By Rashmi Karanjekar
Technology is becoming so essential that many of us are striving to stay updated with the latest trends in the social and digital world. Unknowingly, technology has become an integral part of our everyday life — whether it’s pouring your morning coffee with a preset button on the coffee machine or setting the room temperature using a mobile app while driving back home from work. Yet, we crave for something better. Similarly, in the business world the newest poster child- ‘the Internet of Things’ (IoT) is creating a buzz in the facility management and service industry. Simply put, IoT is a giant network of connected ‘things’ and ‘people’ offering intelligent systems that promises to reduce the need of human intervention while dealing with breakdowns and incognizant situations. It certainly opens the door to a lot of opportunities but also to many challenges.
IoT is backed by numerous other innovations including wireless communication, real time analytics, machine learning, sensors and embedded systems. These technologies have been combined to work in any given situation, be it physical objects, devices, buildings etc. via the internet allowing it to be controlled or sensed remotely. Besides, IoT has already impacted a lot of industries globally including the manufacturing, construction, media and more. The benefits are tremendous particularly the enormous time and cost savings to the businesses and individuals is worth appreciating. Apart from this, IoT also helps to reduce waste and energy by enabling us to better control the usage based on the actual needs.
Managing data on a large scale especially in the facility management segment can lead to lot of discrepancies, which can be controlled using IoT. For instance, the construction industry is already changing its design module to incorporate IoT devices, particularly in the HVAC systems. IoT devices are also revolutionising the public and the hospitality industry via soft-FM applications. In places like the public washrooms where the footfalls are high IoT devices can send alerts to the maintenance department to refill the soap-dispenser unit or the room freshener. Even the hospitality industry is putting IoT to use for a better guest experience be it checking in the hotel room using their smart phones or alerting the hotel administration about any maintenance issues via smart sensors.
IoT is already creating waves in the facility and cleaning industry by offering smart surveillance systems, enhanced maintenance support and intelligent control systems. This revolution in the heavily human resourced industry is going to get influenced with the automation and rapid developments. This will also lead to enhanced operational productivity, cost optimisation and the need for skilled labour will be on a rise too.
With a plethora of benefits there are also some concerns that might need attention while incorporating IoT to the businesses. Issues like risk of data and information breach, storage of massive data produced in the process and other privacy concerns to name a few. In addition, IoT requires skilled labours, which will add to the company’s cost along with the need for ongoing training programmes.
The integration of IoT in any businesses comes with its pro and cons. Like any emerging technologies the need of the hour is to understand the many opportunities and challenges IOT has to offer.