12 Facility Management Technology Trends for 2022
The world of facility management is always evolving. Facility management professionals today are tasked with not only improving operations and reducing costs, but also creating a better overall work environment.
In recent years, dozens of facility management technology solutions have emerged, including more advanced facility management software and mobile applications. The pandemic also changed the way we work as new concerns about employee health and safety arose and more companies shifted to hybrid workplaces.
To stay successful in facility management, you need to be able to adapt quickly to changes as they happen. Here are 12 facility management technology trends we believe will have the greatest long-term impact.
12 facility management technology trends
1. Strategic space planning tools
Prior to the pandemic, space management primarily revolved around maximizing occupancy and minimizing costs. While those are still important concerns, the priorities have changed to focus more on improving overall space utilization and space quality to create the best possible experience for employees who may not be in the office every day. When employees return to the office, they don’t necessarily want to sit shoulder-to-shoulder as they may have before. Their greatest need will be to feel safe, both physically and psychologically. At the same time, business leaders need to account for the fact that the workforce will likely use office real estate differently. They may need to reconfigure some spaces or make other spaces reservable instead of assigned to specific employees.
Strategic space planning tools like Space-Right can help you instantly adjust your office spaces for safety or plan for specific scenarios. Other space planning solutions can help you forecast future needs, manage leases, and properly allocate resources and charge them back to different tenants or departments.
2. Touchless workplace technology
The pandemic has increased demand for touchless technologies by making us more aware of how often we use shared surfaces. In addition to being more sanitary, touchless technology contributes to a frictionless environment that is becoming the new standard. We can expect to see more workplaces adopting touchless, sensor-enabled solutions like smart lighting, HVAC systems that adjust based on occupancy, and touchless visitor management systems that allow guests to pre-register and simply scan a QR code when they arrive instead of waiting in a crowded lobby.
3. Advanced HVAC technology
Heating, cooling, and ventilation comprise a significant portion of your building’s electric bill. Any way to cut back on energy consumption is a big win, both financially and environmentally. New HVAC technology powered by the Internet of Things (IoT) is making it easier than ever to curb energy usage while improving the workplace experience. This technology can help your team identify and reduce energy waste, automate climate regulation, and stay on top of HVAC preventive maintenance. Smart thermostats and climate zones help keep areas comfortable for employees while ensuring server rooms and other equipment areas stay cool. HVAC analytics can also help you identify potential issues with equipment before it breaks down.
4. Enterprise asset management (EAM) software
In addition to managing buildings and the employee experience, many facilities leaders are also responsible for managing assets and contributing to capital planning and purchasing. To do this effectively, they need access to data that allows them to perform a cost analysis and determine whether it makes the most sense to repair or replace aging building systems or equipment.
They need clear answers to the question of whether to buy or lease. They also want to extend the life of their buildings and equipment as much as possible. Enterprise asset management software consolidates data on every owned or leased asset into one place and makes it actionable. It makes it easy to calculate asset performance based on runtime while also storing data on previous inspections, failures, and repairs so FMs can make decisions with all the information at their fingertips. They can also schedule preventive maintenance activities, assign work orders, and conduct inspections anywhere.
5. Building information modeling (BIM) technology
Building information modeling is the process of creating and managing digital models of physical buildings. While it’s by no means a “new” technology, it has become much more powerful in recent years. BIM technology enables organizations to visualize specific components of a space, including structural elements like walls and windows and exact asset locations. Modern BIM is a highly intelligent, supercharged version of 3-D modeling.
Originally developed to assist architects and contractors in the design and construction of new buildings, the applications of BIM have evolved to include the improvement of maintenance plans and space management processes. BIM helps facility managers make data-driven decisions about space utilization, energy consumption, and redesigns.
This will be especially helpful as you consider how to adjust your real estate and space planning strategies in the coming year, following the coronavirus pandemic.
6. Machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI)
AI-based technologies use computer systems to perform complex tasks that previously required human intelligence — for example, speech recognition, visual perception, and decision making. Machine learning is a type of artificial intelligence that enables building systems to automatically collect and analyze data to predict outcomes from experience without being explicitly programmed. AI can replace many repetitive and tedious facility management tasks. For example, it can collect, store, and analyze massive data sets in seconds. It also allows facilities leaders to be more proactive when it comes to asset performance management. If a system detects a potential issue, it will send an automated update. This can help you correct the issue before it becomes a bigger problem.
7. Smart building technology
Smart buildings, or structures that use automated processes and connected technology powered by the Internet of Things (IoT), have been around for more than a decade. Once considered cost-prohibitive for many organizations, they are becoming more accessible. Smart building elements, such as intelligent lighting, heating, cooling, and security, allow facilities managers to be more responsive and efficient. They can also monitor environmental factors, such as temperature and humidity.
