Looking Ahead - IT, Facilities, Network Leaders Will Rally

Before the holidays, we sat down with our new Smart Buildings Practice Leader, Bill Moten, to gain some insights on what’s ahead for 2020.

  1. It’s been a busy year at LEDG. What seems to be keeping our clients awake as we head into 2020?

As we head into 2020, everyone is challenged with new business targets, goals, and budgets. Building owners, facility managers, and operational technology (OT) teams are working hard to figure out how they are going to meet their new 2020 objectives and the initiatives needed to achieve them. These targets include financial goals like energy savings and capital spending. However, there has been an increased focus on hitting goals related to retaining and attracting both employees and occupants.

  1. How are organizations preparing to tackle their challenges and initiatives in 2020?

Many organizations, including our clients, are looking for ways they can make their buildings more energy-efficient, keep their capital cost down by extending their asset’s life cycle and improve the experience of their building’s occupants. Many of their initiatives will make better use of existing data to ensure that their time and money is well spent in areas that will really make a difference. I’m getting more interest from organizations looking for our help to evaluate their existing systems and identify opportunities that will have the most impact in achieving their initiatives.

  1. What are the most exciting trends you are seeing? Is it different by industry? Early adopters?

For trends, focusing on the building occupant experience is one of the newer focus areas I’m seeing across all sectors. It used to be that the office had more advanced and cooler tech than the home; this is not the case anymore. The modern employee has the expectations that the work experience should be similar if not better than our home, where we have virtual assistants, connected thermostats, smart monitors, and smart lighting. It goes without saying that the cellular and WiFi connectivity in the building needs to be exceptional. Other related occupant experience areas that need attention in the built environment are privacy areas or pods since most offices have an open concept design and the addition of local electric vehicle (EV) charging stations based on the increase in EV usage.

For early adopters, I see Artificial Intelligence (AI) getting a lot of interest. AI is needed to help us analyze the massive amounts of available data and make it actionable. Companies are developing AI that is directly focused on facilities maintenance of the overall building, and depending on who you talk to, AI will be prevalent in facilities management in the next two to five years.

  1. Do organizations need to collaborate differently with internal and external stakeholders to make these trends reality at their sites?

Getting all stakeholders involved is crucial to the success of any smart building initiative. Adding smart devices and property tech will impact many parts of the organization. I’ve personally seen situations where smart conference rooms are installed, but no one knew how to use it, so they bypassed the “smart parts” and plugged right into the back of the monitor. I also witnessed a situation where occupancy sensors were installed without notice, employees did not understand what they were, and therefore bad rumors spread about their purpose, and the sensors were sabotaged. To avoid these types of situations, organizations need to include team members from HR, employees, occupants, OT, IT, and C-suite leadership in most cases. Our Smart Buildings Implementation Model helps organizations get aligned and it’s working for organizations trying to get their arms around project ownership and long-term success.

  1. What are you reading in preparation for 2020?

I read, listen, and watch anything about technology ranging from AI, VR/AR, property tech, IOT, and pretty much any emerging technology. Some of my favorite sources are Google Alerts – Smart Buildings & AI, Emerging Tech Brew (morningbrew.com/emerging-tech/r/?kid=5263d17c), and Daily Tech Headlines.