Do you know any Luddites? In the early 1800s, the original Luddites destroyed power looms and spinning frames, then-disruptive new technologies that threatened jobs in the British textile industry. Nowadays, the term refers to people who oppose new technology.
It’s easy to get the impression that facility operating staffs are filled with Luddite Baby Boomers — skilled mechanics and technicians who aren’t interested in learning new technologies. However, mobile devices are here to stay in facility management as they offer important advantages. A new generation of mobile-optimized interfaces is making mobile phones and tablets just as powerful as laptops and desktops for managing buildings.
Facility managers with large portfolios are leading the way in the use of mobile technology, according to a Building Operating Management survey. Of facility managers who reported their staff currently use smart phones or tablets for more than alarms or alerts, 60 percent were from organisations larger than 500,000 square feet. Staff use of mobile devices may only be the tip of the iceberg. For now, only a few organisations permit occupants to use mobile devices for functions like controlling the temperature, submitting work orders, or filing complaints, according to the survey. But you can bet that will change in the not too distant future.
The move to mobile takes planning. Mobile is also an investment: 88 percent of respondents who said their staff use mobile devices reported their organisations provided the devices. But that cost brings a big benefit: As mobile-based technology spreads, tablets and smart phones will become essential tools for productivity and occupant satisfaction.