How many FMs want to use intelligent analytics for predictive maintenance, and what is holding some of them back?
  • 63% of facility managers show interest in implementing analytics to better monitor their building systems, yet barriers to achieving these goals still exist
  • Majority of respondents predict digitization and IoT will impact their building and maintenance policies within the next year
  • Almost half of facility managers expect technology investments will address IoT more than last year

by Brianna Crandall — June 28, 2017 — According to a new study commissioned by global energy management and automation specialist Schneider Electric, facilities managers (FMs) are increasingly looking to leverage the Internet of Things (IoT) by implementing new digital technologies like intelligent analytics to improve maintenance decisions and operations, with 89% of respondents indicating they expect to achieve a return on their IoT investments within three years. A full 70% of respondents expect the IoT will impact their building and maintenance policies within the next year, which corresponds with FMs’ new ability to measure success through the use of digital technologies.

While the study found that more than 90% of respondents thought connecting systems to the Internet will ensure smart, productive, profitable operations and allow service providers to deliver better value and maximize energy and sustainability, FMs are still split between taking a proactive versus reactive approach to building maintenance. Only 15% of respondents reported that they fully utilize predictive maintenance tools and only 35% indicated they are proactive in their approach to maintaining building systems by conducting regular preventative maintenance on equipment. The other half of facilities managers categorize themselves as reactive.

The interest in new technologies and the connected services market is on the rise, with 42% of respondents expressing they are very interested in utilizing an intelligent analytics managed service to gain insight into their buildings and plan more effectively. However, most FMs are not maximizing the potential of these technologies, with only 32% of respondents stating they currently have analytics solutions in place. One-third of those who say they fully utilize predictive maintenance tools have adopted analytics. By contrast, only 17% who say they are largely reactive currently have intelligent analytics in place, indicating there is a significant gap between proactive and reactive maintenance operations.

Barriers to adopting digital solutions

According to the report, although FMs are eager to utilize new technologies, barriers to achieving building maintenance goals still exist. Almost half (43%) of respondents stated the level of investment required is the biggest challenge they face in the adoption of digital solutions within their buildings. Nearly a quarter of respondents (23%) indicated the lack of internal resources available to interpret the data into actionable results was a key barrier, while 18% believe their buildings are not suited to the adoption of connected technologies, and 14% indicated there was a lack of proof around return on investment (ROI).

Brian Ratcliff, U.S. EcoBuildings Services director, Schneider Electric, stated:

To make the most of building systems, forward-thinking facility managers are making a shift toward predictive thinking and taking proactive approaches to maintenance that enhance both operations and energy efficiency. As the adoption of analytics and IoT becomes more regular, the use of digital technologies for predictive building maintenance will continue to expand, with steadily increasing ROI through the coming years.

This survey was conducted by Morar Consulting in January 2017 among 300 U.S. facility directors and managers, as well as operations, maintenance and energy personnel. The full results of the Connected Services study are available to review at no cost on the company’s Web site. For additional information on Schneider Electric’s building efficiency solutions, visit the company’s Building Life Cycle Field Services Web page.