The benefits of rugged technology in facility management

by FM Media
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maintenance worker performing a check with a rugged device

Rugged devices in facility management can boost connectivity, improve service capabilities and combat cyber security threats, says Frank Baldrighi.

The impacts of technology continue to be felt across the facility management sector, with automation changing the nature of more traditionally hands-on roles.

By adopting the right kinds of technologies, FMs have improved efficiency around traditional tasks that encompass building services management and ensuring that buildings are operating, maintained, and compliant. These technologies have also addressed key concerns the industry faces. These primarily revolve around:

  • Fragmented and siloed data: As Internet of Things (IoT) devices are integrated into commercial buildings, it becomes challenging to access and store data cohesively in one central location.
  • Lack of real time data: To provide a safe and high-quality service, facility managers must have a complete understanding of building systems including plumbing, fire protection, energy use, air quality, equipment functions and maintenance levels. However, more often than not, the information needed is inaccessible or out of date.
  • Cyber security concerns: As an industry relies more heavily on technology, it also becomes more susceptible to potential cyber attacks. A cyber attack can have a devastating and long-lasting impact on a company’s bottom line and intellectual property, and can seriously damage brand reputation, making cyber security a high priority for most organisational leaders.

Implementing rugged devices in FM roles offers an effective way to combat these concerns while keeping staff connected, providing improved service abilities, and delivering increased reporting capabilities. 

The key benefits of using rugged technology within facilities management include:

  • Superior connection capabilities:
    Rugged technologies that employ a combination of global positioning systems (GPS) and geographic information systems (GIS) work to keep those onsite connected regardless of location. Having technologies that can keep staff connected across expansive worksites ensures not only the safety of onsite staff, but the delivery of important real-time information that is necessary to ensure each department functions at full capacity and improve efficiency. 
  • Device durability
    Rugged devices thrive in extreme weather conditions and can withstand impacts, vibrations, harsh temperatures, humidity, dust, and drops up to six feet. Unlike their consumer counterparts, rugged devices deliver excellent total cost of ownership (TCO) and return on investment (ROI), with very low average failure rates and increased insurance services. 
  • Workflow management capabilities
    Devices that can integrate with workflow management systems help keep team members on track, assigning tasks to maximise efficiency and improve employee output. 
  • Increased usability for onsite workers
    For staff working onsite, rugged devices provide improved touch controls and highly readable displays that can be seen clearly in all conditions. Lightweight tablet models also come equipped with digital pen options to replace traditional pen-and-paper record keeping with a digital alternative. This lets FMs preserve and transfer key data, while also digitising existing physical records for future use.

Finding the right technology partner can be critical to improving efficiency and solving key concerns within the FM industry. Rugged technology provides a unique solution to the challenges faced. Rugged solutions can be implemented quickly and at minimal cost, thus ultimately improving an organisation’s bottom line.

Frank Baldrighi is business development manager at Getac.

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