Facilities Management Conference 2022 was held 15-16 March 2022, and this year Gleematic received the honor to physically participate in the event.

The 5th edition of Smart FM brought the theme of “Innovation for a Sustainable & SMART Built Environment”. The event itself would be known as the conference in the FM industry where the regional innovators would share the best approaches and processes of balancing and meeting the sustainable goals. It has come to our understanding that business around the globe is rapidly adopting advanced technologies like AI, robotics automation, IoTs, and many others. This trend has led to an enormous growth of smart buildings, for FM industry. This is the call for Gleematic to take part, as a tech-solution provider of cognitive automation.

Christopher Lim, CEO of Gleematic, took part by sharing about “Transforming FM Operations & Performance with Automated Processes”. Christopher Lim provided insights on how automation with AI could be deployed and applied in FM industry, and the impacts on the workflow and operations as automation takes in. To fully understand the areas that could be improved through automation with AI, Christopher Lim also shared basic knowledge of RPA and AI. It is important to get a comprehensive understanding of how they work so that we could easily determine the areas to improve by utilizing their capabilities. Most importantly, Christopher Lim narrowed the scope by brainstorming the processes specifically in FM that could be automated.

Facilities Management Conference 2022

Where does AI take part in the automated process?

The concept of AI is quite simple to understand: it is a field of study where machines can think and make a decision close to what human can do. Speaking of where AI takes part to work together with automation, there are 4 core areas:

  • Complex decision-making

The use of AI to generate complex decision-making from large amounts of data. AI can help human to give recommendations, predictions, and even alerts when it detects abnormalities in data. The ability of human which is to think and to decide can be done with AI.

  • Data extraction from various sources

This includes the use of AI to extract data or information from structured or unstructured documents, as well as from other sources such as websites and systems.

  • Interpreting unstructured text

The use of AI to understand and interpret human language. This area allows the machine to process and analyze human (natural) language; thus, it can be taught to interpret sentences/paragraphs of continuous text written by human.

  • Computer vision (face/image/object recognition)

This is the part where the machine can gain a high-level understanding of digital images. It can be correlated with quality assurance and control processes, wherewith AI, machine can deal to detect defects or give alerts if a certain threshold has been reached.

What are the processes in FM that can be automated?

Say we have understanding the basic concept of how AI works, but what are the examples of the process in FM that we can leverage AI to automate?

  • Better System Integration between Facilities

Cognitive bots can integrate data or information between systems. This is achieved by collecting data from various sources such as paper or digitalized documents, or other systems. The ability to retrieve and collate data from paper documents is defined as Intelligent Document Extraction. Cognitive bots can pick up data after extraction, access the system, and enter or update the data accordingly.

  • Innovative Predictive Solution for Building Maintenance

This is where AI Machine Learning takes part. We can use AI Machine learning to detect abnormalities in data, detect defects for quality control and maintenance, and make predictions or recommendations.

Data can be retrieved from various sources automatically by the cognitive bots, then compiled for the cognitive bots to do the analytics. This provides seamless maintenance, as we can easily identify what areas require treatment and maintenance.

  • Data Depository for Project Management

This is the area where AI Natural Language Processing (NLP/text-analytics) takes part. The objective of automating this process is to generate insights for the human from the data that can be used as a reference for certain operations in the future.

Cognitive bots can pick up information or data from any source. If the data is in an unstructured format, AI Machine Learning and NLP (text-analytics) can take part to understand the information as they have the ability to interpret human natural language.

How does automation with AI create value for FM operations?

Deloitte did an overview of how automation changes the way facilities management organizations are being run. We summarized the benefits of leveraging AI-powered automation for FM organizations:

  • Efficiency

Deloitte stated that the first deployment of automation done by one organization’s cross-functional departments resulted in an average cost reduction of 10 to 40%. This might happen as the cognitive bots tasked to do human work only take a fraction of the total time human needs to complete the work themselves. Not just that they work faster, but the workflow of the process that is automated will become shorter for human to handle. This results in greater efficiency upon adopting AI-powered automation in the process.

  • New expertise and control

As the cognitive bots are taking over the mundane, time-consuming, and repetitive tasks from human then this allows the allocation of employees to do value-added tasks and even upskilled to do high-level ones. In terms of control, according to Deloitte, automation provides greater control over processes as we can rely on in-house service capabilities instead of outsourcing.

  • Quality and compliance

Cognitive bots perform tasks with higher accuracy, unlike when done by human staff that is prone to errors. This improves the quality of work done. Automation with cognitive bots is not limited to getting the work done faster, but also can improve consistency and compliance as the cognitive bots streamline and optimize the processes.

  • Competitive advantages

According to Deloitte, automation can provide a high potential return on investment and a short payback period. Using AI-powered automation, organization can leverage AI to do data analytics to provide insights of how some areas can be improved. These recommendations led by AI can result in competitive advantages for the organization.

Additional source: how does automation create value for FM operations?

It is interesting how AI-powered automation can broadly be adopted, and the benefits it offers are convincing and promising. There are still a lot of areas yet to be explored, where AI-powered automation can improve performance and operations in FM industry. We hope that Christopher Lim inspired all the attendees who attended Facilities Management Conference, and used this conference as a head start to initiate their automation journey.

Written by: Kezia Nadira