Opinion Piece: The Gateway to Smart Cities: Technology in Facilities Management
By Suhas Inamdar

Suhas Inamdar, Wasl Properties Head of Technical Support & Planning, Asset Management Services and Solutions, shed light on the technology trend reshaping the function of Facilities Management as we know it.

Suhas first describes the evolution of Facilities Management - from basic services in the 80s which covered general building maintenance, to today’s all-encompassing management approach, putting it at the centre of city development.

Looking specifically at industry trends such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI), Suhas’ presentation paints a realistic picture of smart cities and the role of Facilities Management in running them.

He comments: “Simply, a smart city is made up of buildings which need minimal human intervention, they run off self-driven operations, made up of elements such as data analysis and alarms, which all lead to automated decision-making features.”

“Facilities Management has the capability to encompass this entire operation, and with new technologies this industry is the gateway to achieving the safer, smarter, and more efficient cities we hope for in the future.”

Running through some key examples of IoT currently implemented in Wasl Properties in Dubai, Suhas lists parking violation monitoring, solar panels cleaning which is scheduled based on power generation, early fire detection through cameras to avoid losses, and identifying water leakage in DEWA pipelines by monitoring sewage.

A newer solution, Artificial Intelligence is no doubt going to roll out in the region he says, and security will be the first point of convergence. One example he mentions is unattended luggage in a hotel lobby - with parameters defined, (the suitcase and time deemed suspicious) an AI system can send an alarm to security in order for them to take action.

When asked how soon will we see these technologies boom in the region, Suhas says: "While adoption is very initial, I see a bright future. A great example is the UAE government, with Smart Dubai 2021 for example, we see they are very proactive and supportive - they are doing a lot to encourage digitization not only in the UAE but in the wider GCC.”

About the author: Suhas Inamdar is the Wasl Properties Head of Technical Support & Planning, Asset Management Services and Solutions.