3 days at the Facilities Show
A guest blog by FM Guru Consultant, Graham Perry
After a lot of time and talking during the Facilities Show at the NEC recently, I thought I would contribute on what has been changing in technology and what was happening at the Show. This year’s expo was run in conjunction with IFSEC, the principle exhibition for the security industry as well as the Safety and Health Expo.
Whilst the Facilities show organisers had obviously put in a great deal of effort it was obvious that IFSEC was the more dominant show. As security is supposedly a sub set of the function of FM it was quite amazing to see that IFSEC was 3 -4 times larger than the Facilities show and that the competition and commitment in this area, amongst the technology vendors, was far greater than that of the technology vendors in the Facilities arena.
This started me thinking about the way that Facilities people and Security people are positioned within a corporate structure. Is Security really a sub set of Facilities or is it treated as a separate area completely? Clearly the spend on technology in Security far outweighs that of the Facilities environment.
The Facilities show had little or no presence from the Technology providers in the Property Management, CAD, BIM and IWMS environments, who had obviously chosen not to be present at this year’s show. Despite this there were a good number of CAFM and CMMS suppliers exhibiting, as well as some very interesting niche solutions. It was great to see organisations like Planon, Service Works Group , FSI, Qube, Loc8 and TabsFM showing off their systems, but I was surprised to see that none of the larger players like Maximo, Archibus, SAP, Tririga or Oracle were present and none of the EAM solution providers either like Tivoli or Infor. There were a number of energy monitoring and reporting solutions on display, this is definitely a hot topic in the current Facilities world.
ExPD was present with their Asset Tracking and Management solution which I had not seen before, as was Topdesk who I met for the first time and have to say I liked the simplicity with which they had hooked together a very capable solution. For me the two most interesting elements of the show were eziTracker and the work they are doing with locating mobile workforces, especially the move towards integrating mobile devices and GPS, and Proxyclick showing their employee centric approach to FM self service for both soft and hard services.
The Safety and Health Expo had some interesting software for Contractor management and issuing of permits as well as some good training products for different industries, mostly web based and all with some form of mobile hook. IFSEC was absolutely huge and the choice was quite astounding although most of the focus was around that of CCTV and access control, though there were some quite interesting things being done with condition monitoring from temperature through to doors and even valves. Interestingly a number of Building Management Systems suppliers were exhibiting at IFSEC and obviously align themselves more to Security than Facilities.
This leads me to my final observation; when will all of these players start to get together and consolidate? Could a security system be used with license plate or facial recognition to welcome you to the office and talk to the Building Management system to switch on your computer, lights and aircon, which will talk to the energy management tools for reporting? You could then select an available desk from the workspace optimisation tool, order your lunch and book your meeting room with catering at the same time. Finally you use the Building Information Modelling System to advise that your parking bay light was broken and the Enterprise Asset Manager to request a replacement chair. All of this before your first cup of tea, which will obviously arrive from the intelligent vending unit. The scariest thing is that all of this technology is currently available and being used in commercial buildings as we speak. Perhaps though, this is all just wishful thinking and I stand more chance of getting my personal intergalactic transporter first???