Site and facilities managers face continual challenges maintaining and managing buildings, estates and assets. Typical core tasks focus on:
- Inspections and compliance
- Proactive and reactive maintenance processes
- Asset management
- Meeting audit requirements
These core tasks fit alongside other competing demands for staff time and resources.
One way to ease the pressure of managing these tasks is through the use of new technology. This can help to make data and information much more accessible and easily understood. In turn, this helps reduce your workload and enables you to remain focused on what’s important.
Let the technology help you – seeing is believing
Rather than display data in a heavily screen-based, text-focused way, facilities managers can now use maps, site and floor plans, 360° photospheres and augmented reality (AR). For the first time this puts leading-edge visualisation into your hands without you needing specialist knowledge or expensive equipment.
Using photospheres leads to more efficient and easier management of buildings, estates and assets. You’ll be familiar with photospheres as the visualisation behind services such as Google Street View. It seemed logical to bring this type of capability to facilities managers too – for inside and outside use.
Working in a 2D and 360° world
Adding data to plan-based views means you’ll have a high-level overall perspective of your assets and facilities data. Integrating this data into photospheres delivers intuitive understanding and visual comprehension about the data in a room or space in a way that simple photographs cannot achieve.
In addition, by connecting 360° photospheres you can ‘walk’ the estate or building. This is ideal if you manage large estates or buildings which are spread out over an extensive area, and reduces or eliminates the time and cost in making personal site visits while improving the communication between on-site and office-based staff.
Imagine trying to get the buy-in from other managers, directors or stakeholders for new maintenance or refurbishment activities. Rather than simply presenting reports and photographs, you could walk them through key areas of the estate. They can see for themselves the scale of the issues you’re presenting.
The cloud-based photosphere technology also means your site teams can provide a better service to others. For example, it becomes much easier for users to report maintenance issues or facilities requests.
Photospheres also provide benefits when used for external views. For example, they provide a perfect way to visualise roofing issues and to virtually ‘walk’ a roof.
Increasing stakeholder engagement
You will also have a much better way of viewing and sharing information with colleagues than has been the case in the past. Equally, surveyors can provide you with an interactive view of their findings which increases your or your governors’ buy-in to recommendations that are being made for repairs or refurbishments. This is invaluable for explaining and communicating problems or issues and validating what was on site.
With AR, you’re able to take the benefits offered by photospheres to the next level. You can hold up a smartphone or tablet and pan around a space, meaning you can see asset or facilities information displayed in its correct real-world location. For example, information about a broken window would be overlaid on the window.
Better collaborative working drives efficiencies
Taking this capability a step further and augmenting data onto the photospheres as well means that off-site colleagues can also see the scene. This greatly improves collaborative working and means remote staff can assist with issues or questions. A contractor could verify easily and quickly lighting fittings, for example, and see whether there are any access issues which again a simple photograph may not show.
Software that cost-effectively adds value and saves time is a win-win situation for those of you who are familiar with having to wear multiple hats while working with on-site and off-site teams of contractors.