants.
The result is a personalized experience, greater tenant retention and stable occupancy rates. So while tenants might drive the ultimate need to digitize real estate operations, every FM stakeholder needs to be involved in the change for it to succeed.
Greater environmental sustainability thanks to FM
Sustainability is increasingly guiding consumer decisions and government regulations. Climate resilience is at the top of discussions in the real estate sector, as evidenced by the UAE’s top spot in the risk and preparedness rankings. FM teams need data to improve building operations and prove their commitment to regulatory standards.
For example, tracking energy efficiency and reducing costs is impossible without data analytics. These analyzes are an essential part of FM workflows, given the current state of energy prices. IoT-enabled buildings provide a real-time view of a building’s operations to FM teams, giving them data-driven insights for rapid decision-making.
FM teams can automate asset control workflows through IoT-enabled sensors. These sensors detect the absence of occupants and turn off lights and HVAC systems when not in use, reducing energy consumption.
Technological innovation has also extended to back-end systems. AI-powered O&M systems monitor asset usage trends and increase asset life. These systems increasingly underpin real estate projects, with older buildings undergoing IoT retrofits and new buildings constructed with a digital-first approach.
The result of these innovations is a reduced carbon footprint and continued environmental compliance.
About the Author
Prabhu Ramachandran is the founder and CEO of Facilio