Verdantix: Are user-focused apps the new focus of IWMS innovation?


In recent months, there has been a hive of activity across employee engagement apps in the real estate and facilities management software market. For example, iOffice launched “Hummingbird”, an employee-centric layer for IWMS, IBM and ISS are piloting a digital concierge service which assists occupants in managing everyday workplace tasks such as room booking or organizing catering, and MCS launched a virtual personal assistant “Sumi” that can support the booking of rooms.

The latest product launch from UK-based software firm FSI is “Concept Advantage” – a series of user-focused apps which can be used alongside FSI’s Computer-Aided Facilities Management (CAFM) software. The initial range of apps includes “ChatLog” – a facilities help-desk that resembles common social media platforms, and “OurSay” – a crowd-sourcing and voting tool to enable workers to contribute to facilities management decisions. FSI believes the app will also reduce the time that facilities help-desks spend receiving calls around building issues.

The recent innovation around purpose-built user-focused apps represents a break from traditional practice. For many decades, the user interface of IWMS and CAFM software has largely been built around the needs of “power users” such as Real Estate or Facility Directors. Whilst it has been possible to configure the user interface to simplify it, the result is not always a clean and intuitive user experience. The recent user-centric product updates are likely to be welcomed by customers.

We continue to hear that buyers look for a high-quality user interface from their facility management software…

[Admin: This post is related to the 06.06.17 post about employee-facing tech in the workplace. To see other related posts, use the Verdantix tag.]

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Serraview: Can traditional IWMS handle the modern workplace?


Integrated Workplace Management Systems (IWMS) were developed in the ’90s to address the technical limitations of sharing data between multiple real estate and facility management teams. The benefit of IWMS was having a single system for managing the entire real estate portfolio lifecycle. Since these systems were designed for traditional office space, progressive companies are starting to doubt the ability of IWMS to support the transition to the modern workplace…

It is no secret that IWMS are cumbersome to use, which results in companies hiring high-priced consultants for implementations. Paired with its lack of features and flexibility, IWMS frequently exceed their original prices due to customization…

To combat these issues, progressive companies are leveraging (IWMS 2.0) best-of-breed space management technology to augment their existing investment in traditional IWMS to support their modern workplaces. Space management technology is able to address the new requirements of modern workplaces such as neighborhoods, seating ratios, real-time utilization, and highlighting the differences between actual usage of space and allocation of space.

To learn more about IWMS in the modern workplace, download our white paper: “Can Traditional IWMS Meet the Requirements of the Modern Workplace?”

[Admin: To see other related posts, use the Serraview tag or IWMS 2.0 tag.]

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FM trends in workplace design focus on occupant satisfaction


Several factors are inspiring designers to “up the ante” in the creation of office designs today. One factor is that CEOs and upper management are electing to sit and work among their employees, in order to eliminate hierarchies and spur more democratic collaborations among departments and between individuals.

Another factor is the need to provide flexible work environments for individual and shared work, while ensuring the technology required at these workstations is mobile, invisible, and where possible, wireless. Finally, in order to attract and retain new generations of employees, and keep them healthy, productive, and happy, facility managers are seeking out new inspired and imaginative approaches to workplace design. Here are two strategies that address all of those factors.

Redistribution of space

The days of the large conference room are gone (along with their large conference tables). They’re simply underutilized in an era of more mobile and smaller, shared workspaces. There’s a widespread realization that open office plans, with low panels between workstations, generate more distractions than productivity…

Multipurpose circulation space

For decades, companies have viewed circulation as a necessary evil, as space required to get employees from one area to another. As a result, designers would program in a 35 to 40 percent circulation factor. Today, designs are increasing that to upwards of 50 percent, driven by the evolution of circulation into multipurpose experiential spaces essential to creativity and collaboration…

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Planon: Why do most real estate managers still need to know BIM?


Many real estate managers are rather surprised when their contractor shows up with loads of information at the hand-over of a new construction project. “It is all the information you need for the operational phase” he will say. Adding, “As we are really innovative, you will find everything in a digital model, called BIM.” After a discussion, in which the real estate manager explains that he only needs a small portion, a common response of the contractor is: “Real Estate & Facility Management is still old-fashioned, they don’t know what they need!” Is this a fair response?

The information challenge

Typically, users of an Integrated Workplace Management System (IWMS) have dealt with this challenge for many years. They have probably invested in maintaining CAD drawings to be able to import the gross and net m² of their spaces and updated their building assets at a relative high level. They have had to make maintenance budgets based on estimations of the amount of glass m² of their facades. When preparing for a renovation, they hire an architect to do exact measurements, which has always been the base for comparing offers of contractors to do their work.

