The Middle East Facilities Management Association (MEFMA) CONFEX Dubai 2019 opened on Sunday at The Address Dubai Marina, with a high-profile gathering of leading players in the industry. Themed ‘Business Intelligence & Technology-Driven Facilities Management’, the inauguration was led by Jamal Lootah, MEFMA President; Major General Engineer Khalid Qabbani, General Director of Military Works, Ministry of Defense, KSA; Hend Obaid Al Marri, CEO, Dubai Real Estate Institute; Atiq Juma Nassib, Senior Vice President of Commercial Services of Dubai Chamber; and Ali Alsuwaidi, MEFMA Vice President.
This year’s event, which focuses on new innovative methods that address the emerging challenges in the sector and explores the latest technological innovation that enhance FM services, received wide support from 10 of the most outstanding companies in the sector, including Initial Saudi Arabia Co. Ltd as Platinum Sponsor, Apleona HSG Facility Management and Imdaad as Gold Sponsors.
In his welcoming speech, Jamal Lootah explained that MEFMA Confex has become a leading and strategic platform aimed at raising awareness about best practices utilized in employing technological innovation as a mean to drive in growth and sustainability of the regional FM sector, in line with the current ambitious development projects. The event, added Lootah, will be attended by leading decision-makers, government figures, real estate developers and FM professionals in the Gulf region and the Middle East. He also noted that this year’s edition of the region's biggest FM event is being held under the theme of ’Business Intelligence & Technology Driven Facilities Management’ in response to the urgent need to adapt innovation and technology to develop FM solutions as needed for the ongoing regional construction projects. He also reaffirmed MEFMA's commitment to provide the necessary means to keep abreast of technological developments to support the competitiveness and efficiency of the FM sector in the region, which is currently valued at about USD 37 billion.
Lootah said: "This year’s edition of MEFMA CONFEX 2019 will witness the hosting of a new series of FM Counselling Sessions— a new feature that we are doing for the first time to help enhance collaboration between the government and private companies while also creating direct channels to exchange critical thinking and experiences in a step to drive in growth, development and sustainability for the FM sector. This move follows the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to promote a culture of excellence and creativity across society. We are looking forward to honoring the outstanding members of the FM community with the MEFMA Technology-Driven FM Recognition Awards, which aims to inspire more members to continue creating a positive impact through presenting influential case studies aimed at creating a better future for the region's FM industry, in line with the accelerating changes of the 21st century.”
The first day of the event featured the latest FM initiatives in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which included the keynote presentation by Dr. Thamer Bin Abdullah AlRegeeb, Director General of the General Administration of Projects & Facilities Affairs of the Ministry of Interior of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Dr. AlRegeeb discussed the ‘Facilities Management Development Road Map at the Ministry of Interior’, while Nabil Al-Nuaim, Executive Director of the Saudi Aramco Community Services, highlighted the value of digital transformation on the growth of the sector in the GCC during his presentation on ‘Digital Transformation and Business Integration, a World of Opportunities for GCC Facility Management Industry’.
In terms of tapping technological innovation, the winning case studies of technology-driven FM by Dubai Silicon Oasis, Enova, and Ejadah were presented to participants. A ‘Counselling Session’ was also held for the first time on key topics such as CAFM systems implementation, command and control setup for buildings, contract management and handover, digital transformation of FM operations, energy audit, fire and life safety strategy, FM best practices, and FM company setup.
Two major reports were also issued during the first day. The ‘AI in FM: The Potential of Artificial Intelligence in the GCC FM Industry’ report assessed the impact of AI and related technologies on the industry over the next five years, particularly on applications such as predictive maintenance, energy efficiency and autonomous service delivery. The report further shed light on three key technologies based on ‘deep learning’ algorithms which enable machines to learn from experience. The second study, titled ‘Asset Maintenance Management with Internet of Things (IoT) in Commercial Management’, found that IoT can address the gap between assets and performance in commercial buildings which has been causing the failure of traditional maintenance strategies.
On the second day of the event, saw presentation of white papers followed by a panel discussion. The third day will focus on four major workshops themed: Service Charges for Master Developments and the impact of early engagement; Linking FM Strategy to Organizational Strategy – Corporate Transformation; Success Strategies for Digitized FM in Automated Business Environment; and ISO 41001: 2018 Overview and Requirements.
Site visits will be held on the fifth day of the event and participants will visit the Bluewaters Island organized by Ejadah and the Al Shindagha Museums organized by the Architectural Heritage Society.