The use of technology within the FM sector continues to evolve at a rapid pace. The amount of disruption and change in the digital workplace means building managers and service providers cannot afford to be content with their technology platforms simply treading water. Big data and complex analytics, the Internet of Things (IoT), an agile and mobile workforce, and the Cloud are just some aspects of technology that must now be considered.
Implementing an FM platform that supports these technologies – among others – and enables collaborative working with a building’s owner, occupants, and other business systems leads to both, flexibility and agility in service delivery.
Being aware of technology and actually implementing it are two different challenges. As a facilities manager, your mind is always working to find more streamlined processes and tools that allow both you and your team to be as productive as possible. While these issues are addressed by our experts in their respective columns, ‘FM today’ does a round-up of few of the software/mobile apps trending in the market that we found interesting.
HONEYWELL – ENERGY MANAGEMENT SYSTEM FOR BUILDINGS
Honeywell, a premier softwareindustrial company, has launched IQ®VISION, a next generation Building Energy Management System (BEMS) from Trend Control Systems. The centralized software platform is part of the Honeywell’s Connected Building offering, and is designed to help building owners and managers optimize energy usage. The software integrates Trend controllers, smart devices and internet protocols into a platform that enables operators to manage and save energy in real-time while optimizing operations using an intuitive graphical interface. It also provides graphical energy usage information to standard internet browsers, and can integrate third-party devices using open standard protocols such as BACnet, Modbus, MBUS and KNX.
Other functions built into the new system include centralized data logging, archiving, alarming, trending, master scheduling, system wide database management, and integration with enterprise software applications – all of which can be used for highlighting and investigating energy use within buildings. “Building managers, operators and owners in the region are increasingly leveraging advanced technology to save energy, optimize building systems and ultimately reduce costs,” said Yashdeep Sule, director of strategic marketing, Middle East, Turkey, Africa, Honeywell Building Technologies.
IQ®VISION sets a new benchmark with a graphical, real-time user interface that acts as a window to a BEMS. They have introduced a wide range of dynamic new features,that will give building operators and managers a level of control and fine detail that was previously considered out of reach. It is configured using the advanced Niagara 4 interface, which as well as being bold, intuitive and easy to use, utilizes HTML5 to provide an array of rich features that are in tune with the evolution of Internet of Things (IoT) technologies. To ensure optimal security, it comes with inbuilt authentication that requires users to choose strong Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) passwords that are then encrypted. To further enhance security, a comprehensive audit trail of database changes, database storage and back-up, global time functions, calendars, central scheduling, control and energy management routines can also be configured.
As with all Trend devices, backwards compatibility is designed from the outset, and IQ®VISION boasts a System Migration Tool that enables users to import system data from an existing system. Furthermore, IQ®VISION includes integrated network management tools that support the design, configuration, installation and maintenance of interoperable networks, where multiple Trend I IQ® controllers can be networked together. This high-level connected system management is possible thanks to the development of an enhanced ‘Trend over IP’ driver that can organize data into a Trend-specific hierarchy for ease of access. For multi-site or campus based applications, users can also quickly navigate to an individual building using tags to diagnose problems and compare data between buildings to identify energy usage patterns.
TORK – EASY CUBE SOFTWARE
The Tork EasyCube® cleaning software helps save time while increasing the quality of cleaning throughout your facility. How? Real-time data is organised and prioritised based on the real cleaning needs of your facility, empowering managers and cleaning teams to act on what is really needed. Sensor technology in connected devices, like visitor counters and soap dispenser systems, continuously transmits information to the Tork EasyCube® software about cleaning and refill needs. Managers and cleaning teams know exactly where attention is needed, and can avoid over- and under cleaning. With the help of real-time information, Tork EasyCube® helps cleaning management make the best use of their resources, both on a daily basis and over the long term. Smart analytics monitor performance against KPIs, helping ensure the highest quality of cleaning with the most efficient use of resources.
