1) What growth potential do you see for facilities management sector in India?
Harindranath: FM segment in India is set for a continued impetus and growth with growing expectations of an annual double-digit growth. The entire ecosystem from the government to occupiers and the service providers believes that there is a significant social benefit linked with the growth of facilities management services in the country. Globally facilities management is a USD one trillion market, marginally lesser than India’s GDP! India is still a small fraction of the total world market covering both unorganised and organised sectors. With the current trends suggesting over a USD 70 billion market, with a YOY growth rate in the range of 20-25%.
2) As a user/operator in Facility Management, what are the qualities you look for in your vendor/ supplier before choosing them for FM operations?
Harindranath: 1. Consistency in approach and services 2. Quality 3. Competitive rates 4. Innovation 5. Value additions
3) What impact will new technologies like Block chain, Artificial intelligence, Internet of Things and 3D printing have on the imminent future of Facilities Management in India?
Harindranath: As the concept of blockchain (Private – permissioned) and its database isn’t stored in any single location, meaning the records it keeps are truly public and easily verifiable with the key feature being absence of a centralized version of this information exists for a hacker to corrupt is a welcome feature. Like the internet (or your car), you don’t need to know how the blockchain works to use it. Blockchain would create a common platform towards accessing business documents through a shared model instead of transferred back and forth. Legal contracts would be ideal for that kind of workflow. Would be of help from a FM documentation perspective making it easier.
As Ian Khan, a TedX Speaker and Tech futurist defines Blockchain as a “mechanism to bring everyone to the highest degree of accountability” No more missed transactions, human or machine errors, or even an exchange that was not done with the consent of the parties involved. Above anything else, the most critical area where Blockchain helps is to guarantee the validity of a transaction by recording it not only on a main register but a connected distributed system of registers, all of which are connected through a secure validation mechanism.”
Artificial Intelligence : For a novice to comprehend about AI, already being part of FM, Energy Management would be a classic example. Its already being integrated into many tools used in FM sector considering that today, artificial intelligence (AI) exists in every smartphone, with its dependency having a cascading affect in multiple platforms related to the FM Industry which as a whole stands to benefit immensely. Connecting a FM system to AI allows a 360 degree help, notification, and action on issues without demanding anything more than a command from a user’s device. Housekeeping already has few inventions using the AI like vacuum and sweeper robots in the market. An end to end integration would be the important piece in the final stretch of the AI puzzle which could ally us with far reaching consequences. AI relies on a network, with more devices coming online, the larger processing capacity and skill of AI would be on an increase. Integrating all existing systems is essential to measure the success and continued deployment of AI in FM. This also becomes a self-driven cycle as more and more devices demand a higher level of AI, resulting in more devices and analytics streams connecting to the system. AI is the future. AI is opening up unheard avenues which every FM bigwig is keen to explore and effectively implement. iOT (Internet of Things) Internet of Things is fast changing scenarios on how we have worked. Its steering us to new possibilities on building integrations, consenting the evolution of intelligent buildings. IoT makes it easy to understand the operations undergoing in an automated building environment, whereas analytics allow facility managers to understand on what is happening within every aspect of a building and a building automation system (BAS).
While blockchain is going to make a sizable difference to the FM Industry, (AI) Artificial intelligence in facilities management is here to stay, making huge leaps in years to come on how we work and deliver. It’s certain to replace certain mundane jobs, if not all, but on the contrary could also create new jobs. Nevertheless, this replacement will enable FM stakeholders to focus on quality-related demands, increasing the efficiency of the system having direct positive effects on profitability.
4) How do facilities professionals move away from the mindset of an 'Administrative Support' function and be recognised as key critical resources for the enterprise ? What are your thoughts on this?
Harindranath: FM industry has been constantly evolving from being a just facilitator to what I would ideally term as a value creator, complimenting the business environment, compelling the business towards working hand in hand keeping in mind the fast-paced changing scenarios and expectations in organizations. These changing milieus has created a valuable space for the FM landscape. FM is no more just Transport, soft and hard services and Cafeteria services. Facilities management is moving on to a higher level towards creating an experience with expectations changing thick and fast from an employee and leadership perspective.
5) Your views on The Economic Times “Facility Management Summit” and how important do you to feel is the need of organizing such summits?
Harindranath: An ideal forum to exchange ideas, change the set benchmarks in the industry, move ahead as an organization to do more for our employees; go with the “employee first” concept. I’m looking forward to this Summit.