Chatbot - The Digital Assistant: Is it a New or revised chapter for O&M teams in Facility management?

author by Sumit Nawathedate 12 Feb, 2021read time 3 readviews 1685 Views
Chatbot - The Digital Assistant: Is it a New or revised chapter for O&M teams in Facility management?

What is the first point of contact you establish when you visit a new website? Specifically when you have little time to spend and get the job done - Contact form? Or the tiny pop-up that comes out as a chatbot? It’s obvious to go on chatbot as it’s a quick and convenient way to ask for any query related to the product or services. This is just one use case for a consumer-facing, that is used to improve the conversion rate.

Chatbots are widely used across industries like fintech, healthcare, Edutech, and even law and they’re gaining importance as they are being used for multiple purposes. They are powered by advanced natural language processing (NLP) and artificial intelligence (AI) technology to simplify communication and provide what’s needed to the user. The Covid-19 pandemic has also turned a spotlight onto this technology, with many chatbots proving invaluable for handling a surge of consumer inquiries and concerns.

For a facility management industry, the Chatbot revolution is coming via mobile applications and that is not just limited to tenants or consumers but also backend operators Operations and maintenance teams. Hence in this article, we are going to talk about progress chatbots are making to simplify O&M team’s work and helping them in asset performance management.

Chatbot Over Mobile apps

In our last article on mobile technologies for FM, we highlighted how far mobile applications have come to improve inter-team efficiency and reduce the dependability of dashboards. While mobile apps provide filtered and specific information to the operator chatbot can further narrow it down and deliver on-demand insights. 

For example, if a technician wants to scan through a detailed maintenance history of a particular chiller he either open his mobile CMMS or asset maintenance application, selects the asset, and checks the historical data. Instead, he can just scan the QR code assigned to the chiller and ask a chatbot for the specific data. Of course that, the chatbot should be linked to the asset knowledge base so that it can fetch the raw data and provide it to the technician.   

Well, there is a psychological angle too, chatbot feels more human than the apps so for the workforce who are resistant to change their working style too often a transition to chatbot seems easier than the mobile application. NLP-powered chatbots use the understanding of sentence structure, idioms to determine user intent and respond accordingly.

Understanding Context and complex data      

When chatbots are integrated with the knowledge base of asset performance management applications they can offer first-level support by providing basic analysis. Chatbots are best at dealing with structured yet limited information. For example, the user can ask for the time series or regression analysis of the selected parameter and then share the graph or report with his colleague or supervisor. 

Auto mode for repetitive tasks 

Out of multiple tasks, there are few tasks an operator has to do repetitively on a daily basis for example checking the threshold values, changing manual setpoints, etc which can a boring and irritating activity. A chatbot can monitor the repetitive requests and automate the loop to provide instant alerts on the setpoints. It can identify a user’s daily analysis pattern and make those insights available to him on time.         

Communicate insights to team members

Mobile applications are great for inter-team communication but they come with limited ‘editing’ features. Consider a scenario where a chief engineer finds out an anomalous behavior of the AHU and wants his field technician to do a physical check and look for the past maintenance data. Now he can either call his technician or text him on the app but he is not able to show him what he has seen unless he takes a screenshot of the graph, annotates his views and shares it with him. Personalized chatbot and register vendor, user based on his login key and then customize UX accordingly.  

A chatbot can combine the features of a smart editor and the efficiency of the CMMS or asset management application without the need of installing separate applications on mobile. 

Chatbots can be deployed over multiple options - in-app, designated URL or a chrome extension which can be assessed over mobile and desktop at the same time. Since chatbots are basically server-side apps with a simple user interface, they are easier and faster to deploy in comparison with mobile applications.

What do you think, would your O&M team reap the benefits out of a chatbot? Are you planning to build one or interested to explore more?  Well, Xempla’s has a surprise feature update for you. Join us for the Product Wednesday on 24th Feb where we are going to demonstrate our new product feature related to the chatbot for facility management O&M teams. 

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