Konkana Khaund's Blog

Integrating Information Technology into the Built Environment - Bridging the Classic Facility and IT Divide

29 Nov 2013 | by Konkana Khaund
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The degree to which Information Technology (IT) influences the built environment is large and increasing. There are challenges in bringing facility managers up to speed on this impact that can have huge benefits. But what steps need to be taken by technology vendors and facility managers (FM) to reap the full advantage these technologies? The integration of IT is an inevitable trend in the built environment through building automation, security solutions, energy management, and occupant comfort enhancement options. Frost & Sullivan’s extensive research among building technology industry participants over the last decade confirms this aspect objectively. However, this body of research also indicates that making this transition requires concentrated initiatives that go beyond expecting a traditional facility manager to get up-to-speed with technology.

In this article, originally published in fmlink.com on Nov 18, 2013, under the FMLink Analyst Insights Feature Series, I have delved deeper into this issue of how to balance the inherent challenges and benefits of facility optimization faced by the industry’s asset management staff on a daily basis.


For operational staff, understanding and using technology poses a critical challenge. With such technology comes the added dilemma of managing and making sense of vast amounts of data. However, the importance of utilizing such information cannot be overlooked. And as FMs realize this and act upon it, the traditional divide between IT and FM seem far more notional than actual. Tasked with reducing total cost of ownership, today’s FMs are keen on understanding how to better optimize their properties for predictive maintenance. Helping them achieve that is a growing breed of technology vendors who take an integrated approach to make the technology experience seamless and supportive to FMs.

Industry leaders such as Johnson Controls, Inc., Siemens Industry, Inc., Honeywell International, Inc. and Schneider Electric, are taking proactive steps towards this direction, as discussed in this article. Not only are they actively participating in such technology orientation processes with FMs, but to a large extent are helping demonstrate best practices for the entire industry to effectively meet the fundamental challenges.

Without doubt, technology integration is making facilities smarter and more dynamic, and quantifiable benefits are already proven. The role of technology as a key enabler in enhancing a building’s performance and asset life is well established already. It is only a question of changing perceptions, and the fundamentals of conducting the FM business, to bring about such changes in the industry that can help bridge the gap between operations and IT in managing smart buildings.