In the digital age, almost all commercial transactions now take place online, across borders, and companies easily sell to customers around the world. Offices that once brimmed with paper are now digital workspaces filled with computer screens. The pace of change is dizzying. Latest innovations mean businesses disrupted by the initial wave of information technology are now undergoing a second digital transformation. We are evolving from an economy where technology makes it easy for us to find information, connect and work more efficiently.
In our recently published survey of industry leaders, 84% of respondents said they had already begun to explore the potential of digital transformation technologies and solutions. The technologies they deploy vary from mature to cutting-edge. Improved connectivity between our assets and devices, and intelligent use of data, is driving business efficiency and fundamentally changing the way businesses operate.
Improved connectivity is transforming FM
Internet connectivity is no longer confined to computers and smartphones. Thanks to advances in environmental sensors, and bluetooth technology, commercial assets and equipment can become ‘smart’ and connected to networks that transmit data in both directions. Today’s assets gather and analyse data and can act on it. This is the Internet of Things (IoT).
In a business environment, equipment can be connected to the IoT to enable quick, remote adjustments, or alerts, on assets as diverse as heating and air-conditioning systems, manufacturing machinery and security access control devices.
New sensor technology enables a degree of autonomy, which allows smart devices to respond automatically to whatever is going on in the environment around them.
- Temperature sensors – enabling automatic adjustments to heating and air conditioning, minimising energy waste and carbon emissions.
- Footfall sensors – for tracking the number of people in a particular location.
- Light sensors – automatically switching lights on and off, depending on space occupancy, to save on power consumption.
- Fault sensors – generating alerts in response to developing hardware issues which can be fixed before they become an issue.
Embracing digital transformation for buildings
Facilities that make the most of smart devices can enable a truly connected workspace, creating a smart building that works for everyone using it.
Digital transformation means fully embracing the opportunities presented by technical innovation. Data has become one of the most valuable business commodities of the 21st century. A steady flow of data from across facilities, when subjected to rigorous analysis, can deliver actionable and measurable insights. Data analysis allows space to be used more effectively and adapted as the business changes.
Advanced machine learning enables the diagnosis of hardware issues before they can cause costly failures and equipment downtime. Preventative maintenance is far more efficient than responsive maintenance, where faults are fixed as they happen, and can improve asset resilience.
Digital transformation enables companies to fully optimise day-to-day operations by:
- Cutting costs
- Increasing productivity
- Increasing operational efficiency – engineers can be sent straight to where they are needed
- Enabling faster progress towards net zero carbon emissions
- Reducing demands on staff, increasing wellbeing and decreasing burnout and staff turnover
Better data will help organisations reduce operational costs, mitigate risk and introduce efficiencies in areas including energy management, security and access control, and electrical and mechanical maintenance. For example, technology is embedded into Mitie’s service delivery for a major retail client, where we use our Merlin 24/7 app, backed up by security analysts in our Intelligence Hub. It enables our on-site security officers to receive and share real-time insights and updates to their mobile devices, so that they can make better informed decisions on security issues, on the go.
Why companies need support with digital transformation
The digital transformation of buildings is complex and multi-faceted. Technology evolves rapidly, and it is important for software and hardware to remain in sync. Also, data needs careful management and planning. A torrent of raw data from equipment and staffing movements can be overwhelming, with valuable and actionable insights getting lost in the flood.
There are also ethical and legal considerations. Employees must be kept informed of any monitoring in their workplace, and the data gathered should be made clear. Naturally, companies must also work in compliance with GDPR.
Digital transformation needs new thinking, new approaches and new skills so, to make the most of the potential, facilities managers will need to fill any knowledge gaps quickly. For many businesses, this will involve investing in new talent, upskilling existing people, and working with a facilities management partner, like Mitie, that has already invested in digital technology, data specialists and transformation experts.
Digital transformation of built assets and the workplace represents a significant opportunity with the potential to improve the performance of buildings and the people that work in them.
How Mitie supports businesses embarking on digital transformation
Mitie is one of the UK’s largest facilities management companies. We work closely with clients across the country and use the latest data-led technologies to deliver truly connected workspaces. We provide clients with a full suite of remote management services that monitor their facilities 24/7 to optimise operational efficiency and productivity, and enhance workplace experience. This is a central component of Mitie’s Science of Service®.
Our Service Operations Centre team includes data specialists and engineers who are experienced in delivering digital transformation as part of a broader service package. They are dedicated to supporting clients on their journey towards digital transformation and helping them reap the operational and financial benefits.
Enquire now to see how Mitie can support your company’s digital transformation.
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