From new technology to sustainable solutions that create more efficient and comfortable buildings, Sodexo, Gaithersburg, Md., named the top trends in facilities management to watch for in 2019. Selections cover a variety of topics, including technology, recruiting and retaining employees, data aggregation and sustainability.
"The combination of talented people and technological advances are creating smarter, safer, more inclusive and sustainable environments that are responsive to the needs of people,” says Eric Jouane, vice president of facilities management. “By understanding and anticipating these trends, Sodexo is able to focus its human-centered and experience-based solutions to most effectively boost client performance.”
Sodexo's trends in facilities management include:
- Augmented reality glasses are taking facilities management to a new level. Engineers and technicians can use the augmented reality glasses to communicate in real time with experts, share instant live video and get the guidance they need to solve a problem.
- Chatbot programs are the newest way to ask and receive information. This version of artificial intelligence offers an alternative to live customer support by continually learning from the questions asked by users. Students at schools using the technology can reach out to the campus chatbot for information on anything from the weather to menus at the dining hall to facilities management issues with campus buildings.
- Ultraviolet lights are the latest innovation in the fight against super bugs, viruses, mold, pathogens and bacteria.
Engaging Millennials and Gen Z in trade careers
- Attracting talent in facilities management trade careers is one of the most pressing issues today. The workforce is getting smaller, as fewer young adults are choosing blue collar jobs and older workers are retiring. This has left a significant shortage of skilled talent in facilities management. Providing apprenticeships for high school students through partnerships with schools and giving access to the latest technology are two options to engage younger hires.
- Retaining talent is another challenge in a tight labor market. Providing a path for career growth and leadership opportunities are key to keeping top talent. One example includes creating a think tank within companies to allow employees, both front line and management, to innovate. Employees who feel they are making a difference in their companies are more engaged and happier at work.
Using data to create smarter buildings
- Integrated facility services take advantage of new technologies and the Internet of Things (IoT) while eliminating redundancies that often result when working with multiple service providers. A single service provider can inventory and aggregate data from the client's facility and equipment, allowing the facilities management team to view the client's needs holistically. The data produced by this predictive technology gives facilities management professionals the information needed to predict how their equipment is maintained, repaired and/or replaced.
- Building analytics is one of the fastest growing trends in facilities management. The most popular systems are fully customizable and can monitor and measure all major manufacturers' building controls equipment. They have the capability to analyze data from a variety of systems allowing data collection on benchmark performance, output and energy savings.
- Remote monitoring of commonly installed critical assets, such as mechanical, life safety or lighting equipment provides a 24/7/365 presence for clients. These call centers can identify failures, respond to alarms and resolve the issues remotely, providing support to on-site teams. Having the ability to remotely resolve system failures often eliminates the need to dispatch a service technician, saving clients a tremendous amount of time and money.
- The living building is becoming an affordable reality. In the coming months and years, buildings will make their own energy, whether through solar panels, which are smaller and easier to install; wind energy in areas where air flow can be harnessed for the buildings' benefit; or other types of renewable energy.
- Taking the living building a step further are waste-free buildings, which not only produce their own electricity, but also create minimal waste. This includes paper, food and trash. The building, its occupants and facilities management teams recycle and re-use the building's system components to achieve their sustainable goal.
- Wellbeing (WELL) buildings that are good for the body are one of the hottest trends in facilities management. These "well buildings" utilize low VOC paints; furnishings and carpeting made from natural, non-toxic materials; whole building air and water filtration systems; the maximum amount of natural light; and spaces that are ergonomically designed. Well buildings can be new builds or retrofits.