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How AI can help facility management

Feb 20, 2024 | Public | 0 comments

None of us have been able to escape recent news articles on artificial intelligence (AI): how it will change our future, help reduce our workloads, better organize our buildings, homes and even our lives.

There are advantages and practical applications in facilities management that entail examining potential contributions, our capacity for enhancement, and optimizing the overall efficiency of facility operations.

AI refers to computer systems or machines that are programmed to think and learn like humans. It involves creating software or algorithms that can analyze and understand vast amounts of data, make decisions, and solve problems. AI can also collect data through sensors, building management systems, and maintenance data records. Its capability could be summarized as, “Like Google, but part of your internal operations.”

Begin now to integrate AI into FM operations. Here are some of the benefits:

  •  Insights and analysis on base data for the facility;
  • Day-to-day records of building energy consumption to optimize heating, cooling and lighting based on existing occupancy patterns and weather forecasts;
  • Occupancy data to optimize workflow patterns and space design, allocation, and room booking systems;
  • Maintenance logs to help with staffing and create maintenance checklists for best practices;
  • Use of historical data, along with occupancy data, setting best frequency for repair and maintenance;
  • Preventative maintenance strategies, offering conclusions on when equipment failure, related to wear and tear, is imminent;
  • Inventory and vendor streamlining predictions for product restocking and consumption;
  • Efficient cost solutions to manage many buildings at once;
  • Emergency response and building security. Help with evacuation (i.e. where is safest spot/exit door); and
  • Format and visualize data, create reports and presentations.

The toughest job of integrating AI into daily work life may be getting the FM team on board. Here are some ideas for the best path forward:

  • Create a step-by-step plan for gradual AI integration into FM operations;
  • Set realistic goals and expectations for AI implementation;
  • Address concerns and skepticism among FMs. Offer them reassurance that AI is a tool to enhance facility performance by saving human time and using existing data;
  • Work together; make it a collaborative approach;
  • Provide training and education on AI; and
  • Work closely with the IT department for internal application development, training, and FM integration.

This may all seem overwhelming at first. Start slowly to set up guidelines for your team by using ChatGPT or Google AutoML. There are numerous online resources, including courses, books, podcasts, and blogs all readily available to help FMs learn AI fundamentals.

The IT department will help select the best programs available to service needs, such as Google Colab, Replit, and MindStudio. These are great tools for quick-test experiments. You can also join online communities, attend tutorials and seminars, and seek mentorship to embrace learning opportunities.

AI applications should be continuously monitored to ensure they perform as expected. As AI relies heavily on data, ensure there is access to relevant and high-quality data. AI programs are not human experts, so AI-generated responses should always be verified.

Do stay informed about the latest trends by engaging with industry publications, attending relevant conferences, and professional development.

Effective AI implementation demands a strategic long-term approach, necessitating collaborative efforts across a company, a willingness to adapt and assimilate insights from AI, and collaboration with the IT department. AI will create a path to continuous innovation for improved facility operations.

Marcia O’Connor is president of AM FM Consulting Group. She is a strategic-minded leader with more than 20-plus years of progressive experience in corporate real estate, asset management, and integrated facilities management. Marcia has a passion for mentoring young professionals and helping people, teams, and organizations see their potential. She is the lead instructor for the University of Toronto School of Continued Studies’ facilities management courses, including the FM Certification Program and many others.

The post How AI can help facility management appeared first on REMINET.


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