Using IoT sensors, smart building facilities management technologies are always collecting data about the workplace and the workforce, which can help FMs make adjustments faster.
For example, you can easily adjust temperature and lighting based on occupancy. And when these technologies are connected to an integrated workplace management system (IWMS), all of that data is consolidated into a single platform where you and your team can make better-informed decisions.
8. IoT sensors
Like smart buildings, IoT sensors unlock valuable insights facility management leaders can use to reduce real estate costs and improve the overall workplace experience for employees. Integrating sensors with your facility management system can also make room booking, maintenance, and asset management more efficient.
With concerns about COVID-19 lingering, even after organizations have started returning to the workplace, facility managers will continue spending a greater percentage of their time keeping the office sanitized and clean. These additional cleaning and sanitization protocols can be time-consuming and costly, especially when many workplaces are at reduced occupancy.
Sensors like those designed by our marketplace partners, including CoWorkr and VergeSense, show exactly which spaces have been used throughout the day so you can adjust your cleaning schedule accordingly, which saves your facility management team time and reduces cleaning costs.
This allows for more intelligent, responsive maintenance and cleaner, safer workplaces.
9. Employee experience apps
Modern facility management isn’t just about maintaining buildings. It’s about managing the changing needs of the workforce. As the workforce becomes increasingly distributed and mobile, employees need a quick way to access the people, spaces, and services that allow them to be productive.
Mobile workplace apps with this capability do more than improve the employee experience, they also collect valuable real-time data that can improve operational efficiency and help business leaders and facility management teams plan ahead.
For instance, if your workplace has decided to eliminate assigned seating in favor of a more flexible seating model like desk hoteling, your employees will need an easy way to reserve desks. As a facility manager, you’ll need to know how many desks are being reserved throughout the week. This will help you determine if you truly need more office space or if you can improve space utilization in other ways, such as having employees work from home on alternating days.
10. Wearable technology
Wearable technology like Fitbits and smartwatches have existed for years and continue to be popular, but you may not think of them as facility management solutions — yet.
Wearables can help you create a more flexible workplace and improve the employee experience at the same time.
Employees and workplace leaders alike are already using wearable tech in their daily lives, making them a natural extension of employee experience apps. That’s why our Hummingbird employee experience app integrates with the Apple Watch.
Technology like smart badges can also help facility management leaders improve the security of personnel and company data by restricting access to a building or parts of a building to only specific individuals.
Wearables also enable facility managers to collect data on employee work patterns, space occupancy, and resource utilization. As a leader in facility management, arming yourself with a wearable can help you stay connected to what’s happening, so you can get updates even when you’re on the go.
11. Sustainability and risk management solutions
Adopting sustainable facilities management practices is an important priority for many organizations as they seek to minimize their carbon footprint and demonstrate their commitment to being responsible stewards of the environment. Software solutions that help them measure their progress in key areas, track and manage energy utilization, and demonstrate regulatory compliance are becoming more popular as the public holds companies accountable for achieving ambitious sustainability goals.
12. Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR)
As a facility manager, you’re already the hero of your workplace. But, what if you could have actual superpowers — like the ability to see through walls and ceilings? VR creates an immersive digital experience that can look as real as the physical world. AR merges the digital and the physical world, using superimposed 3-D imagery that adds to what we already see.
These modern facilities management technologies offer several potential applications, such as making virtual meetings more lifelike by creating holograms of participants and showing 3-D images of floor plans. AR technology has the potential to make facility management faster, more efficient and more precise. In addition to offering an at-a-glance view of equipment, it gives you access to technical specs and data without having to carry around blueprints and other documents.
Deploying this kind of technology can also bring maintenance manuals and building components to life. Using an AR headset, you can visualize equipment temperatures and see components hidden behind walls, ceilings, and floors. AR alerts can improve knowledge of your surroundings — for instance, helping you steer clear of high-voltage assets, hot surfaces, high-speed machinery, and other hazardous conditions — which promotes safety.
Staying up to date on facility management technology trends
The digital world evolves fast — and facility management software is no exception. Over the past few years, we’ve seen plenty of new facility management solutions enter the field and become part of our daily lives. And as we move forward, relying on modern facilities management technology will become even more critical to your organization’s success.
Our five-minute workplace technology maturity assessment evaluates your tech stack based on five critical areas and gives you a score according to how you compare with others in your industry.
After answering a few simple questions, you’ll receive a detailed report with recommendations on how to prioritize future technology spending. Take the assessment today and take a step toward building your future workplace.