Concept Advantage apps - product launch from FSI

FSI discusses with Tomorrow's FM the launch of Concept Advantage, the suite of single-purpose smartphone/tablet FM apps, which integrate with the Concept Evolution CAFM system, to encourage entire workplace communities to contribute to the success of the facilities they occupy.

Engaging workplace communities
The apps embrace the enabling technologies now established; including smartphones, mobile and wireless communications, internet-of-things, machine-to-machine intelligence, to deliver consumerised FM. They are aimed at engaging all those who work or interact in other ways within premises where FSI's Concept Evolution system operates.

Concept Advantage will be integral to new implementations of Concept Evolution and is backwards-compatible with existing Concept Evolution deployments via an enabling process.

Concept Advantage sets out to devolve FM beyond the core of managers, operatives and suppliers who have the formal responsibility for it. Apps offer much wider reach and faster processes for reporting, requesting (booking) and responding to FM-related matters. Contributing to effective FM can now be put directly in the hands of all those on its receiving-end.

Connecting FM to the business ecosystem
Concept Advantage recognises an increasing realisation that FM performance can impact significantly on the contentedness of workplace communities that occupy a premises. It can be seen to affect the likes of overall corporate wellbeing, organisational brand perception, customer service and HR issues, such as employee retention. Viewed as such, the dominant fixing and cleaning functions of FM - and the creation of innovative, new, app-driven services - take on new criticality, a means-to-an-end as influencers of organisational success.

For the FM outsource providers and major corporate end-users of Concept Evolution, a customised app-branding feature is part of Concept Advantage. This provides the opportunity for a raised profile among the wide app userbase; a way to directly demonstrate innovation, connectedness and value to the workplace community being served.

Consumerised FM
The psychology behind the app concept is the removal of the notion that a user must enter a separate FM world to effect a transaction. Single purpose functionality eliminates the often-needed ability to drill down, sometimes requiring expert help, through layers of multi-functionality within traditional CAFM systems.

Using an app to advise Hospitality that a washroom needs its floor mopping, via a familiar-looking user interface that sits among the myriad others, for emailing, web-browsing, Amazon, Candy Crush etc, becomes just another, second-nature activity.

It may be appropriate to incentivise app users to encourage usage. For instance, people reporting faults or incidents could receive benefit by way of prize draws for all those who make a report, or be given a loyalty reward for, perhaps, every tenth report received.

Such techniques, and the ease of acquiring and using these apps, are key to maximising widespread use. Local authorities, public transport facilities, colleges/universities and hospitals clearly demonstrate the value from buy-in from as wide a user community as possible. Mass take up of issues-reporting-type apps will result in mutual benefit for all from optimal housekeeping, maintenance and use of facilities. Booking and buying apps allow maximised opportunity for people to make convenient (and, where relevant for the operator, profitable) use of services available.

FM goes millenial
Technologically, Concept Advantage is totally forward-facing. From current app-bearing devices, this development is designed to carry forward to the immediately emerging era of wearable devices, intelligent non-human assistants (such as Amazon's Alexa) and voice interaction with intelligent environmental control devices and others.

The initial suite of apps is dominated by more conventional report, request, book, and buy functions. Chatlog (a social helpdesk), Register a Visitor, and OurSay (a suggestion/feedback tool) are in the first app portfolio. Future apps will break-down existing conventions and traditional ways of effecting hard and soft FM, in similar manner to the way drones have disrupted processes for surveying buildings.