And as more clients scout for mechanized FM solutions, facility managers are presented with a great opportunity to deliver reliable services than ever before, says Anand Sinha, CIO and Director IT, OCS Group (India), who in an interaction with CIO Axis, shares technologies and trends his organization to focus on in 2021.
What are your proposals to accelerate the digital transformation of companies and return to a new post-pandemic normal?
In the context of the global pandemic, responsibility of FM companies in keeping people and assets safe is now more than ever. Several companies have come up with digital innovations that can help in COVID risk mitigation within a workplace. Companies are now using technology for ensuring social distancing using IoT and AI. Contact-free access, attendance trackers and automatically generated digital passes for visitors are some of the ways adopted by companies to minimise human intervention. Additionally, technologies like access control systems, automated thermal cameras for temperature screening, face mask detection using AI, room sensors to track human activity, mass compliance systems are also being widely used to ensure safety and security at the workplace.
Can you please share some of the unique lessons learned from Covid-19?
A. The ongoing economic crisis caused by the pandemic is driving companies in the facilities management space to re-evaluate their spending, staffing and structure. Considering that FM companies are dealing with essential services on-ground operations, the pandemic has been an ultimate test of the sector’s capabilities. This is an eye-opener for all of us across the globe and there is a lot to learn from this crisis. Risk management is one of the aspects which must be taken very seriously by companies with reference to business continuity plans. The pandemic was also an opportunity for organizations to show their employees that their values are not just about a bottom line, but they are about welfare of employees, stockholders, and customers.
What technologies and trends will your organization be focusing on in 2021?
A. From a facilities management company perspective, automation and mechanization have started enhancing the operations and maintenance of all assets today. Facility managers are constantly finding the right combination of creative and technological tools that will best fit the needs for their systems. Drones and robotic cleaning systems are now being used to disinfect and sanitize the office premises. FM companies are also using robotics solutions that converts an ordinary floor scrubber machine into a next gen robot through modern AI based autonomous navigation systems integrating smart navigating features thereby resulting in increasing productivity and improved efficiency compared to traditional cleaning methods. Sensor fusion technologies like gyroscope- for measuring orientations, motion, vibration, and accelerometer- for rotation, acceleration and vibration are also placed in various facilities for motion-capture. And as more clients scout for mechanized FM solutions, facility managers are presented with a great opportunity to deliver reliable services than ever before.
Given the not-good-performance of the economy, when will the overall market be in upward trend?
The economic hit caused to India due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the government-imposed lockdown was staggering. I believe no other major economy in the world was as badly affected as India. According to a government released data, the Indian gross domestic product shrank by 23.9% in the April-June quarter of 2020. Having said that due to the growing number of vaccinations roll out recently and the opening of our economy, government support and initiatives, the Indian economy could end up looking much better by the end of 2021 compared to 2020.