About 6 or 7 years ago, when we were still in the 4th industrial revolution, there was one word on everyone’s lips: automation.

Cast our minds back, and we’ll remember the palpable excitement we had towards our newfound ability to use robots and tools to speed up, and in many cases, rewrite the way industry carried out several key processes. The best case study may well be the fabrication and manufacturing industries. 

The advances in automation added fuel to the fire behind a concept known as “lights out” facilities, whereby humans wouldn’t touch a product at any point during its production — everything was automated! The idea was that plants could operate all day long with pauses only taking place for routine maintenance. 

There’s a funny, exaggerated joke that in these types of facilities, there would be just two employees, an operator and a dog. The dog and human would sit in a control room, and the dog’s role would be to bark whenever its owner intervened…

Of course, as we’ve since learned with the arrival of Industry 5.0, technology must be human-centric. Humans may not have the ruthless productivity of a robot, but they do have brains, and for now, at least, that gives us a competitive edge like no other.

Indeed, it may be a fatal error to totally remove them… just ask Elon Musk. He famously tweeted

Yes, excessive automation at Tesla was a mistake. To be precise, my mistake. Humans are underrated.

How do these learnings apply to FM and maintenance?

Industry 5.0 will naturally vary between industries. The key cornerstones of collaboration, intelligence, human centricity and sustainability will drive all decisions and be at the heart of all operations embracing Industry 5.0, but what’s interesting to examine is how this differs. 

Taking our example industry of manufacturing, where automation technology is a much more mature and embedded concept than our own, the 5.0 ethos comes ostensibly from a “test and improve” mindset — expert engineers and data analysts that can enhance automated processes by refine and tweak settings to improve production quality. The key outcome here is “efficiency” and so here, it’s intelligence that really shines through. 

Facility management and maintenance are different 

Our spaces and processes are of course driven by a desire to be more productive and work more efficiently, but there are crucial other objectives which colour the way we can and should use intelligent automation. A hotel is for people, a retail store is for people and a hospital is for people. When we automate a task, our goal is not to only make it happen faster. Unlike the manufacturing industry, we will always have a “why”. 

The human-centric and collaborative elements of the 5.0 philosophy are critical in our industry. 

What are some common automation use cases in FM and Maintenance? 

The truth is, there are almost unlimited applications for automation within our industry. The benefits are almost limitless, too! With some of the use cases we’ll outline in just a moment, you can guarantee that your operation:

    • Runs more fluidly, meaning you maintain control and supervision over outcomes
    • Runs with less human intervention and error, whilst ensuring you are the beneficiary
    • Has better real-time situation evaluation and analysis, meaning you can respond faster
    • Has more consistent standards, meaning your team and facility users are happy
    • … and we could keep going! 

    As Infraspeak’s Product Manager Daniela Santos says: 

    “Our vision for Gear Automations is to make it 10 times better than any similar feature in the market and to give Infraspeak a competitive advantage.”
    So without further ado, what can we do with intelligent automation in FM and Maintenance? 

        1. Automate corrective maintenance flows: whenever a work order is raised, it can be automatically assigned to the right technician based on area type.

      The result: Shorter downtime. Less collateral damage. Better asset management

          1. Automate report and data generation: use intelligent data analytics to automate your generation of asset or maintenance costs, space usage and inventory reports. 

        The result: Deeper analysis. Better understanding. Much, much less time spent. 

            1. Resource management: Using smart sensors to detect anomalies, you can automatically raise work orders and improve space management

          The result: Less energy wastage. More sustainable buildings. More money saved. 

          By this point, you’re probably midway through a Google search trying to figure out how you can integrate the power of automation into your FM and maintenance facilities. Well, we got news for ya, you’re already in the right place. You need… 

          Infraspeak Gear™ — the intelligent assistant you’ve been looking for

          Infraspeak Gear™ is the powerful, processing core that sits at the heart of all our clients’ IMMP (Intelligent Maintenance Management Platform). It uses intelligent technology to resolve challenges in three main ways:

          1. Automating recurring processes and tasks that block productivity
          2. Providing data-backed suggestions and insights on your operation, assets and people 
          3. Flagging up issues, anomalies or other important things you want to know about

          Nearly 15 000 automation combinations… for now!

          Infraspeak makes it easy for you to build your own automation combinations, with each one representing a repetitive task that would have taken valuable time out of your day.

          This can save you up to 8 hours a week!

          All this is done by combining different triggers, conditions and outcomes linked to all areas of our platform and using well-designed logical gates, our team has created an innovative automation solution which can, at the time of writing, automate nearly 15 000 different tasks.

          Suggestions and alerts you’ll want to listen to

          Every day, you flood your platform with thousands of data points just by clicking around your platform and registering basic activity. Gear helps you make use of this critical data by analysing this behaviour, and providing intelligent suggestions and alerts for how to progress on several processes. 

          For example, Gear could suggest the appropriate task for a preventive maintenance plan (PMP), such as recommending a “filter replacement” for an “AC unit,” based on the type of asset.

          Equally, Gear could warn you if any of your newly created assets don’t get assigned a PMP. It’s got your back, and, crucially, you want it to, too:

          3/4 of the suggestions provided by Gear are accepted by users as the option they wanted. In fact, last quarter, our users accepted 217492 Gear suggestions, saving around 75 days of work! Vila Galé was the top user, adopting 19289 suggestions and saving almost 7 days of work.

          Instant, incredible insights on your assets

          Facility managers and service providers will be all too familiar with the terms MTBF (Mean Time Between Failures) and MTTR (Mean Time To Repair). They’re bread and butter numbers that show asset availability, health and efficiency and are a non-negotiable data point for every asset.

          Fortunately, Gear has your back again! It will automatically provide you with these calculations for every asset under your watch. What a relief! 

          Intelligent automation is ready — reach out and use it 

          Automation technology, in its purest form, has been around for the best part of a decade. Winning is not about understanding that automation exists. Maintenance 5.0 has more challenging demands than its 4.0 predecessor. The unique challenges posed by sustainability and the pressing need for enhanced collaboration means that humans, workers, teams and end-users MUST be at the centre of any implementation of this type of technology. 

          Leveraging AI/ML techniques to simplify and improve the life of our users has always been a part of our plans. Data digest, analytics, suggestions, predictability, automations, are all areas that we are continuously improving and developing.

          Luis Martins, CTO at Infraspeak

          Infraspeak Gear™ is designed with human-centricity in mind. It’s not just about “speed, speed, speed”, even if it does improve efficiency greatly, as it may well be in some other industries, and that’s ok.

          We never thought we’d say this… but we agree with Elon Musk— Humans are underrated!

          They are our greatest asset and to really succeed, we need to use intelligent solutions like Gear to get the best from them. Intelligent automation is ready. Imagine what you can achieve with Gear, picture how you can make your life, and all your team’s, better, simpler and easier. Reach out and use it. 

          A 10-minute call is all it takes.
          Learn how Infraspeak can help with intelligent maintenance management.