In recent times, advances in technology have touched every aspect of our lives and transformed the way businesses were done. With the current innovation in digital transformation, buildings are becoming smarter thanks to IoT, smart sensors, AI and automation. The convergence of these disruptive technologies enables organizations to stay relevant to changing customer preferences and unify automation systems with the effective use of existing data.
In an interview, Prabhu Ramachandran, Founder and CEO of Facilio shares the importance of technology in creating buildings smart and future-ready and how Facilio is helping organizations manage facilities in a much effortless as well as cost-effective way.
Please brief us about the products/services/solutions you provide to your customers and how do they get value out of it?
Legacy models of Facilities Management (FM) were not leveraging the data that building automation generates. While automation has been part of built structures for some decades already, typical deployments were in silos that were isolated from each other. Facilio has brought an enterprise-wide software platform to market that uses an IoT based approach to collate real-time performance data of mechanized assets in the building. It then subjects this information to AI and Machine Learning led analysis, which is able to generate actionable insights on a real-time basis. The final piece of the puzzle is intuitive interfaces that any stakeholder can access on the go, in order to better utilize resources and manage workflows. In essence, this is a way to turn buildings into smart and sustainable infrastructure, which allows commercial real estate businesses to administer assets across their entire portfolio to generate optimal profits and process synergies.
Perhaps the most important thing is that these outcomes are achieved by leveraging existing automation, rather than making it redundant and replacing it from the ground up. The Facilio solution is completely agnostic to automation vendor protocols, and it acts as an additional layer that unifies all the technology in a building portfolio under the real-time and predictive management of a centralized platform. So, the value that customers are able to derive from our product is being able to make their existing assets smarter, at a relatively lower cost, and being able to seamlessly achieve the digital transformation that results in facility-wide optimization.
How are disruptive technologies like IoT and Machine Learning impacting today’s innovation?
IoT is a natural ally to any automation and mechanized systems. If you consider all the excitement and enthusiasm around Industry 4.0, and what IIoT is achieving in the manufacturing sector, it’s not hard to think of what can be achieved by the same technology within built spaces. By using sensors to collate data in real-time about the performance metrics and outcomes, within an air-conditioned space, and leveraging AI to generate actionable insights, the framework for an integrated and proactive system becomes apparent. The breakthrough is in being able to gain true system transparency and the ability to respond to requirements and performance on an ongoing basis.
Buildings waste a lot of energy in the form of leakages, overuse, poorly serviced assets and simple human errors – such as not switching off a piece of equipment or not updating temperature settings. Centralized data-driven decision making empowers building owners and FMs to go beyond considering such leaks and inefficiencies as routine.
How is your company helping customers deliver relevant business outcomes through adoption of the company’s technology innovations?
Commercial real estate and construction have been laggards in adopting digital technology, even as Industry 4.0 has become the go-to approach in other sectors involving heavy mechanization and automation. To an extent, commercial real estate and facilities management enterprises did adopt some solutions that attempted to provide centralized management of assets, but these were usually repurposed technologies from areas such as manufacturing and mining. Not only were such solutions not optimized for the specific needs of the commercial real estate industry, but they were also limited in being able to unify siloed systems.
By bringing all the automation in a building portfolio under centralized software-led management, and enabling every aspect of performance data to be measured and monitored in real-time, the Facilio solution facilitates empowered decision making. Using our solution, commercial real estate businesses are able to create the most profitable business model they can, as well as being able to address the increasing regulatory emphasis on sustainability.
In your opinion what is the future of facilities and smart buildings in India?
As our world gets increasingly digitized, enhanced environments and buildings that are future-ready are needed to translate the possibilities of the latest in facilities management technology, into real-world enhancements. Data-driven and enterprise-wide software platforms are the tools that Facilities Managers and CRE owners can use to recruit these tech-enabled capabilities. In order to be truly effective, such platforms cannot be repurposed industrial solutions, they need to be exclusively designed for the facilities management industry. Digital retrofits, which leverage such industry-specific and customizable solutions, can help facilitate portfolio-wide visibility and scalable, real-time productivity optimization. In comparison to the reactive and limited scope of legacy systems, digital retrofits can empower CRE owners through the use of integrated, enterprise-scale data, which is then processed using machine intelligence to derive actionable insights and enhanced decision-making.
Currently, India stands at the cusp of a transformation that has the opportunity to leapfrog several generations of legacy technologies, in its infrastructure. Achieving state-of-the-art performance metrics, without the need for prohibitive capital outlay, can create truly dramatic results within the India context. As one of the rising economies of the world and one of its most populous countries, India has the opportunity to emerge as a trailblazing leader, in adopting the digital retrofit approach.