2022 is set to be the year of tech in a variety of sectors, including the modern workforce. For facilities managers, this means that adapting to these resources will set you on a track for strategic growth while optimizing your facility for daily workflows. But with the Great Resignation, you want to stay ahead of the game, right? Right. Teams of all sizes will have to pivot and adjust to the modern workforce and the trends driving decision-making for employees, partners, and customers alike. Today, our team of operations software experts at SCLogic discuss the top trends for facilities managers in 2022, and how you can lead your team to success through resources such as VR, AR, BIM, AI, and machine learning (don’t worry, we’ll break down all the acronyms for you)!
Virtual and Augmented Reality Provide Detailed Facilities Insights
What is the Difference Between AR and VR?
By now, we know you’ve heard of virtual reality and how it has impacted the technology sector for entertainment purposes. So, how can virtual and augmented reality work for businesses, specifically in facilities management? First, let’s break down the differences between augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). AR is used as an extension to a user’s real-life experience, morphing the physical world into a digital and visual one by projecting virtual pictures and characters through a device’s camera or video viewer. VR takes this to the next level by creating a completely computer-generated simulation, allowing for an immersive experience using equipment such as computers, sensors, and headsets. While the two terms are generally used in conjunction, AR and VR are separated by certain distinctions. AR is used in a real-world setting, while VR is used in a computer-generated setting, and AR can be used with a smartphone, while VR typically requires additional devices.
Virtual Reality for Maintenance Management
So, how does this work for facilities managers? AR and VR are fantastic tools for the facilities management realm and are only expected to grow. In fact, the AR and VR market was at 30.7 billion in 2021 and is set to reach $300 billion by 2024 – that’s an 877% increase over the span of 3 years! VR has now made it possible to create digital 3D renderings of facilities and incorporates BIM, or building information modeling, with VR technology to provide detailed building maps to help plan, design, build, and maintain facilities. Additionally, VR helps your team save significant time and money on workplace inspections and audits by creating renderings of internal equipment systems, including plumbing, electrical, HVAC, and more. Facilities workers can gain insight into the internal health of their buildings, schedule proactive maintenance, and troubleshoot without having to disrupt the building’s internal structures.
Augmented Reality for Asset Management
On the AR front, enhancements in AR technology provide asset managers with a deeper understanding of their asset health. Like VR for maintenance management, AR for asset management works similarly by creating a digitized view of “hidden” assets or assets that may be hard to get to, such as pipes or dangerous spaces within your facility. For example, you can scan an AR sensor with a smartphone, iPad, or other similar devices to pull specific data points and a digital overview of how the asset should look and function. As a result, your team can ensure that assets are still working properly within their lifecycle status and optimize maintenance schedules by troubleshooting issues promptly without unnecessary disruption to your facility.
BIM Trends for Facility Construction & Planning
BIM, or building information modeling, is another trend for 2022 that will continue to grow in the coming years. Set at $5.71 billion in market value for 2020, BIM is anticipated to hit $11.96 billion by 2027, at a CAGR of around 11%. BIM is the process of digitally representing the functional and physical characteristics of a building, taking a holistic approach to the design, construction, and maintenance of the building as a collaborative effort through a single digital monitoring system. With operational demands growing and a fluctuating supply chain for building resources, the need for modern and innovative building technologies is imperative to propel safe and effective growth.
Not only does BIM help with the initial construction phases of a building, but it plays a substantial role in helping facilities managers learn the intricacies of their facility, manage the building’s life cycle effectively, and obtain a detailed guide to servicing and monitoring their facility with minimal maintenance cost. In addition to asset and maintenance management in the early stages of the construction process for maximizing space utilization, BIM promotes efforts in sustainability by helping you identify consumption statistics and gaps in which you can compare alternative solutions to reduce costs and your carbon footprint. BIM helps set your facility on a trajectory for growth and integrates your business into the needs and desires of the modern workforce.
Machine Learning and AI for Facility Optimization
Last but certainly not least, we’re talking about machine learning and AI for the future of facilities management. While closely connected (like connections between AR and VR), machine learning and AI are not the same. AI, or artificial intelligence, is the capability of a computer to mimic human cognitive functions, such as problem-solving, and uses math and logic to simulate reasoning as a response. Machine learning, in turn, is an application of AI, which uses data to help a computer system learn without direct instruction, improving on its own through experience. Essentially, AI performs tasks independently, while machine learning is how that computer system develops intelligence.
Energy Demand Management & Monitoring Through AI
Back to the topic of sustainability, machine learning and AI bring further sustainability benefits, which is a fantastic addition for large-scale facilities. Essentially, AI allows for measurement and verification (M&V) of a building’s performance model and automates them through a complex set of calculations. AI gathers the data and correlates this between factors such as weather, energy, and occupancy – which is continuously shifting with the growth of the hybrid workforce, and adapt energy consumption to maximize sustainability efforts and reduce costs. Additionally, AI helps with demand management for energy, predicting which times facilities managers should invest additional electricity needs and when they want to avoid unnecessary electricity and high demand charges.
AI Brings Additional In-Building Security for the Modern Workforce
Outside of improved task completion and operations monitoring, a large trend in the facilities management realm is using AI to improve internal security for your facility. Some companies, such as Alcatraz AI in California, have even adopted facial recognition technology as a form of increased security. While this may be slightly controversial, there is no doubt AI will become an integral part of facilities management in the coming years.
As the Millennial and Gen-Z workforce continues to grow, optimizing your facility with AI and innovative technologies will only benefit your team. The average age of a facilities manager is 50 years old, and as time passes and technology becomes increasingly complex, employee adoption becomes more difficult. AI solutions attract potential employees from the younger generations, many of whom have excessive experience with a variety of applications and technologies.
Begin Your Facility Optimization Process with SCLogic
At SCLogic, we provide a comprehensive in-building logistics solution through our software, Intra, serving enterprise and higher education clients of all sizes. With over 25 years of experience working with facilities in manufacturing, government, healthcare, finance, entertainment, education, and more, we have been there through each wave of technology growth and adapted impeccably. Our goal is to provide your team with a tool that incorporates modern technology such as business intelligence, extensive reporting and analytics options, and myriad integrations, all while solving the most frequent pain points in your daily facilities workflows. If you’re ready to move your facility into the modern era, email [email protected] or schedule a demo with our team today.
PS – we just released our newest version of Intra, V8. With a mobile-first interface, streamlined workgroups, and enhanced employee experience at your fingertips, you don’t want to miss out on this.