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The FM Tech Trends Shaping 2024

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James Massey, Managing Director of Facilities Management at MRI Software, says AI, data-driven insights and the digitisation of everyday activity will make work better for FM teams

As we look ahead to the Facilities Management (FM) trends that will dominate the coming year, it is clear the adoption of significant technological advances jumpstarted in 2023 will pick up considerable pace in 2024.

Underpinning these trends are more widespread use of artificial intelligence (AI), better energy management, and predictive maintenance as broader drivers of the digitalisation of FM and the broader integration and application of data.

Overall, digitally-driven FM is creating new business efficiencies in a tough economy – from more effective maintenance cycles to more environmentally sustainable building operations to healthier workloads for staff. Predicative, smart FM practices will draw on data-driven, AI-based technologies to enable better, more proactive management of FM activities and teams.

The ongoing consolidation of FM data at all levels will accelerate in 2024 as organisations seek to drive value from the information they capture from footfall analysis, IoT sensors, energy and water monitoring, and other sources.

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Bringing information together to find the right data

The ongoing consolidation of FM data at all levels will accelerate in 2024 as organisations seek to drive value from the information they capture from footfall analysis, IoT sensors, energy and water monitoring, and other sources. We will see more data integration across the board – and it is not about the data per se but what facilities managers do with it to deliver better service.

Some of this consolidation is because people are building on and refining the digital golden thread of data, becoming more important than ever as new building safety regulations for high-rise buildings with residential tenants come into full force in April. Defined by the government as “the information that allows you to understand a building and the steps needed to keep both the building and people safe, now and in the future”, golden thread data also contains information that yields valuable business intelligence.

The result is facilities managers will be able to tap into more and more easily accessible information about the property, residents, and contractors. In general, it will make the whole process of managing and maintaining a building more transparent, efficient, and digitally driven – giving rise to a more tech-enabled approach to tasks such as predictive maintenance.

Laying foundation for effective application of AI

We have seen that 2023 was the year that the first wave of real-world uses of AI became a widespread reality. Specifically in the property sectors, we have seen more companies introducing AI-driven tools to automate the previously cumbersome task of lease abstraction.

Good data is fundamental to the efficient and effective use of AI in FM, property management (PM), or any field for that matter. AI works of the computation and analysis of data, and the insights that come out are only as good as the information that goes in. In 2024, FM and property management teams will need to do the groundwork necessary to get the data they use into a clean, consistent, coherent database as they seek to use AI to inform their operations.

As 2024 progresses, developing a well-thought-out AI strategy will be critical for FM managers. We will see the more widespread use of AI in areas such as energy management to boost efficiency, footfall management to optimise the maintenance and service of each property, and intelligent chatbots to improve interactions with residential and commercial tenants. Chatbots are nothing new, but they can and will be made much better by AI so that they can more quickly and accurately home in on and respond to a building occupants’ problem or query and help them deal with it more effectively.

Plotting a more sustainable future

The drive to greatly improve environmental sustainability across companies is a trend that will only accelerate in 2024 as it continues to emerge as a priority at all levels. Research reveals that an increasing number of UK organisations see managing their energy consumption as a major concern. Nearly two-thirds of British businesses (64%) say energy is now their top business risk, with 91% saying their board is concerned about how they are dealing with this issue, according to the npower Business Energy Tracker 2023. The result is that FM teams must work closely with property managers and others within organisations to set objectives and ensure they are met.

With the broader business trend towards sustainability gaining traction, organisations are now starting to use energy management tools with AI capabilities to measure, monitor, and analyse their energy usage. As more organisations employ AI-driven energy management solutions in 2024, they will gain a clear picture of what they are using and how.

To do the necessary analysis and reporting, employing AI-driven analytics will be crucial to making sense of the massive amounts of complex information being processed. This tech-enabled approach allows organisations to generate data-led insights to identify and combat common and often unnoticed energy wasters across their property portfolios, empowering them to make smarter decisions – boosting energy efficiency by as much as 30 per cent.

Addressing stress and overwork

A noteworthy trend that emerged in 2023 and will require attention in 2024 is stress and overwork in the FM sector. A survey of 750 European facility management professionals released by MRI Software in December last year, revealed that 39 per cent identified mental health as their biggest challenge. MRI’s Voice of the Facility Manager report also revealed that heavy workloads and increased job demands have likewise emerged as major concerns, with the research showing that 70 per cent work beyond their contracted time.

The good news is technology offers a lifeline, giving them the digital tools they need to utilise data, improve scheduling, inform tasks, boost efficiency, and predict maintenance hotspots. Digitally driven, predictive maintenance procedures will continue to be deployed in 2024 to cut wasted trips and unnecessary onsite checks of equipment and facilities by tying actions to actual needs rather than historic schedules. Likewise, we will see engineers and other onsite staff given access to more information via mobile tools that put a wealth of information at their fingertips, making their tasks quicker, safer, and easier to complete.

We will continue to see technological transformation in the FM sector at a rate greater than ever in 2024. The upshot for the FM industry is that while many are in a period of adjustment, the long-term gain will outweigh any short-term pain, improving things overall for the people managing and carrying out the work.

… [F]acilities managers will be able to tap into more and more easily accessible information about the property, residents, and contractors. In general, it will make the whole process of managing and maintaining a building more transparent, efficient, and digitally driven

James Massey

James Massey is Managing Director of Facilities Management at MRI Software. He joined MRI after the company acquired in 2020 social housing software provider Castleton Technology, where he was the Chief Operations Officer. James is responsible for driving MRI’s global offering of commercial FM PropTech solutions. He and his team are committed to empowering the company’s customers with data for more intelligent business decisions and a connected digital-first experience.

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  • James Massey

    James Massey is Managing Director of Facilities Management at MRI Software. He joined MRI after the company acquired in 2020 social housing software provider Castleton Technology, where he was the Chief Operations Officer. James is responsible for driving MRI’s global offering of commercial FM PropTech solutions. He and his team are committed to empowering the company’s customers with data for more intelligent business decisions and a connected digital-first experience.

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