Advance Mobile technologies: Maintaining building operation in the new normal
We saw the rise of mobile technologies along with the new age cloud-based CAFM and CMMS. It started with the work order management applications which later expanded to inter-team communication, inventory and asset management. But if we want to pinpoint the era when it really exploded for multiple usages and become the mainstream medium then it has to be in the lock down or the pandemic time.
Mobile applications are intended to allow maintenance professionals to move seamlessly between their desktop to smartphones, tablets, to other mobile devices.
In this article, we will talk about the ups and downs mobile technologies have gone through to become the most preferred choice among the facility management teams and the efforts of some of the leading Facility Management providers to make it accessible to their clients.
Challenges overcome by mobile technologies:
Initially, moving from paper-based maintenance scheduling to spreadsheets was a challenge for most of the facility management teams. The kind of work they have been doing for ages will have to move on to an in-house desktop-based application which was a massive task for change management.
Although the decision had a lot of benefits, it has to be communicated well to the ground level teams, then mid to large size Facility Management firms, the shift was relatively easier as the age and skill sets of the workforce management were more relevant to accept the change than the unorganized and small scale Facility Management firms.
Those property management teams who started with the cloud based CMMS in the first place had a different set of challenges in front of them to move towards mobile-based applications. In fact, the challenge was two-folded: A) lack of adaptability B) Connectivity or Wi-Fi issues.
Heather Wilkinson from Mapcon technologies, shared his view on the adoption of mobile technologies, “Operations engineers were resistant to change. If a plant has used a desktop version of CMMS software for years, many workers aren’t pleased about learning how to use it on a mobile device” this was particularly true with the elderly staff.
In one of our earlier blog post “New leadership strategy by Facility Management O&M teams” we have talked about synergies between FM applications and operations staff ideal application should not intimidate the operator rather leverage his skills and highlight the progress, make him feel comfortable working with it, and maintain the transparencies.
Although the assets are well connected in a facility through wired communication channels, slow connection or WI-FI dead zones are still the issues facilities in tier 2, tier 3 cities are facing. Since most of the asset locations are either underground floors or in remote facility locations they create dead zones where there can be little or no Internet connection. For a mobile app or CMMS portal, maintenance-related data may get delayed to display or an operator may find it harder to input/save the data.
But there is a solution too, a responsive native mobile app can store your data in case you lose the connectivity and provide real-time data as long as your connection works. This solves any connectivity and data storage-related issues.
QR code: taking labeling to the next level
By now looking at primary challenges and finding appropriate solutions, Building a mobile app considering the persona of an operator and making him part of the solution is the prerequisite for successful deployment. Then came the features that add on to the existing application, QR codes and bar code technology for asset tagging came up with multiple use cases. A simple QR scan can show the operator the live status of the asset, can create the work order instantly and schedule the maintenance when required.
Now as the operations staff is a lot more familiar with the mobile technologies technology vendor or FM teams can build on his comfort levels and introduce workflow management, workplace optimization application or sustainable building management solution the further help him stay connected with the critical asset all the time and focus on insights that matter to him.
Well if you are interested to explore how QR codes can maximize your O&M team’s efforts then you might want to join us for our Product Wednesday’s webinar which is going around Xempla’s new QR code related product feature.