Data is a critical resource for businesses. Finance, sales, marketing - all departments of an organisation are collecting and collating information to help managers make decisions that will drive business success.
And it’s the same for the facilities management team. The rise of internet-connectivity, cloud-based computing and hand-held smart devices means there is, potentially, a constant stream of data available for building managers and engineers. This can include energy use, maintenance records, costs, building occupancy levels at hourly levels.
In addition to these, the connectivity of equipment such as boilers, chillers and air handling units (to name a few) means that yet more data is streaming towards to the FM team. The question is, how can they make use of it without drowning in this constant flood?
Data analytics allows FMs to make informed decisions, rather than ‘guesstimates'
A complex world
There’s no doubt that data-driven decision making is vital for today’s FM teams. The world is increasingly complex, and the requirements on building owners to provide data on areas such as carbon emissions and energy consumption are growing.
This may be regulatory, for example to comply with ESOS requirements, or voluntary, for example if a building is part of a ratings scheme such as NABERS.
But there is more value than simply tracking energy consumption. Data analytics allows FMs to make informed decisions based on the data, rather than ‘guesstimates’.
By analysing data, facilities managers can identify patterns, trends and inefficiencies that they might not have spotted otherwise and take steps to avoid system failure.
Harnessed the right way, data enables FMs to predict the future. For example, data analytics can predict when equipment and systems in a building will require maintenance, allowing for check-ups before failure. This saves time and money and reduces disruption to tenants.
But to access these benefits, FM teams need the skills to collate, analyse and then use the data. There are software tools to help with this, but making the right choice is another challenge. And there may not be the in-house expertise to make the most of the expenditure.
Mitsubishi Electric’s Service & Maintenance team understands the power of data and is helping its clients to tap into the knowledge it can provide. By working closely with our customers, we bring our know-how with data analysis to support the facilities function.
Increasingly, we are seeing FMs move away from reactive maintenance. Instead, they are using data to build a predictive maintenance approach or planned predictive maintenance (PPM). This makes the most of cloud-connected equipment which enables remote monitoring in real-time.
PPM can predict potential problems before they occur. This is far more cost-effective than repairing problems and helps ensure smart energy consumption and better occupant well-being. It costs more to fix an issue than to anticipate and prevent it from happening. Mitsubishi Electric’s S&M team uses remote analysis to improve the productivity of equipment such as chiller. This means equipment not only has a longer life, but also performs at optimum efficiencies.
The amount of data produced in buildings is only set to grow. We are already seeing discussions about how Artificial Intelligence will impact the building management and facilities sector. One thing is for certain, working with experts who can harness this digital flow is going to be a key factor for success. Our goal is to help clients anticipate these challenges and to add value with our technology and engineering expertise.
Kris Swiderski is Head of Service and Maintenance