Using this software, cleaners can improve their productivity and creates a better environment for the staff and the customer. Tork Easy- Cube paper and soap dispensers continuously transmit information about their supply levels to a connected cleaning app. This enables washroom maintenance staff to check the status of every ‘connected’ washroom dispenser via a smartphone or tablet. As a result, cleaning staff know in advance which supplies to bring on their trolleys and in what quantities. And this in turn reduces the number of visits they need to make to the stock cupboard which frees up more time to deal with other tasks.
While Tork EasyCube is suitable for all types of businesses it works particularly well in large, spreadout environments that receive high or fluctuating levels of traffic such as amusement parks, tourist attractions and airports. Tork EasyCube can be tailored to suit individual businesses and has a messaging function that provides a highly effective way of communicating. Cleaning teams can stay in contact with their managers and each other, even when spread out over large distances. The Tork EasyCube connected service is available in a wide range of Tork Elevation units as well as the Tork Image Design line of upmarket washroom dispensers.
WASL ASSET MANAGEMENT – DIGITAL SOLUTIONS TO OCCUPANTS
The asset management firm has taken on the services of EOH International and SAP to offer new digital solutions to its occupants. The new system offers real-time visitor experiences, internet of things-connected waste management fleets, and blockchainbacked leases, industry experts announced. “The UAE is entering 2018 as the tipping point year for IoT, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and blockchain to go from theory to reality,” said Sameer Areff, chief operating officer, SAP Middle East South.
During the recent Innovation Summit Dubai, Iman Al Omrani, vice president of applied intelligence at Expo 2020 Dubai, highlighted how data-driven insights applied through intelligent technologies will ensure an exceptional experience for its anticipated millions of visitors. SAP Innovation Awards, which celebrate SAP platform technology success, recognised EOH International and Wasl Asset Management Group. Their solutions, which run on the SAP Leonardo digital innovation system, were developed with the SAP Co-Innovation Lab in the UAE. The end-to-end IoT solution helps a city to effectively plan and execute real-time waste management with mobile applications and administrator dashboards to optimise efficiency and costs, and to improve customer services, among other benefits in going paperless.
DUBAI MUNICIPALITY – SMART TRAPS
Catching rodents in Dubai has gone high-tech with Dubai Municipality developing a smart trap. The new smart bait trap has the mechanism to kill the rodents with electric shock. It can hold up to 20 rodents at a time, depending on their size. A smart sensor technology is used to alert about the entry of rodents in the trap. The device installed on the smart trap in the field will send text messages and emails to the control team in the Pest Control Section immediately after the rodents entering the trap and the text message will include the number and location of the trap and the number of the entrapped rodents.
Due to the alert, the pest control inspectors do not have to make period inspections of the traps. The alerts also help them to know the location of the traps and dispose the dead rodents in a proper manner before they get decomposed. This smart trap will help reduce the expenses incurred on the fight against rodents and pests and will also contribute to the preservation of the environment, save time and effort in the follow-up of the traps all over the emirate. Mice, Norway rats and roof rats are the common types of rodents spotted in Dubai. The smart trap, which the municipality developed in collaboration with a private company, has mechanism to keep aside the dead rats and accommodate entering the trap later.
FARNEK – THE FARNEK APP
Farnek is committed to delivering innovative and sustainable solutions across all aspects of its business for a wide raging customer base. In addition to providing customers with a first-class service, employees, the company’s most important asset, also form an integral part of Farnek’s digital transformation journey. As such, the company has developed a new app with the primary objective of creating increased efficiency throughout the company. The app, which all of Farnek’s employees have access to, sends targeted messages directly to staff, ensuring all teams are fully informed of key issues and new initiatives regardless of where they are. The function also allows for specific divisions or teams to be targeted, ensuring time isn’t wasted by employees on irrelevant messaging.
When on site, the functions of the app allow employees to use online incident reporting and auditing, there is also a dedicated online video training function, offering support to staff on site if and when required and also provides a central reporting system where issues can be raised immediately. Markus Oberlin, CEO of Farnek, said, “The app is projected to save the company over AED 800,000 in its first year, thanks to a number of key functions which have positively impacted the three-pillars of Farnek’s business, namely sustainability, technology and innovation. HR functions such as annual leave requests, sick leave and training are now delivered through the app, helping streamline many of the day-to-day administrative functions undertaken by employees.”