Why Smart Cities Cannot Exist Without Smart Facilities Management
Throughout the world, substantial technological investments in infrastructure and real estate are taking place. In order to take full advantage of the long-term profitability of these developments, companies will need to find inventive and effective ways to simultaneously manage their ‘built’ environments and facilities.
What Is Smart Facilities Management?
To understand why smart facilities management is so imperative to the efficient running of a ‘smart’ city, one must first understand exactly what it entails.
For those who are new to Facilities Management (FM), it is a method of management that focuses on efficiently delivering support systems for the organisations it serves, encompassing multiple disciplines to ensure a fluid functionality of a developed environment by combining place, people, systems, process and technology. In regards to ‘smart facilities management’, it is simply this type of management applied to ‘smart city initiatives’.
The role of professional FM, as a multifunctioning business tool, is to synchronise supply and demand of facilities and services within private and public organisations. Here, ‘facilities’ applies to a built feature that is established or installed to serve a specific purpose2, which can refer to any “tangible asset that supports an organization.”3
In 2009, Global Job Task Analysis, IFMA, defined the main capabilities of FM using responses taken from FMs in sixty-two countries as:
Emergency Preparedness and Business Continuity
Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability
Finance and Business
Leadership and Strategy
Operations and Maintenance
Real Estate and Property Management
The Importance of Smart Facilities Management
The emergence of various trends and cutting-edge technologies, such as sensor networks, ‘big data’, the Internet of Things and increased civilian participation, are powering smart cities and providing highly informative information to sectors, such as energy distribution, environmental protection and public transportation to name a few.
As a result of these technological advancements, colossal amounts of data and information are exchanged daily. With the vast array of interconnected sectors that exist within smart cities, the need to have a smart facilities management system has never been more apparent.
To keep pace with the following transformations, corporations and company owners alike are changing the way they run their facilities. Progressive moves towards ‘intelligent’ FM are occurring, leaving behind the costly, manual processes that existed in the past.
A fully functioning interdependent relationship has become a necessity in order to enjoy the efficient operation of a smart city. The ability to successfully implement and manage technological innovation with smart FM will result in the delivery of first-class solutions to smart cities. If a healthy relationship can be established, the populations that inhabit smart cities across the globe will reap the benefits of a truly expedient, ‘smarter’ and more practical environment.
2 International Facility Management Association (IFMA), 1998