The facility management profession continues to evolve in many facets with an increasing rate. Global changes - technology and economics - are directly influencing facility management in several ways. To satisfy business demands, facility managers are required to adjust their strategies according to these trends.
1. Technological Changes
Facility managers already incorporate many technological innovations in order to increase the productivity, lower the costs, remove the human error and improve the quality of services in the buildings. Some of the below technological innovations will get an increased usage in the facility management field of work:
Smart buildings are digital extension of architectural and engineering progress connected and responsive to the smartpower grid, and they interact with building operators and occupants to empower them with new levels of visibility and actionable information 
Smart Wi-Fi - Use your mobile phone to: change router settings, monitor network devices, restrict access to certain websites, view network cameras live and browse or stream photos
IoT technology will continue to develop and possibly will be implemented in other technologies such as smart buildings. Utilizing IoT systems correctly can reduce energy bills and provide insightful data
Near field communication (NFC) technologies - contactless communication between devices like smartphones or tablets will gain a more important role in the data exchange
Blockchain technology provides direct insight into the problems occurring in the building. Blockchain technology will enhance the visibility in the buildings and facilitate the resolving of the issues by saving time and resources
Flexible Displays. In recent years there has been a growing interest from numerous consumer electronics manufacturers to apply this display technology. These displays are easy to use and maintain.
Virtual Reality - Technicians nowadays are using this technology to identify equipment failures faster and make repairs easier. The same technology can be applied in the facility management field of work to save valuable time and reduce repair costs in the interior and exterior of the buildings.
Artificial Intelligence can be used to design predictive and preventive systems, improve security, help users to find parking space, change room temperature, lightning, use audio/video devices with their voice etc.
Robotics are increasing efficiency through automation in: cleaning, maintaining, transport, repairing damages, inspections from air and in dangerous areas (drones) etc.
2. Economical Changes
According to IMF, the global economy is slowly shifting in favor of Asian countries. Eastern economy is gaining momentum in the technology and construction areas, which are very important in the facility management profession. This sudden rise will impose new challenges on the Western economy, which currently maintains a leading position. That said, an overall increase in competition is present among newly emerging markets, shifting everything towards online and digitalization. Facility managers will have to find new ways and adjust their current strategies to stay competitive in the technology and construction world and keep up with the global economic trends.
3. Demographic changes
With the average lifespan increasing, people are choosing to work longer than before. Companies will search for, hire and retain employees from different generations and backgrounds. Following this, facility managers are expected to implement new strategies that will include different generations at the workplace and balance their needs.
Global exchange of information, knowledge, money, experiences and cultures keep increasing thanks to the improved technology. This leads to global exposure towards new products and services from different cultures. Facility managers will face competition from Eastern and African countries, which will create competition for the products and services that are used in the facility management industry as well as competition in developing new, modern strategies and ideas.
The constant battle with the Global warming will continue. Building eco-friendly, energy saving, green-certified buildings to reduce the overall waste, carbon emissions and the costs will be a primary concern of facility management. In terms of sustainability of new building designs, facility managers will have to make sure that the buildings are properly insulated, energy positive and meet the Building+ code. When it comes to the sustainability of older buildings, facility managers will have to upgrade old systems and technologies or replace them; refurbish or replace poor insulations and structures; become more efficient in energy, supplies and materials usage; provide better maintenance and reduce the waste disposal. In the future, the use of energy monitoring systems is very likely. These features will enhance each facilities’ asset-level energy consumption and performance.
6. Health and wellness
In near future is expected that the companies will focus more on employee and occupant wellness. Modern lifestyle, sitting for hours and stressful workplace are causing various diseases and disorders like: diabetes, obesity, heart diseases, anxiety, depression etc. Having great health and wellness strategies will ensure the attraction and retaining of employees and facility managers should help to deliver happier employees. New, redesigned workplace and buildings in facility management should include: comfortable buildings designs that support more active and healthier lifestyle, implementation of programs that boost productivity, promotion of healthier lifestyle, disease prevention and reduction of sickness and absenteeism.
7. Individualization Individualization is separating oneself from the crowd. This has made branding a key element of today’s marketing in facility management. Customers expect custom-made products and services and employees want to be treated as individuals, expecting the company to help them achieve their personal goals. In this aspect, facility managers will have to provide individualized products and services to satisfy the needs of the individual and to increase their productivity. If a company fails to deliver that, the employees will seek a company that will.
New products and services are being introduced to the mass market at a fast pace. The use of internet has made it possible for news to travel fast, spreading trends quickly and increasing sales overnight. For the facility management industry, this means an increased need for a more diverse and specialized palette of products and services, greater and faster competition, shorter product lifecycles etc. Facility managers will have to: stay innovative, keep improving the customers’ performance, develop strategies to increase the overall quality and cut the waste. Additionally, outsourcing and offshoring will remain strong trends. When it comes to good facility management there is no “magic formula” which every facility manager can apply in his/her project. Rather, businesses need to follow customer’s needs. It is imperative to understand that customers are creators of the market and they generate the trends. Facility management is an ever-changing profession and staying up-to-date can give you a significant advantage.
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