Skip to main content

The Shift Toward Building Automation in Facility Management

August 7, 2018

More systems are shifting from automatic to autonomous technology, but did you know this is being labeled as the fourth industrial revolution? IoT sensors, smart buildings, building management systems and other building technologies are all starting to connect and communicate with each other to automate our buildings. As more tech companies get familiar with how they fit in with facilities, you’ll be hearing quite a bit about this new buzzword.

The History Behind Industrial Revolutions

Believe it or not, we are currently in our fourth industrial revolution. Each revolution was marked by innovations and improvements to technology that impact how we work.

  • First Industrial Revolution: Coal and steam power were harnessed and the production industry was created.

  • Second Industrial Revolution: Electric power was developed and evolved to develop mass production.

  • Third Industrial Revolution: Technology, such as computers and information technology, were used to automate the manufacturing industry.

  • Fourth Industrial Revolution: Computer networking and integration are used to optimize machine productivity.

Download - A Guide to the Fourth Industrial Revolution

How the Fourth Revolution will Impact Facilities

The Fourth Industrial Revolution will have big impacts on the facilities industry. Get prepared by understanding these three ideas about the fourth industrial revolution and how it fits into facility management.

1. More Autonomous, Less Automatic Building Systems

More sensors mean your facility would be constantly inspecting itself with the help of smart devices connecting to systems through IoT. If a problem is detected by a sensor and your facility has the new technology, here’s what would happen:

  1. The sensor would detect a defect or problem

  2. It would automatically alert a laser scanner, which would scan the asset and use artificial intelligence to look for what’s causing the issue

  3. The issue would be identified by combining information from the sensors and scanner

  4. A work order would be created in your facility management software so a technician could address the issue

  5. A technician would receive the work order and respond to address the problem

Facility management departments aren’t the only ones who will use these autonomous systems – robot security guards and farmbots have also been designed.

2. People-Power is Still Required

Even with autonomous systems, people-power and expertise will continue to be important for facility maintenance departments for repairs and maintenance. Sensors will communicate with systems to report and diagnose problems so staff are prepared, but they can’t perform the actual repair or maintenance.

3. Digital Storage Gets Even More Techy

Cloud computing has moved to the next step with edge computing. Instead of information being stored at the center of the cloud, it’s stored along the edges, closer to the user. The easy thing about edge computing is you won’t even know you’re using it, since it looks and works just like the cloud. You’ll only notice faster site loading times and download speeds.

How do you think the fourth revolution will affect your team? Has it already?

Read the full guide to building technology trends to explore other types of upcoming tech.

Eleanor Jacobson

Former Blog Contributor and Marketing Communications Manager for AkitaBox.

Subscribe to the AkitaBox Blog

Be the first to receive the latest in facility management information, trends, and thought leadership