In talks with Prabhu Ramachandran, Founder and CEO, Facilio Inc.

Facilio will be exhibiting its latest products at FM Expo this September. We spoke to the Founder and CEO, Mr. Prabhu Ramachandran; here's what he told us as he prepares to participate at the largest dedicated platform for Facilities Management in the Middle East.

How successful is the uptake of technology-based tools in the Middle East FM market right now?

The building management and FM industry has traditionally been conservative in its adoption of technology. Hardware-centric automation was the only evolution in the industry, which happened nearly two decades ago. But globally, and especially in the Middle East, we are seeing a massive shift in this approach. Firstly because the industry is ripe for change due to the limitations of a hardware-centric approach to adapt to the changing expectations of customers, CRE’s and FM’s. CRE’s and FM’s are demanding a shift from traditional, tactical facilities management towards a more smarter, predictive facilities experience.
Secondly, the last decade has highlighted the potential of software-led models to disrupt an industry and provide large-scale efficiencies. The FM market has shown considerable interest in a software-driven approach with the potential of technologies like IoT & AI that democratizes automation data silos. So CRE’s and FM’s are keen to utilize software to provide flexible, agile, and unified solutions that drives continuous operational efficiency and sustainability, at scale, across building portfolios.
The Middle East FM market, led by cities like Dubai and Abu Dhabi with their focus on digital transformation, innovative-tech and Smart Cities, is now seeing a big upswing in the uptake of technologies like AI and IoT to address the evolving customer and CRE needs, primarily to
a) Improve operational efficiency b) Improve building asset lifespan c) Create best tenant experiences.

If you were to pitch technology-based tools to FM professionals, how would you sell it?

Facilio is a smarter way to simplify the work for FM teams, while empowering them with real-time insights
For FM professionals, it has never been more critical than now to evolve into value players, and deliver beyond the traditional FM scope of tactical facilities management towards a smarter, predictive facilities experience
The world as we have known it has changed drastically in the past decade. For businesses to remain relevant and competitive technology adoption is   no longer an option, it is a necessity. And the same is true for the FM industry.
Humans today send 80% of their time inside buildings. This has increased the customer/end-user/tenant interaction with buildings and increased the focus on how customers ‘experience’ facilities. And in the Middle East, the huge millennial demographic is digitally savvy and expects services in real-time. Therefore it is becoming increasingly essential that FM’s create a great facilities experience for them using contextual insights and AI-led facilities management that enables smart workforce, assets, and sustainability.
Even for CRE’s - commercial real estate owners who serve as the key customers for FM’s - augmenting the value of a building and improving net operating income has become a primary focus. And they are looking to modernize buildings to fast track to smart, sustainable, efficient, high-ROI facilities.

What are the top 3 tech trends in the Tech FM industry according to you?

AI, IoT and Machine Learning are the top 3 tech trends for the FM industry
Buildings are a warehouse of data. In the past, building management systems were designed for vendor-lock instead of open interoperable systems. This led to multiple data silos that consequently buried useful asset and energy insights and stunted facility managers from achieving efficiency.
The biggest transformation we see in facilities management are:
​A) The need for centralized operational data consolidated from multiple BAS and control systems.
​B) Effective cross-utilization of asset performance and maintenance in real-time.
​C) The ability to predict downtime so as to not disrupt the tenant experience that could otherwise cost business.

What do these mean for your company?

For us the present, and the future, looks incredibly bright. Because Facilio is the world’s first IoT and AI-driven facilities management SaaS solution that covers end-to-end building maintenance, operations, sustainability, and tenant experience, across portfolios.
The market has shown considerable interest in a software-driven approach. Research indicates that the real-estate software market is worth $4.9B in 2018 and is expected to reach 7.4B in 2022.
With Facilio, we aim to empower CREs to centrally and efficiently manage their building portfolios. Our software led approach to increase efficiency in building operations involves far lower capital allocation in comparison to legacy approaches. The solution generates value immediately on deployment and the comprehensive control it provides F.M.s and CREs, puts them in the driver’s seat. Facilio can help businesses increase the life cycle of their asset by 20 to 25 percent, and save nearly 30 percent on operating expenses.

What products will you present at FM EXPO?

Facilio is the world’s only real-time facilities optimization platform. So everything we showcase is going to be unique, novel and an eye-opener for visitors.
The flagship and crowd-puller capability is Facilio’s predictive fault detection and diagnostics mechanism that creates – that captures BAS data from existing systems, intelligently correlates fault alarms, passes recommendation and triggers automated work orders to desired staff.
We will be showcasing Facilio’s native Android app (also available in the Google Play store) for facility teams to work with real-time condition-based analysis of equipment and issue. This aligns maintenance activities with actual on-site conditions, limiting the number of multiple site visits, reducing the number of tenant complaints, and eliminating downtime. Additionally we will also be demonstrating our iOS app in beta.
We will also be introducing our upgraded IoT-driven energy analytics with advanced machine learning algorithms that understands past equipment performance, and predicts issues before they occur, while ensuring corrective action faster.
Facilio’s tenant portal modules will also be on display to view and help understand utility billing parameters and also help CRE owners track tenant satisfaction.

Why is there demand for them in the Dubai/Middle East?

There are several reasons. In addition to the ones I have mentioned earlier, other factors for a higher uptake in Dubai/ME include:
1. Very large number of buildings and urban population
​2. Highly evolved customer base, demanding of a good facilities experience
​3. The government’s focus on digital transformation and harnessing innovative technologies to fast track into Smart Cities
​4. Support and awareness of innovative tech like AI, IoT and ML and an increased consumption of these technologies even at a federal level. This push by the government is driving the adoption of these technologies in the private sector as well
In a scenario of managing large and distributed building portfolios, every facility involves multiple vendor-heavy legacy systems that follow a hardware-driven approach to manage operations.
Despite billions of dollars worth of investments in automation of buildings, they continue to perform at sub-optimal levels. This is because facilities are not optimising their benefits from this automation and instead end up being inefficient. Facilities management is seen as a cost-center because they continue to operate in a fire-fighting mode, rather than proactively - therefore raising the barrier to become value-driven players.  Facilio’s pure-play software solution utilizes IoT and AI to help facilities make the switch from being reactive service providers to predictive value-partners.

How will the exhibition help you to grow business in the UAE?

The FM Expo is a renowned platform in the region for all FM professionals and a great networking opportunity to showcase innovative products, solutions and trends in the FM ecosystem for vendors and service providers. We feel a lot of FM companies and real estate owners are yet not aware of the full potential of what technologies like AI, Iot and ML can bring to the FM space. And we hope to change that with this event, use the exhibition to educate, inform and engage with our potential audience. We are very excited about the opportunity and very upbeat about securing several serious meetings with potential prospects.

About Facilio -

Facilio is a facilities optimization platform that uses IoT and AI to help CREs achieve operational and sustainability efficiency across portfolio. It's an enterprise-scale software suite that unifies real-time building maintenance, asset management, and energy performance, onto a single interface. At Facilio, we’re continuously rethinking the way buildings are being managed - shifting traditional, tactical facilities management towards predictive, smarter facilities experience. 

Meet with Facilio at FM Expo 2018 - Location: Hall 5 Stand 5C100

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