These days, there is a consumer-based app for just about anything. But what about an app or suite of apps for Facilities Management?
A colleague of mine joked that she preferred to run only when being chased by something - which was never. Then she discovered a fitness app that virtually puts her in the middle of a fictitious zombie apocalypse where the goal is to outrun zombies who are chasing her. The app got her off the couch and running for her virtual life…and got her in shape in the process.
It is fun to daydream up apps for our personal lives. But as a professional in the area of Facilities Management, now is the time to start dreaming up apps to make the management of a facility more efficient, effective, and fun! With GIS, the cloud, indoor tracking technologies, and the proliferation of mobile devices, the time has come for you to “have an app for that” in Facilities Management.
GIS is nothing new and emerged as a technology right around the time Johnny Cash played the first of many concerts behind bars. GIS, simply defined, is a system used for storage, retrieval, mapping, and analysis of location data. It helps you use information you already have stored away somewhere to answer questions that no one else seems to know the answers to…like “where is the shut-off valve for the irrigation system?”
So, take a moment to think about all the data you have and all the systems you use to manage facilities. Now ask yourself this question, “How much of that data is related to a physical location either inside or outside the building?” Chances are the answer is “a lot!” And usually, location is not simply a component of the data; it is a critical piece of information that you must have in order to do your job.
Since location is so important, it’s a good idea to use GIS, a technology designed to manage, visualize, analyze, and share location related data. Add in some cloud, indoor tracking, and mobile know-how and you have all that is needed to have an app or suite of apps for:
Portfolio Management – Portfolio management geospatial apps for site selection, landscape modeling, utilization, condition, and space type/use.
Operations – Operations geospatial apps for: project status and updating, repairs needs and status, asset maintenance, testing, inspection, work order management, space and move management, finding people, places, and things, indoor routing and path analysis.
Safety and Security – Safety and security apps for incident reporting, evacuations routes, crowd sourced incident information, health and occupational safety compliance, emergency planning, risk assessment, incident management, monitoring and response, emergency response and communication with the public.
The distance from where you are today to having these types of apps is not as far as you might think. GIS is an ideal technology for integrating disparate data. In the process, it can help you get more value from your existing Facilities Management systems and the BIM.
To get a start, it might be as easy as signing up for a cloud-based ArcGIS Online account from Esri. There is also an opportunity to set up a working session where we spend time with your key stakeholders understanding your business and your existing technology stack. The outcome from the combination of Facilities Management, location technology, IT, and business experts being locked in room for a few days is a well-marked path to having “an app for that”.
So start dreaming about all the Facilities Management apps you want, because with today’s technology if you can dream it, it can happen.