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Facility Managers and “Digital Care”

 

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As discussed last week, we’re observing a consistent trend in business: the shift from physical spaces to digital ones. Nonetheless, it’s important to note that the office isn’t disappearing—it’s just being reformed from a wider range of building blocks (spanning both bricks and pixels). For facility managers, this means that future success will be found in adapting to better maintain both physical and digital spaces within their building.

 

More specifically, this means treating the internet as both a core utility and as an extension of the office.

 

These efforts can start with steps as simple as ensuring that the location of wireless routers provides adequate wifi coverage for all tenants in a building. Just as temperature is tracked for comfort across different floors, so should internet speed be tracked for all users in an office. Where deficits are found, facility managers and IT representatives can use wireless network extenders to better serve those under their care

 

Simultaneously, facility managers and IT departments should converse on any physical requirements needed for sensitive technology, such as company servers. Where possible, it’s best to avoid housing such equipment under water pipes or in areas prone to overheating. Along these same lines, facility managers may seek to implement tighter security surrounding tech than they do for other assets in a building. Again, collaboration with IT departments can provide better insights as to what might be appropriate (certainly, the needs of a small marketing firm and those of an international weapons manufacturer are likely to be very different!).

 

Furthermore, as facility managers begin to rely more and more on automated data curation, they’d do well to discuss security protocols with their IT department. A recent FM World piece notes, even basic sensors pose potentially big problems if not adequately protected:

 

“The ability to poison [sensor data] with fake readings…could mean new classes of denial of service attacks. For example, attackers may be able to switch off cooling and raise heating to a maximum by sending falsified low temperature readings. In environments such as data centres, where maintaining a controlled temperature is vital, this could cause serious damage to equipment and even corruption of data.”

 

As with all things, progress in facility management means both new opportunities and new risks. By tracking these changes (and employing the expertise of those in adjacent departments), FMs can better capture the burgeoning tech wave in their industry while simultaneously mitigating associated risks.

 

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