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January 2019
Interview

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EMAIL INTERVIEWKen Sinclair and Prabhu Ramachandran

Prabhu Ramachandran is the founder and CEO of Facilio Inc., headquartered in Atlanta (US). Facilio is a facilities optimization platform that harnesses IoT and AI to drive real-time operational efficiency across real-estate portfolios. Prabhu’s career spans over 18 years of product, business and customer experience focused on enterprise-scale software for IoT-based connected services, sustainable building solutions, and telecom network management.



Smart Buildings, Smart Workforce, Smart Cities

These are the building blocks of all future economies. AI & IoT-led facilities management holds the key to help buildings leapfrog to this modern, smart, experience-driven era.

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Sinclair:  How is the Building Automation market evolving? What role is Facilio playing in this transformation?

Ramachandran:  As the conventional role of facilities and building management services is changing, building owners are increasingly expecting facilities management teams to be stakeholders and collaborators for business growth. The buildings and FM market haveshown considerable interest in a software-driven approach with the potential of technologies like IoT & AI that democratizes automation data silos. So CRE’s and FM’s are keen to utilize software to provide flexible, agile, and unified solutions that drive continuous operational efficiency and sustainability, at scale, across building portfolios. And the drivers for this change are many.

Traditionally, facilities management in buildings has entailed high capital and operating expenditure. But despite billions of dollars invested in the management of buildings worldwide, there is still massive scope for improvement in how buildings are being managed. Legacy siloed systems and long implementation cycles of traditional FM software vendors have been bogging down commercial real-estate owners with inflexibility. And this rigid infrastructure has prevented commercial real estate owners (CRE’s) from taking the leap into the next frontier of facilities management – modern, experience-driven services.

With its software-led approach, Facilio breaks these boundaries and delivers continuous efficiency. We leverage the power of innovative technology to unify building performance in real-time. Facilio helps the built environment transcend from the age-old fire-fighting and reactive mode to one that belongs in the future - predictive & focused on experiences. Using IoT and AI, we extract powerful insights from the goldmine of performance data available on existing automation system and enable portfolio-wide visibility and insight-led decision-making, putting CREs in the driver’s seat to centrally control operations and sustainability, across their building portfolio.

Sinclair:  What does IoT in buildings mean to you? How does Facilio achieve IoT in buildings?

Ramachandran:  In the current building industry, there are 2 layers of buildings. One is the underlying automation layer, which includes your BMS, Fire, Lift, Power mapping systems. And then we have the Facility management layer, which includes an FM workforce, and the software associated with that. In simplistic terms, these 2 layers are not talking to each other today, and IoT is a technology that can help the buildings to seamlessly integrate these two so that they can derive value out of it.

By clubbing together building automation systems (BAS) with FM-tech, buildings are able to leverage the existing BAS data gold mine and use it to optimize operational efficiency, the performance of critical assets and sustainability in real-time is translating into meaningful savings. With the focus shifting towards highly efficient operations and an elevated occupant experience, Facilio helps CREs predictively optimize building performance and deliver value-added tenant services.

Further, IT/OT convergence in the built environment is driving a necessary alignment and collaboration in the broader Building IoT landscape. Successful implementation can help develop a robust ecosystem that enables facility and building services to transition from being cost-centers to becoming value-creators.

At Facilio we have a strong software driven edge technology which is IoT based wherein we can talk to the existing building automation system, invariable of what vendor it comes from. Facilio centrally connects and captures live stream of performance data from the buildings. We then apply ML to that data to predictively detect anomalies and complete the whole lifecycle by integrating an automatic resolution workflow. This helps customers to centrally manage facilities and sustainability of an entire portfolio of buildings.

Sinclair:   The market is flooded with IoT providers, CAFM’s and Smart building automation systems. What is it that Facilio does differently?

Ramachandran:  Though the IoT buzzword has been doing rounds for a couple of years, the data in buildings was still stuck in silos, and all building stakeholders - from owners to facility managers to technicians – were still continuing to rely heavily on manual or piecemeal operations. Why was that? It was because no one had looked at the problem long enough to understand the gaps and pain points of the industry stakeholders.

At Facilio, we were constantly driven by the problem - the inefficiencies at the core of every building operation - and the parallel void in the global market to address it in real-time. We looked at solving the most basic set of challenges that rank high on the agenda of customers using IoT and AI as an enabler technology, and not the other way around.

The existing FM software that is used in buildings like CAFM and CMMS is more of legacy systems that are disparate, siloed, operating in isolation and not talking to each other.  Further, any IoT solutions today come bundled with a proprietary set of sensors. This only adds to the existing siloed environment and already heavy TCO.

The value in IoT for smart buildings does not lie in the addition of many new connected sensors. Rather it lies in tech-driven applications that use existing data to improve efficiency multifold. And it is this value that Facilio brings - our solution uniquely integrates with existing building systems without having to uproot expensive infrastructure or add any new sensor. By acquiring, analyzing and contextualizing data into real-time actionable insights, Facilio enables all stakeholders to make better organizational decisions continuously, and provide the best occupant experience.

Control Solutions, Inc Sinclair:  Tell us about Facilio's customers?

Ramachandran:  We currently have customers across India, Middle East, and the US., ranging from customers who operate large office parks, customers who operate multiple entertainment parks, and an airline operator with a huge number of buildings. By helping CREs take a holistic approach towards optimizing facilities in real-time, our solution enables them to increase the lifecycle of assets by 20 to 25 percent, and save nearly 30 percent on operating expenses. But what is common in all these customers - they have a lot of operational silos today with multiple buildings, multiple vendors, and multiple building systems. They’re using Facilio to unify this and manage their entire portfolio centrally.

Sinclair:  What is your future growth plan?

Ramachandran:  The last decade has highlighted the potential of software-led models to disrupt an industry and provide large-scale efficiencies. The buildings automation market is also undergoing a rapid digital transformation, and software-led solutions are becoming very central to this transformation. A recent analysis report by Verdantix, a leading global research consultancy specializing in energy, real estate, facilities, and maintenance, estimates that the global market for software and related IT services in buildings is currently estimated at $8 billion, and is expected to reach $12 billion by 2022. Globally, Facilities Services spend is close to 1+ trillion dollars today, with similar energy spending.

2019 is going to be an exciting year for us, and we’re hoping to be at the forefront of leading the tech-driven transformation in the built world. We will continue to be committed to our vision of leveraging technology to unify the 3 core components of buildings  - people, sustainability, and machines - in real-time. Facilio’s goal is to empower CREs not only to be proactive but also become efficient value-partners. Our vision is to facilitate a disruptive evolution in the facilities management space, similar to the transformation in e-commerce, ride sharing and travel stay.

Smart Buildings, Smart Workforce, Smart Cities - these are the building blocks of all future economies. AI & IoT-led facilities management holds the key to help buildings leapfrog to this modern, smart, experience-driven era. And we want to be at the forefront of leading this transformation.


About Facilio

Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia (US), with operations in Chennai, India, Facilio is a facilities optimization platform that harnesses IoT and AI to drive real-time operational efficiency across real-estate portfolios. It offers an all-in-one software suite to help facilities centrally manage maintenance, operations, sustainability, and tenant experience, in one place. Funded by Accel.com and founded by enterprise SaaS and IoT veterans, Facilio was established in May 2017 and started its operations in 2018. For more information, please visit: https://facilio.com/




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