Facility management activities, when most effective, often go unnoticed. Today, the International Facility Management Association (IFMA) reminds us all about the significance of these efforts – including expertly-planned workspaces and critical on-site services – on World Facilities Management Day.
The organization launched the holiday, colloquially called World FM Day, back in 2008 in an attempt to highlight the contributions of facility management professionals working at enterprises across the globe. As information technology and business have become increasingly entwined, the profile of this profession has risen. Today, when a momentary loss of power can take down operations across the board, strong facility management personnel can be the difference between a successful day and outright organizational failure.
Organizations worldwide allocate more than $1 trillion to facility management operations annually, according to research from IFMA. Facilities teams use this funding to ensure physical work environments facilitate optimal productivity via the careful integration of personnel, process and technology.
Celebrating an important profession
Approximately seven scheduled ceremonies are set to unfold today, including events in Jackson, Mississippi, Houston and St. Louis, where IFMA will be opening an official chapter office. The group added a new wrinkle this year by launching a week-long series of conferences and training events tied to World FM Day. This week, facility management professionals can participate in these events and, as always, promote the holiday within their respective workplaces using IFMA-provided materials.
Preparing for an innovative future
Facility management practices continue to move forward with the development of ground-breaking technology. IFMA CEO and President Tony Keane mentioned some of these innovations upon the release of the organization's landmark Global FM Market Sizing Study.
"The most compelling visions of the future include smart buildings and cities that require smart professionals to run them," Keane explained in a press release. "The demand for facility services is growing globally, and independently of regional variations in the current levels of FM market development."
Smart facilities technology has indeed begun to take off. Most of these solutions center on energy usage, which accounts for a significant amount of overhead spend. Analysts for EY recently found that a 20 percent reduction in energy use among American businesses could lead to $80 billion in annual savings, for instance.
A significant number of organizations have embraced automated climate control technology with this figure in mind. For instance, Google released the results of an internal artificial intelligence initiative aimed at trimming cooling costs in its data centers, The Verge reported. The search engine giant managed to reduce its total electrical consumption by 40 percent by lending its DeepMind A.I. solution access to data center thermostats across the globe. Other leading technology firms are pursuing similar routes, including Facebook and Microsoft.
Deployments like these are likely to become more common as enterprises integrate large numbers of connected devices into their offices. In fact, by the end of 2018, more than 4.1 billion of these assets will be in use within companies across the globe, according to research for Gartner. Web-enabled fixtures of this kind are transforming how people work and, in turn, forcing facility management teams to adopt equally-innovative solutions for improving the physical areas they oversee.
During World FM Day 2018, IFMA and its partners hope to make those outside of the facility management space aware of these developments and the behind-the-scenes professionals who are driving them.