2016 flew by with the excitement of Brexit and the US elections. As we enter 2017 there is a huge amount of political uncertainty and businesses are understandably cautious. To some extent this may impact tech investment, but in reality it seems to be one area that no matter what keeps moving forward.
In today’s tech driven world, Facilities Managers have no other choice than to be up to date with the latest products/services which are typically offered by their vendors as a way to gain competitive advantage and business value. Technology remains a primary differentiator as Facilities Management is increasingly positioned to offer strategic organisational benefit.
We wrote a blog in 2016 about artificial intelligence and its uses in real settings such as hospitals. News is that AI is set to also dominate in 2017. AI continues to create images in people’s minds of robots uprising with disastrous consequences, but in reality robots are rarely involved. At its roots, AI is machine learning which allows the computer to adapt to new circumstances, and make decisions. This is alternative to the traditional operation of a computer which is pre-programmed with instructions that govern how it should behave.
If a machine can learn and adapt to circumstances, it can offer more benefit for users. One use of AI within the FM space is voice controlled systems. For example a control system with a lift that works on voice control and ‘learns’ the voices of the employees and their typical patterns in terms of what floor they go to at what time of the day and automatically offering that option unless over-ridden.
You might be wondering why this has made the list, but consumer tech invades the office environment, and in fact there are cases where an organisation can utilise it to reduce their own costs. A good example is bring your own device (BYOD). Implemented well, it allows employees to make use of their own device and the organisation to reduce their costs of providing that type of technology. This is not a new phenomenon but I expect the way in which devices are authenticated on the networks will become more sophisticated and increasingly open to other devices and different manufacturer brands.
I can’t skip over the self-driving cars and consumer tech seems the best place to raise this point. The technology is progressing very quickly and I suspect driverless taxis and fleet cars are not far off. For those Facilities Managers who are responsible for fleet and also travel, this will soon be an option to be considered. It may not land as a service option as early as 2017, but regardless it will be on the agenda as the strategic direction for many vendors.
Make sure you check out Tech Trends Part 2 for thoughts on cyber security, motion sensors, and big data in 2017.
Peter Forshaw – Managing Director, Maxwell Stephens
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