Facilio Facilitating Disruptive Evolution in Facilities Management Space: Prabhu Ramachandran, CEO

With IoT and AI technologies, Facilio adds the necessary context to building data

Prabhu Ramachandran, CEO, Facilio

Facilio harnesses IoT to connect and unify teams, systems, and equipment across multiple facilities. It lets you work as one and stay on top of your building operations, maintenance and sustainability from anywhere.

With world-class machine learning models, Facilio helps you get answers faster and act on insights in real-time.

Prabhu Ramachandran, CEO, Facilio, tells us more in an interaction. Excerpts:

BW CIO: What is the current building management market scenario? What is its future like?

Prabhu Ramachandran: The world of facilities management is changing, and is increasingly moving towards providing a unified and intelligent interface driven by technology. Globally, the Facilities Services spend stands at close to 1+ trillion dollars today and the spend on building energy too is close to a trillion dollars.

Hence, the opportunity to bring in tech-driven efficiency in building operations, and subsequently create greater economic value for owners, as well as a craft a superior experience for occupants, is very big. And this is the market we are transforming with Facilio.

In a scenario of managing large and varied portfolios, every site or facility involves multiple vendor-heavy legacy systems that follow a hardware-driven approach to manage building operations. In addition, with the rise of rapidly-changing workspace ecosystem and office real-estate communities, CREs are compelled to increasingly focus on leveraging technology, driven by IoT and AI, to boost building performance, secure maximum uptime, and provide seamless tenant experience across portfolios.

To achieve that, the most basic challenges that rank high on the agenda of property managers include reducing operating costs and meeting compliance. These metrics rely heavily on how provisioned facilities staff are to be productive and responsive, while today, most teams grapple with issues like paper-to-spreadsheet, missed delivery schedules, and downtime risks of ill-maintained equipment.

Energy efficiency, asset health, and occupant experience are all major revenue drivers, as they come under operating costs. Until now, no mechanism or solution has been in place for a real-time combined view of maintenance and sustainable performance of facilities.

BW CIO: How can enterprise SaaS can disrupt the commercial real-estate and building management markets?

Prabhu Ramachandran: Buildings are a warehouse of data. In the past, building management and control systems were designed for vendor-lock instead of open interoperable systems. This led to siloes of data congestion that consequently buried useful asset and energy insights and stunted CREs and facility managers from fully realizing the potential of operational data.

With IoT and AI technologies, Facilio adds the necessary context to building data by flexibly integrating with the existing systems, while creating meaningful real-time insights. Facilio provides role-specific insights and dashboards that simplifies the work of every stakeholder, including building owners, facility/asset managers, technicians, as well as occupants.

In the case of portfolios, the level of efficiency increases by manifold when a solution is designed to contextually combine workforce, asset, and energy performance in real-time and on to a single unified platform.  A centralized source to manage operations across portfolios, and AI-assisted mobile teams introduce a significant disruption potential for commercial real estate and building management markets.

BW CIO: Why is now the right time for a company like Facilio?

Prabhu Ramachandran: Our vision is to facilitate a disruptive evolution in the facilities management space, similar to what Amazon, AirBnB, Ola and others enabled in their respective industries. There are several reasons, why ‘now’ is the right time for this disruption.

Firstly, customer expectation in real estate is fast changing and CRE’s are looking to adopt the latest technologies to enhance the value of their buildings and provide a superior tenant experience. Rapid emergence of co-working spaces is a validation of the trend. Additionally, operating costs have always been a primary outlay for building owners – across commercial, residential and industrial segments.

However, despite billions of dollars’ worth of investment in automation of buildings, CREs are seeing complexities rise due to multiple siloed systems, and are yet to realize efficiencies. Also, the growing emphasis on sustainability over the past five years has meant increased regulatory mandates. However, these regulations still continue to remain a fringe, annual activity, and have not been embedded into mainstream building operations that help achieve significant results.

What the FM and building management space needs is “innovative-tech”. The application of technologies like Cloud, Mobile, IoT and AI, to manage a portfolio of buildings, centrally, in real-time, can facilitate energy and operational efficiencies – while concurrently optimizing performance, which in turn can drive transformative changes in the post-construction buildings space. This can directly benefit capex bottom lines, as well as considerably enhancing the value of the property.

