Globally, technology is taking the center stage of Real Estate. From conception to construction, operations to management, occupiers experience to space allocation, technology is not just influencing choices, it is changing the way Real Estate is managed and placing new demands on Facilities Management – which accounts for up to 80% of the lifecycle of the Real Estate asset.
Prop-Tech (also referred to as property technology or real estate technology) is a set of cross-industry technologies changing the ways Real Estate is managed. It is technology designed to make buildings smart through data collection & analysis, and responsive through control mechanisms.
Prop-Tech is predicated on connecting various pieces of the property market, so that people in the real estate ecosystem can make informed decisions and people’s interactions with Real Estate assets can be more bespoke or even customized.
A recent report by Alpha Mead Group on Tech Trends and the future of Workplace FM in Nigeria states that work-life balance, training, technology & innovation, and pay equity are the four key issues prioritized by the next generation in the workplace. These statistics emphasizes the value of intelligent building solutions that will improve business operations, humanize the work place and create a comfortable environment that fosters productivity of occupants. These are some of the needs being met by intelligent buildings around the world such as The Edge, Amsterdam.
FM companies in Africa, especially Nigeria are embracing smart solutions and systems such as, Visitor Management System, Electronic Document Management System, Building Management Systems are being used in the Nigerian FM space. An example of such company is Alpha Mead Facilities. Alpha Mead is adopting technological interventions such as Archibus, Planon, Maintenance Connection, and even home-grown applications like Eye-on-Site. However, all these solutions are still largely focused on efficient service delivery, inventory and customers’ request management, etc.
Nonetheless, they are eported to have drastically reduce the breakdown of critical equipment plants and customer escalations. However, none of their smart solutions is intelligent enough to humanize the workplace, interact with occupants, increase productivity or drive down cost. [SO1]
Despite the successes recorded by these smart solutions adopted by the FM companies, the truth remains that technology will change the roles of FM from the current preventive and reactive maintenance to predictive operations ran by high dependence on data analytical skills, process automation expertise and even application development.
With tech-driven global brands gradually finding their way into Africa, there is consequent increase in the demand for sophisticated building design skills, management capacity and operational competence in Africa. And for Facility Management in Africa to rise to the global FM standard of data-driven operations, it must develop the right capacity to either add value to existing data or create a system for collecting, analyzing and interpreting data for operational decisions. [SO2]
Finally, as more sophisticated buildings enter the market, FM must not just rise to the occassion with improved skills, it must equally respond to the challenge with relevant technology applications that can contribute to increase asset lifecycle, improved occupier experience and better buisness performance.