Addressing facilities management challenges with an IoT and wayfinding solution

This post has been republished via RSS; it originally appeared at: New blog articles in Microsoft Tech Community.

A transformative shift is underway in facilities management as organizations consider the health, safety, and security of spaces, as well as tenant and customer satisfaction and how to optimize building sustainability. To achieve these goals, facilities management (FM) needs more information and better insights to reduce costs, improve efficiencies, increase customer service, and reduce carbon emissions.


Digital technology such as IoT sensors, mapping, and wayfinding can help to address these challenges. e-Magic, Microshare, and Microsoft have jointly put together a starter kit that can speed up deployment of a digital solution to assist your FM team.


The cost of ‘reacting’ rather than executing proactively


A key challenge for most facilities managers is that of “reacting” to requests and service events rather than acting proactively. Planned and scheduled tasks take a back seat when unexpected problems arise. The costs of reacting to service requests can compound quickly as well.


Consider a comfort complaint from a tenant customer. Responding to it starts with information gathering: Which building and space? Which HVAC system services that space? What are the current operating metrics, recent faults or alerts, and repair history? Then a service technician is dispatched to investigate to issue. The technician needs all that information about where the building located, what is the optimal route, where the HVAC system is located, and even what tooling or parts might be necessary to address the issue.


Often, not all that information is available, and someone dispatched to investigate the problem is caught unprepared. This can amount to time, effort, and money wasted by:


  • Incorrect or imprecise address information
  • Misunderstanding the location within the building
  • Travel time, including directions, construction, and traffic information
  • Incorrect equipment information
  • Staying on schedule with other planned activities
  • Repeat visits to address the same issue


Getting ahead of facilities issues


The root problem is that a customer complaint means you are already too late; it is a lagging indicator of something that went wrong. What if you could get ahead of the situation? That’s where technology can help solve the challenges.


By collecting telemetry data from IoT sensors and building equipment, you can understand both current operating conditions and future trends. Real-time data about indoor air quality conditions, including temperature, humidity, and carbon dioxide levels, can be analyzed through advanced analytics to detect mechanical or controller issues as they happen and surface signs of potential failures in the future. With space environment monitoring and proactive notification about equipment issues, you can correct a problem before customers decide to act and file a complaint.


Providing information at your fingertips


Numerous surveys show that workers spend as much as 25 percent of their workday looking for information. Technology such as mapping software can position the precise location of IoT devices and building equipment in a map or floorplan view that you can see on-screen on a mobile or desktop device. Alarms and notifications also can be viewed in real time by the technician. You can click on the point of interest to access detailed information about the space and assets, including pictures, operating manuals, and specifications.


With visualization of assets and the room/floor/building the issue is occurring in, you can make appropriate decisions about what actions to take and which resources are required to remedy the issue.




Enable facilities management with intuitive mapping and wayfinding tools


Coordinating FM activities across a large campus or portfolio of buildings can result in wasted travel, excess carbon emissions, and lost productivity. With location and wayfinding services, you can choose the best route considering traffic, temporary closures, and parking. With turn-by-turn blue dot navigation and wayfinding assistance, you can be guided in real time to the precise location in your preferred language. You also can send someone a QR code that links to directions they can use to find the destination themselves.


With the awareness of real-time IoT data and the visual guidance of map locations, routing, and wayfinding, FM teams can improve productivity significantly and increase tenant satisfaction. FM managers can also potentially realize other benefits:


  • Improved productivity of daily activities
  • Reduced stress by proactively addressing issues and reducing customer complaints and urgent repairs
  • Faster service response and turnaround by eliminating time wasted due to searching for information or directions
  • Ramping up unfamiliar staff with a detailed map fosters familiarity and reduces learning and ramp-up times


Learn more and get a starter kit


e-Magic, Microshare, and Microsoft have put together an easy-to-deploy starter kit that can quickly get your FM team started with IoT sensors, mapping, and wayfinding capabilities. Get started immediately on improving your FM. Learn more and find out how to order the kit. 

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