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Wearable Tech in 2016: Big Applications

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Wearable tech saw huge advances in 2015, so it’s only appropriate that in 2016 we’ll see a huge trend in this technology.

To date, wearable smart-devices have primarily seen application on the consumer side of the spectrum (and with a heavy focus on fitness tracking applications). But, some are noting that this tech segment has potentially huge implications within the enterprise arena, too. Read more

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The Year in Review: 2015’s Most Exciting Industries

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As 2015 draws to a close, we’d like to take a moment and contemplate major movers in the year behind us:

 

Social Media — 

Social media is an interesting case, as its dominance this year isn’t seen by any particular “leap” or “bound” (though we could cite Facebook’s staggering 1.55 billion monthly active users). Instead, it’s the subtle ways in which seemingly everything we do has become social that warrants the industry’s inclusion on this list. Gone are the days when Facebook accounts were seen as a toy of the student, or as another fad to be weathered. Read more

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What Machines Miss, and more on the Human Sensor

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Anyone following our blog can attest to the fact that we’re big on technology (almost to the point of obsession). As such, it may come as a surprise to readers that—in the most important aspects of facility management—we’re even bigger proponents of people.

 

The simple truth is that machines aren’t yet capable of dynamically managing the full spectrum of human needs. Even the most sophisticated of technology still offers the promise of only surface-level interaction with tenants, and still contains no means of truly empathizing with human responses or offering creative solutions. For these reasons—and many more—we still see technology’s role as that of a facilitator, not a leader.

 

This leads us, as it has in previous posts, to consider “The Human Sensor Network™” as the true foundation for making a building’s everyday decisions. Wielded correctly, this framework allows facility managers to accumulate real feedback from those affected and fill in the “sense” gaps that machines leave behind.

 

As a few examples:

 

  • Preferred settings for an office’s temperature can vary from season to season, as clothing tends to change based on weather. So, while a mechanical sensor may want to keep heat set to 74 degrees regardless of month (thus ignoring those garbed in winter sweaters or summer shorts), your office’s Human Sensor Network can offer unique insights based on the daily variance of Mother Nature’s mood.

 

  • If your normally fragrant office is under siege by an ill-advised burning of popcorn in the break room, it’s unlikely the building’s mechanical sensors would care (or even notice). However, the human sensors in your building will likely opt for some open windows and perhaps a brief “max power” session from the building’s fans to help clear out the offending smell.

 

  • If there’s construction across the street, the accompanying din may be distracting for office workers as they take on already mentally exhausting tasks. By discussing the problem with coworkers, it may be possible to land on a consensus for some white noise (such as classical music).

 

All of the above scenarios boil down to two of the most critical part of a human sensor network: 1.) All human sensors understand their ability to sense the environment 2.) All human sensors can instinctively and emotionally evaluate their surroundings. 

 

These examples, of course, only scrape the tip of the Human Sensor Network’s possibilities…there’s an infinite number of insights to be gained from meaningful communication with tenants. And, if designed properly, the framework for your building’s network can even foster collaboration and a better sense of community, as people feel themselves heard and see subsequent results.

 

As we said before, machines are to assist in productivity; Machines obey, and people lead. Ultimately, people are the most powerful force on the earth. Why wouldn’t you want that to be your source of data? 

 

Make sure you keep following the discussion on the exciting concepts behind the Human Sensor Network!

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The Merits of Facility-Wide Communication Platforms

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We’re generally optimists…there’s a ton of exciting stuff going on in technology, and even more advancements on the horizon.

 

But, for as incredible of a world as we live in, facilities still face a number of threats (both internal and external). No matter how far we’ve come, we still need to prepare for events such as fires, tornadoes, floods, earthquakes, and (sadly) even armed intruders.

 

History has shown that risks like these are most effectively mitigated when:

 

  • Dangers are identified and understood well in advance
  • Contingency plans are in place (such as clearly marked exit paths, routinely practiced fire drills, etc.)
  • All affected personnel are aware of the issue at hand, thus allowing them to make informed decisions

 

Recently, we’ve been giving more thought to this last step, as communication is a powerful tool in improving welfare, and mitigating risk. Read more

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Facility Management Holiday Gift List One: Cleaning Gadgets

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It’s holiday season, and people are usually looking for clothing, jewelry, or some extravagant gizmo to gift to someone. For you, the immaculate, shining facility manager, you’re looking to upgrade your cleaning arsenal. Cleanliness and hygiene of facilities is a task that needs to be expertly handled, or else risk other problems that affect your buildings and tenants.

 

 

In the first of our series, here are a few tools and products from Karacher, 3M, and EcoLab that we have added to our master “Facility Management Gift List.” 

Read more

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“Automation” doesn’t equate to Automatic Safety

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It’s been over 100 years since the sinking of the Titanic, but we still retell the legendary ship’s story with great regularity—both for interest in the vessel’s feats of engineering, and for the tragedy of its untimely demise. But, in recounting this story, it’s impossible to avoid mention of the ship’s perceived “unsinkability,” as well as how this egotism led to an inadequate number of lifeboats and subsequent loss of human life.

 

In fact, one might argue that the Titanic’s story survived specifically because of its value as a cautionary tale.

 

Today, facility managers are thrust into roles not so different from those of the Titanic’s crew; both must define risks for those under their care and prepare for them as best they can. As we look at this comparison, an obvious question arises: has our technology made us overconfident, and—as a result—underprepared? Are we, for instance, less likely to enact company-wide fire drills because modern smoke detectors are so accurate that forewarning of a problem should provide us with enough time to evacuate? Read more

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These are the Most Advanced Facilities to Date.


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Smart building tech, as a market, is valued well into the trillions. The potential to give facilities an artificial intelligence, to promote productivity, has already seen hard, current results. What are the best and brightest examples of these “smart buildings/facilities?” What applications, features, and platforms do these structures have that are lacking in less advanced facilities? 

 

Well, let’s jump in then, and learn about the Most Advanced Facilities to Date: Read more

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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. Read more

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Commutes gone? Welcome to the “Oculus Office”

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Fifty years ago, business was done almost exclusively via face-to-face meetings (supplemented by landlines and the postal service). Today, we harness the ability to send massive amounts of information across the globe within seconds. And, tomorrow, we’ll be more likely to sit at virtual conference tables than real ones. We are a society that may be headed into an era of the “Oculus Office.” Read more

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There’s Serious Substance in Strong Building Safety (Part 2)

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In a previous post, we outlined a four general ways in which personal safety can be compromised by both internal, external, and natural forces:

 

  1. Physical harm caused by the building and its utilities
  2. Disasters (natural and artificial), such as tornadoes, earthquakes, and fires
  3. Third-party crimes, such as theft, defacement of property, and assault
  4. Internal threats, such as coworker harassment

 

For each—even #4—strong facility management can play a key role in preventing dangerous outcomes and bolstering a sense of security for those utilizing any building. For instance: Read more