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17 July 2019
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Francis Simon

4 December 2018 Simon Francis

Simon Francis discusses how the FM industry needs to adapt to new technology in the workplace.

As BIFM makes its transition to IWFM, finally embracing FM as a positive and strategic function, it’s time for today’s FM to get to grips with the data analysis, automation and interconnectivity that is already starting to drive the industry forward. 

The discerning FM has access to a whole host of cloud-based technologies. From asset management systems fully integrated with GIS data to smart building management systems connected to IoT sensors and artificial intelligence, tomorrow’s world is here in today’s workplace.

Our industry has some way to go to ensure it has the technical skills needed to navigate these systems. We are still not the destination of choice for today’s brightest and best school leavers and are still some way behind our construction, property and IT industry colleagues in attracting tomorrow’s technical specialists. 

At London South Bank University (LSBU), we have taken the partnering approach to obtaining the technical IT skills needed to embrace the connected world. We have chosen to work with external partners who not only have the right skill set to design and develop systems for us, but who can work with us to help us to develop our vision of the future. 

An example of this approach is our work with a start-up formed by LSBU Alumni, who are based in our on-campus incubator, to develop an incident-reporting system for our security team. We have also worked with current students to create an award-winning sharing and reuse app to support our sustainability commitments. 

Cloud-based interconnectivity, data analytics and working in a culture of sharing and openness are second nature to the young. To see our industry really flourish we need to embrace these approaches to make workplace and facilities management this generation’s industry of choice

Simon Francis is head of estates services at London South Bank University