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IFMA launches portal for FM professionals to forge a shared path forward with the Internet of Things

Jan. 05, 2017

IFMA has launched a collaborative portal where FM professionals can go to pool knowledge and best practices and engage with other interested individuals and organizations relating to the Internet of Things (IoT). IFMA has created a dedicated IoT task force to ascertain the best way for FM professionals to utilize the vast potential of billions of interconnected physical objects (things), each gathering data to understand and interact with the built and natural environments.

“The Internet of Things will soon completely change how people interact with their environment and with buildings,” said Eric Teicholz, IFMA Fellow, who chairs the Strategic Advisory Group for IFMA’s Environmental Stewardship, Utilities and Sustainability Community (esus.ifma.org), as well as co-chairs the new Internet of Things initiative. Teicholz is an associate professor emeritus at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design and the author/editor of 13 books dealing with technology. He also co-authored a recent article on leveraging the IoT in facility management for IFMA’s FMJ magazine (fmj.ifma.org/publication/?i=295044&p=40). “Making sense of the vast amount of information produced by the IoT and then turning that into useful action is the challenge we face. That’s why this task force was created and it’s the purpose of the IoT portal.”

By 2025, it is estimated by industry experts that there may be as many as 1 trillion building sensors in place, or about 120 per every living person. Once effectively utilized, the insights offered by the IoT promise to enable huge strides toward making buildings more efficient and sustainable, while also making them more responsive to the needs of the people who live and work in them.

Changing expectations for the built environment have made the role of the facility manager more strategically important than ever before. Around the world, smart buildings are suffering from a performance gap between expected and actual results. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors noted in its publication, Sustainable Construction: Realizing the opportunities for built environment professionals, “There is substantial evidence that buildings do not perform as well as anticipated at the design stage. Post-occupancy evaluations showed that actual energy consumption in buildings was often twice as much as predicted.” A primary cause of this performance gap is a failure to account for the FM professionals who need to analyze and interpret the vast quantities of data generated by smart buildings. Smart buildings require smart people to run them in order to achieve the optimal operational potential.

Those interested in participating in the IFMA IoT portal should send their contact information to iot@ifma.org. IFMA’s IoT Task Force is co-chaired by Eric Teicholz, along with Kate North and ​Pat Turnbull of IFMA’s Workplace Evolutionaries Community (we.ifma.org).

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