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Evolution of Facility Condition Assessments (FCAs) – Part 6 – What Comes Next? 


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Evolution of Facility Condition Assessments (FCAs) – Part 6 – What Comes Next? 

As am I typing these words I am listening to the Hamilton soundtrack and this post’s title was inspired by the song from the play, “What Comes Next” by Jonathan Groff, hence the title! The King George scenes within Hamilton are some of my favorites.

I spend a lot of time looking to the future so that our team can be out ahead of any trends that are impacting our clients. One of the “hottest” topics right now (late 2022) is how the Internet of Things, Big Data and Machine Learning are going to impact Facility and Asset Management. Some are even predicting that FCAs will become obsolete as computers will send you and email when it is time to replace a roof, or boiler.

First off, I have no doubt that over time we are going to see major disruption to the facility sector from these emerging technologies. However, I am skeptical about how fast the changes are going to occur.

I was recently at a presentation where the speaker suggested that by 2030 most organizations would be using Condition-Based Maintenance (CBM) as their standard practice. I think that too many organizations are still struggling to get a handle on preventative vs. reactive maintenance, that it is a big jump to go straight to CBM.

We are in a weird stage of technological advancement where the amount of data that we can generate and store far outweighs our ability to gain insights from it. I am fairly confident that data scientist will be one of the top career opportunities in the coming decades. However, I am not sure how quickly they are going to embed themselves within facilities and physical plant teams. Without the ability to separate the “wheat from the chaff”, the overwhelming quantity of data that can be generated from sensors within individual pieces of equipment will stifle any innovation across the industry.

Many (if not most) facilities teams are still struggling to get an accurate equipment inventory to support their current maintenance practices. To think that there will be a quantum leap in eight years to fully automated programs driven by machine learning, sensors and data scientists is a long way to go in a short period of time.

I remember hearing 5 years ago that we would have ubiquitous self-driving cars within 5 years. We are not even close to that reality as of yet. While I do believe that this will be our reality at some point in the future, I do think it is further off than predicted. In my opinion, the same can be said for these emerging technologies for facility and asset management. I could be wrong and only time will tell.

Despite my skepticism for the timing, I do think that facility management is going to be disrupted at some point in the future. We are working with many of our client organizations to find ways to better use the data that they have, and to try to find ways to get new (useful) data.

When the change will come and how fast, still remains an unknown. That being said, each organization should be looking for ways to better understand these technologies and look for ways to leverage them at the right time and for the right processes so that they are not left behind when the wave comes.

The most exciting part of looking to the future is that it is not written yet and there is only one way to find out and that is to live it!

 

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