The first generation of software for facility management were known as Computer-Aided Facility Management (CAFM) or Facility Management Information Systems (FMIS).
In 1980’s CAFM seemed ‘smart’ as integration back then meant one central database connected to other smaller modules and all these modules made use of the central database. Integration of processes, with other systems or even buildings, was way beyond anyone’s imagination. But, as facilities at workplaces became more sophisticated and facilities management broadened to include duties associated with business operations, responsibilities that once belonged to separate departments begin to merge under facilities department.
In other words, the scope of facilities management was changing—and quickly. This proved to be the catalyst for the evolution of CAFM into IWMS.
Today, IWMS systems are responsible for much broader aspects of management. Moreover, IWMS systems can be integrated with other systems, if necessary, to increase overall functionality.
However, organizations are now facing new challenges due to COVID-19 where traditional IWMS solutions are not the answer.
A global survey of executives, employee experience experts, and knowledge workers done by CISCO sponsored dimensional research indicates that most employees will be working a significant portion of their time from home from now on.
At the same time, employees will still return to offices and businesses need to make numerous changes in the workplace to facilitate a safe return. Solutions will be needed that reduce the need to touch high-use items and that measure and communicate cleanliness, social distancing, meeting room, and desk usability.
According to Verdantix 2020 survey with 250 facilities executives, 47% of firms have accelerated their digitization programs because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
We expect the following trends to dominate the digitization initiatives at workplaces in the next 18-24 months.
A. Use technology to facilitate compliance with the changing health and safety protocols at workplace:
IoT and AI enabled technologies would facilitate data collection, aggregation and analysis of air and surface hygiene, trends, and performance at workplaces. Surface cleaning and air hygiene management standards would be critical KPIs in workplace performance criteria for all administrators and FM service providers.
This would help employees to be informed on health and hygiene levels and build trust and confidence for them to use their workplace more often, going forward.
B. Repurpose workplace and space management:
New IWMS playbook offers solutions aimed at COVID-19 and the return to work, including contact tracing, way finding and space planning. Indoor mapping solutions will elevate employee experience and accelerate workplace digitization efforts and space rationalization programs.
These software’s help workplace administrators to monitor current occupancy against set capacity limits and establish automated workflows in response to high-traffic areas. Furthermore, managers can analyse the data using AI to detect data anomalies and predict when areas are likely to be highly populated.
The way finding web app helps employees interact with their space more intuitively, navigate safe routes around their workplace, and find spaces or co-workers.
IoT/IoRT enabled applications would drive the evolution of next level of IWMS in the coming years. Expect IWMS to be more versatile, intuitive, and automated/connected with infrastructure and humans than ever before.
The future IWMS is like a catalyst to deliver superior and advanced workplace business insights and predictable impact in a way people interact and collaborate in the repurposed workplaces.