The International Facility Management Association (IFMA) has launched a collaborative portal where facility management (FM) professionals can pool knowledge and best practices and engage with other individuals and organizations relating to the Internet of Things (IoT). IFMA has formed a dedicated IoT task force to uncover the best way for FM professionals to take advantage of the vast potential of billions of interconnected physical objects (things), all using data connectivity to understand and interact with the built and natural environments.
“The Internet of Things will soon completely change how people interact with their environment and with buildings,” said Eric Teicholz, IFMA Fellow and co-chair of the Internet of Things initiative, in a press release. “Making sense of the vast amount of information produced by the IoT and then turning that into useful action is the challenge we face. That’s why this task force was created and it’s the purpose of the IoT portal.”
By 2025, industry experts estimate that there may be as many as one trillion building sensors in place, or about 120 per every living person. Once they are being effectively used, the insights offered by the IoT promise to allow huge strides towards making buildings more efficient and sustainable, while also making them more responsive to the needs of the people who live and work in them.
Changing expectations for the built environment have made the role of the FM more strategically important than ever. Currently, smart buildings around the globe are suffering from a performance gap between expected and actual results. In a publication by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, it is noted that in the design stage, there is evidence that buildings are not performing as well as anticipated. Post-occupancy evaluations showed that actual energy consumption in buildings was often twice as much as predicted. A primary cause of this result is a failure to account for the FM professionals who need to analyze and interpret the data generated by smart buildings. These buildings require knowledgeable people to run them, according to the report, in order to achieve the optimal operational potential.