The need of the hour is a modern solution that goes beyond existing siloed systems like CaFM, energy management tools, CMMS, etc., to unify and run facilities operations with high efficiency, to deliver a superior tenant experience. A single solution that puts building owners in the driver’s seat by enabling them to predictively and centrally run their maintenance and operations across portfolio with real-time actionable intelligence.

BW CIO: What is the importance of AI and machine learning in building/facility management?

Prabhu Ramachandran: Predictive, rather than reactive asset management is becoming critical to improving operational efficiencies, ensuring sustainability and providing an enhanced and holistic occupant experience. And, for customers and CREs alike, this aspect is becoming a ‘must-have’ expectation, rather than a nice-to-have option. This has increased the pressure on FM teams to get the most out of their automated processes to enable real-time action.

Buildings today have huge amounts of valuable accrued data on energy, assets and people that can be put to work. With AI and predictive analytics coming into its own, buildings can benefit greatly from tools that help them extract and apply data insights to enable smart operations, improved workforce productivity, better energy management, everyday sustainability, and increased occupant engagement.

In a high cost, high expenditure and heavy maintenance industry, facilities management teams that use machine learning for insight-led building management, can leapfrog from their roles as service providers to value-added partners in a relatively short period of time, by offering enhanced benefits and efficiencies to CREs and property managers.

 BW CIO: What is the USP of Facilio? Elaborate on Facilio’s offerings.

Prabhu Ramachandran: Facilio offers a single unified platform for CREs to centrally manage workforce, asset, and sustainability performance in real-time and across portfolio. We allow building owners and FMs to achieve operational and sustainability efficiency, like never before, putting them in control and in the driver’s seat of their portfolio performance.

Facilio leverages technologies like IoT and AI to help every stakeholder - from owners and FMs, to technicians and tenants - do what they do, in a smarter way. Our solution complements the existing automation infrastructure within buildings and makes insightful sense of all that available data.

At Facilio, our strategic objective is to use IoT and AI as technology enablers to solve the challenges faced by today’s facility management teams, who in turn need to deliver operational effiiencies and enhanced occupant experience to meet the demands of building owners/property managers/CREs.

Let’s look at the top three concerns of FMs today:

* Management of multiple mechanical assets
* Co-ordination between numerous service providers and workforce teams
* Management of various buildings across a vast portfolio.

If you notice carefully, all the above three concerns share a common thread – complexity in management of ‘multiple’ stakeholders. Most IoT solutions that have flooded the market today come bundled with a proprietary set of sensors that only adds to the existing disparate environment. Plus, they add an extra hardware layer to already hardware-centric systems and further increase complexity and substantial cost of management and ownership.

Facilio, on the other hand, is a software-driven application that seeks to transform the facilities experience by integrating with existing assets and data to improve efficiencies, harnessing IoT and ML capabilities to unify these “multiple” asset and stakeholder categories for FMs. 

By acquiring, analyzing and contextualizing data into real-time actionable insights, Facilio enables all stakeholders to make more informed organizational decisions. The fact that this is all done in a real-time environment ultimately provides a better occupant experience. More importantly, Facilio helps customers operate at scale across their portfolio.

From preventive and predictive maintenance to ensure optimal performance of equipment to work order management to enhance workforce productivity, from fire, safety and security management to energy analytics for sustainability, Facilio’s comprehensive all-in-one solution offers three broad capabilities: Workforce efficiency, Asset efficiency, and Sustainability efficiency – with all insights seamlessly woven into each other.

What we originally saw as mutually exclusive operations that required multiple tools, can now be brought under one roof with Facilio.

BW CIO: What is Facilio’s vision for future and scaling plans?

Prabhu Ramachandran: A well-maintained and managed building has a crucial effect on the environment as well as on tenant business continuity and occupant experience. This, in turn, impacts end-user perceptions, and thereby eventually shapes the real and perceived value of the property. Commercial real estate owners are constantly trying to enhance the performance of their buildings not only to realize economic and value benefits, but also to align with the Smart City and sustainability mandates that are globally becoming the norm.

Being slow adopters of innovative technologies over the past few decades, the facilities and building management industry is now undergoing the early stages of a disruptive transformation. As momentum gathers around the solutions that are emerging, and people see the opportunities these solutions present, Facilio wants to be at the forefront of this transformation, helping customers to transition to tech-enabled and modern facilities, that are well maintained, efficient and sustainable.

We see a lot of untapped potential for the efficiencies we can bring to the built environment in the Middle East and US markets. We are expanding into these territories, and are presently building a strong partnership network in these regions to extend our reach. 

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