The Definitive Guide
to AI in FM

Exploring the evolution of AI from science fiction to a practical tool for every day use for facility management service providers.

Discover the role of AI in FM

For your business strategy

With technologies like AI being adopted in nearly all industries, FM service providers must also incorporate these technologies in order to maintain competitive edge and achieve business innovation.

For your operations

AI is transforming the back-office operations of FM service providers with predictive analytics, advanced planning algorithms, and smart automation.

For your clients

When service providers can offer their clients services that reduce long-term costs and improve results, you can create mutually beneficial relationships.

For your assets

One benefit of AI is improving the lifespan of clients' assets that you are maintaining, and offering better services in a cost-efficient way.


How do you define artificial intelligence?

The first step toward understanding the role of artificial intelligence (AI) in facility management (FM) processes is to define AI itself.
As we have written before, machines and software are now designed to extend the power of data collection through the recognition of patterns — some of which are difficult for humans to recognize — by actually using those patterns to change behavior in order to optimize and improve.
An easy use case to describe AI could be defined as the ability of a system to recognize something out of the ordinary and alert a human to the anomaly. For example, Planon's space management functionalities will change a "booked" conference room to "available" again after sensor data shows that no one showed up in the reserved room. AI could take this one step further and notify a space planner when a certain individual or department has an unusually high "no-show" rate.

Different terms with the same definition

AI could be considered a "buzzword" because of the different ways it used among different groups. For the purposes of this white paper, we consistently use the term artificial intelligence.

Artificial intelligence

According to Gartner, artificial intelligence could be defined as systems that change behaviours without being explicitly programmed, based on data collected, usage analysis, and other observations.

Machine learning

Many people prefer the term machine learning, because this more accurately describes the ability of systems to learn, while “intelligence” could be debated.

Applied cognitive technologies

Deloitte typically prefers the term "cognitive technologies" to make the distinction between academic research into artificial intelligence and the practical business applications of these technologies.

Big data analytics

In their research on service providers using real-time data for smart operations, RICS uses the term big data analytics (BDA) to refer to predictive and prescriptive technologies.

Where does IoT fit in?

A discussion of artificial intelligence will inevitably be connected to a discussion of the data sources that feed a learning system. This data source could be information from a platform like Planon Universe for Service Providers, a Building Management System, real-time sensor data connected to rooms and assets, or some other source. For this reason, the Internet of Things and the analysis of the big data resulting from sensors is one starting point for AI.
For example, a condition-based maintenance regime based on prescriptive analytics from an AI tool would not be possible without sensor data from the assets to be assessed. However, other AI applications are not dependent on real-time sensor data and may instead be influenced by client contractual information or historical financial data. Therefore, IoT can play an essential role in AI but is not required.

5 FAQs about IoT in FM

Download this FAQ to read the answers to questions such as “What aspects of an organization’s IoT initiatives should be handled in-house and what can be outsourced to facilities management service providers?”
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