This is the first is a series of articles from Prabhu Ramachandran, founder and CEO of Facilio Inc, an enterprise-wide platform for facilities O&M (Operations & Maintenance) across real-estate portfolios, headquartered in New York (US) and with operations in USA, Middle East and India.
What do you suppose the ideal primary focus of a commercial operation can be distilled down to? Is it creating the maximum output from available resources? What about managing workflows and teams optimally? Would you prefer the core emphasis be on meeting customer expectations and delivering unique, best in class experiences? The truth of the matter is that modern CRE operations must deliver on all these fronts and to their maximum potential. In the case of managing diversified building portfolios this is easier said than done. While operational efficiency is the keystone to the success of any business endeavour, defining what this entails for the typical commercial real estate business makes the significant challenges involved immediately apparent.
An innovative new data-driven model in commercial real estate operations is now making it possible to optimize asset performance and achieve centralized and real-time management, at an enterprise scale. The average building portfolio consists of numerous properties, of different ages, using dozens of vendor specific automation and software, across multiple locations. Naturally, a single centralized platform to collate operational data and glean actionable insights is ideal, but is this even possible? Fortunately, the convergence of IoT, Machine Learning, AI and Cloud Computing is making just such a solution possible. Perhaps most significantly, this giant leap forward is possible without the need for huge capex outlays, or having to deal with disruption in operations.
Why Building Operations are the next great frontier for Digital Transformation
The automation driven upgrade of commercial real estate assets, of a few decades ago – which we can label CRE 1.0 – was focused on embedding buildings with hardware that delivered improved services and enhanced performance. CRE 2.0, a more recent adoption of appropriate technologies, consisted of CaFM and other software suites, designed to act as point solutions for property management, maintenance, energy management, occupant applications etc. What both these previous eras were unable to deliver, however, was centralized command and control, which could help commercial real estate businesses create optimal outcomes for all stakeholders, and across all processes. In fact, it can be argued that although the digital solutions that were part of CRE 2.0 might have added some efficiencies within specific functions, they also made management more complex, rather than intuitive.
While the CRE 3.0 approach is also a software based enhancement of the real estate business model, it is being driven by the genesis of tech-agnostic digital platforms. This upgraded model of commercial real estate management leverages previously siloed and hard to reach operational data, collates it centrally, and facilitates decision making based on real time insights, to harness system-scale efficiencies. This next generation of CRE innovations has not set out to make previous technologies redundant. Rather, it extracts insights from the data they are constantly generating, creates complete portfolio-wide transparency, and allows the highly specific management of each constituent element, to produce the most desirable systemic outcomes possible.
Centralized IoT and Machine Learning based platforms and Cloud hosted appsIntegrating siloed automation and operations through the means of a centralized software platform instantly resolves commercial real estate’s inherent complexities and provides a single, unified tool to optimize operations across all its many facets and components.
IoT technology, deployed across existing automation within buildings, allows data to be acquired and collated at a single central repository. By subjecting this data to the analysis of AI algorithms, commercial real estate business owners can now generate real time insights that their assets and workforces can immediately put to use. Machine Learning allows the system to learn from operations on an ongoing basis, allowing the entire system to be proactive and predictive. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Cloud computing gives all stakeholders, from owners and facilities managers to individual technicians and workforce managers, instant access to targeted, accurate and reliable information to make data-driven decisions.
From using energy in sync with established usage patterns and identifying the need for servicing or replacing individual elements in automation, to rapid auditing, inventory, issue prioritization and fulfilling compliance requirements, the CRE 3.0 model of building operations is unencumbered by diverse locations, multiple vendor specific protocols and third party applications
Enhanced management, processes and user experiences
The benefits of having an integrated view of operations are obvious, but the secondary enhancements are perhaps even more significant to commercial real estate business bottom-lines. Enhanced and delightful tenant experiences, within well managed and proactive properties, translate to a portfolio becoming the brand of choice among end-users. Energy and cost savings have a direct impact on profitability and maintaining the performance of physical assets predicatively results in optimal productivity.
The most compelling aspect of CRE 3.0 solutions is that they can be deployed at a relatively low capital outlay; it leverages existing technologies and assets rather than replaces them. Not only does this data- driven and IoT, AI, Machine Learning and Cloud computing based enhancement of building portfolios result in a unified view of the business, it can be integrated into operations without causing seismic disruptions and an extended learning curve for workforce.
About the Author
Prabhu Ramachandran is the founder and CEO of Facilio Inc, an enterprise-wide platform for facilities O & M (Operations & Maintenance) across real estate portfolios, headquartered in New York (US) and with operations in USA, Middle East and India. Prabhu’s career spans over 18 years of product, business and customer experience focused on enterprise-scale software for IoT- based connected services, sustainable building solutions, and telecom network management.
Headquartered in New York (USA), with operations in UAE and India, Facilio is the world’s first and only IoT and data-driven enterprise platform for real-time, multi-site facilities operations & maintenance (O&M). Its optimization software combines IoT, AI and Machine Learning technologies to provide the construction and commercial real estate businesses unified and predictive command and control, across their entire operation. For more information please visit: https://facilio.com/