Getting the most out of BIM

As contractors and architects are currently re-developing their business plans based on the use of Building Information Modelling (BIM), real estate managers are still investigating what this could mean for them. What possible benefits exist for maintaining a space with 3D dimensions? Or, which self-service/job-handling processes can really be improved by walking through a 3D model? Real estate managers that receive a BIM model will now have a hundred times more assets available than before. However, who will benefit from this type of information?

[Admin: To see other related posts, use the Planon tag.]

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FM trends in high-performance buildings and workplaces (HPB+W)


The annual High-Performance Buildings + Workplaces (HPB+W) conference takes place at the Arlington (Texas) Convention Center, May 17-18. Registration is free!

Greg Zimmerman brings more than 13 years of experience and knowledge to the facility management field. He discusses the changes and trends he’s seen in the quickly evolving occupation. With technology rapidly influencing the profession, facility managers can expect to see the effect in their everyday jobs and the overall performance of their buildings.

What misconceptions do people have about smart, sustainable buildings?

A common misconception I hear is high-performance buildings or smart buildings must be super expensive and complex. That’s simply not true. Even small buildings that are easier to operate can be smart, high-performance, and sustainable. Most buildings in the United States are smaller, so we can really start making a dent…

What excites you about the future of the facilities business?

The rate at which high-performance building technology is being implemented is really encouraging. The Internet of Things, IoT, is one example. We have adopted IoT technology in our personal lives, and now we’re doing that in our professional lives. People have been using smart phones to remotely control things…

What advice would you give to facility managers just starting out?

One thing to focus on is learning about what’s going to be important in the future. The biggest topic in facility management right now is high-performance buildings and sustainability. Technology is second nature to young professionals just coming in. Understand and learn the technology. Be the “go to” person for your building…

What do people need to know about HPB+W?

This is really the only show of its kind, covering such a wide range of topics. It concentrates on energy and water efficiency, air quality, IoT, technology; all falling under the umbrella of high-performance buildings. This is our third year of the show and we are really hitting our stride…

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Verdantix: Siemens trains the next generation of facility managers


The real estate industry has the perception of being a slow-moving adopter of emerging technology – across its lifecycle. Once building systems are installed, they are generally not upgraded or replaced until absolutely necessary because of the cost intensive nature the renovation work required.

Recently, however… increased use of technologies such as smart equipment and sensors and cloud-based software for energy, maintenance and space utilization management begs the question – How is the facility management industry to stay up to date and relevant in the era of smart buildings? There are three routes the industry needs to pursue to stay on top of new technologies.

  • The first is to use FM training programs, such as those offered through industry associations like the British Institute of Facilities Management or the International Facility Management Association…
  • Secondly, aspiring facility managers need to be trained on the use of new technologies from the start. Siemens is assisting the Tallahassee Community College (TCC) to design and equip a “Living Lab”…
  • Finally, firms may find it too cost intensive to continuously provide training on new technologies to staff – it may be more beneficial to consider contracting with specialist services providers, such as Siemens…

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ValuD: Interview with Motors@Work


As “going green” becomes not only a trend but a necessity in our world today, it’s important we talk about energy conservation. Industrial consumption accounts for at least 42% of the global electricity consumption and a significant portion of that is wasted. With one third of such industrial consumption being used by electric motors, it goes without saying that energy conservation in electric motors is a must have. And that is exactly where Rod Ellsworth and his team at Motors@Work(TM) come into the picture…

VC: Good to know that Motors@Work(TM) has earned the trust and confidence of its clients! You recently announced that Motors@Work(TM) will be available as a SaaS solution in IBM Bluemix. Are there any specific reasons for you to choose IBM Bluemix as your Platform as a Service (PaaS) provider?

RE: Well, there are quite a few reasons for us to choose IBM Bluemix as our PaaS partner. For one, IBM currently happens to be one of the leading PaaS providers in the market today and is also the market leader in the Asset Performance Management sector. The way we look at it, Motors@Work(TM) energy intelligence has value on its own but our customers will get the extended benefit when our energy intelligence data is combined with historical data and live data streams from connected devices, sensors, and other IBM Watson IoT hub components. Moreover, the systematic integration of Motors@Work(TM) with Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) Applications will provide seamless business process integration for non-conformity mitigation and energy improvement opportunity execution. Additionally, this partnership will enable us to integrate our application with IBM’s Maximo Asset Management and TRIRIGA RE/FM applications, which again would be beneficial to our clients. We feel that this will be a win-win relationship for us as well as for our clients…

[Admin: This post is related to the 02.18.16 post about the ValuD partnership with Motors@Work.]

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