A Premier Magazine Dedicated to the Management of the Built Environment

How is digitization in FM leading to better resident experiences?

 

FM providers, through digitization, can provide an increasingly younger resident demographic, which wants, and even demands, a personalised resident experience, explains Cindy Hermsen, CEO, The Global Alliance of Facility Management Innovators (FM Innovators)

 

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IFM
 

April 19, 2022
 
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How is digitization in FM leading to better resident experiences?
 

What do residents want from their dwellings and from their community? If we examine the resident hierarchy of needs, we see that first there is physiological, then safety, self-actualization and belongingness. Much like the Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, residents need their apartments/condominiums as a place of shelter – this is a given. Next, they want it to be safe; not just structurally sound but secure from human intrusions and threats like Covid. Then there’s self-actualization which in the context of resident experience mean that they made the right choice in choosing this residence over the dozen many others. Are they getting what was promised? Is it well-maintained with the facilities they deem necessary for their personality and lifestyle? Belongingness refers to the sense of connection to their residential community. People choose their residence based on their lifestyle and interest because they want to feel a sense of community – a connection to their interests or work – like choosing to live near a business district, an artsy community or gourmet hubs, for example.

If you look at it closely, resident needs have always been the same. What changed over the years is the priority and how residents want these needs delivered. An increasingly younger resident demographic wants, and even demands, personalization and convenience in a way that they want their resident experience to not only reflect and cater to their personalities, but they want it in one or two clicks or scans of a QR code. Add the ongoing Covid pandemic into the mix and facility, property and community managers have the challenging task of delivering a better resident experience more than ever.  

From amenity to necessity

Gone are the days when resident experience can be neatly packaged into one word: amenities. Residents now want their living spaces to reflect their personalities and lifestyle that what used to be amenities are now necessities. This starts from seamless move-in experience to clear and timely communication, to addressing their needs efficiently and keeping them engaged all throughout their stay. With the help of automated and digital solutions, delivering a resident experience that delights, can be possible.

FMTech for better resident experience

The use of FMTech elevates resident experiences, especially in the context of personalization, convenience, and the pandemic.  FMTech as we call solutions related to the building’s digitalization, also encompasses digital solutions that apply to daily facility management activities like groundskeeping, parking and visitor management,  food and beverage supply and waste management.

Here are examples of FMTech solution which we have seen improving the resident experience.

Contactless access control, security and touchpoints

Where before, buildings just needed to ensure access is given to its residents and guests, now it is increasingly becoming necessary and convenient for that same access to be contactless. This minimizes residents touching high-contact surfaces like doors, door handles, access buttons, etc. Contactless access control for common areas is one FMTech example addressing this need. Aside from contactless access and in addition to security protocols, buildings now have to observe and comply with health protocols, making sure they are able to identify and trace those entering their premises. There are already a number of visitor management and indoor tracking and mapping solutions that can keep track of what spaces people are accessing and with whom they came in close proximity.

Resident touchpoints in common areas like lobbies, lounges, elevators, recreation facilities etc. can be modernized with smart sensors used in conjunction with apps and dashboards for monitoring. Residents will be delighted if processes like package delivery, alerts for out of order facilities, maintenance and alike are automated. 

Digital incident reporting, maintenance, and cleaning requests

With an increasingly younger resident demographics who are tech savvy and want things done with their mobile phones, reporting incidents like water leaks, malfunctioning facilities and requests for repair and cleaning can now be done by scanning QR codes or sending text-based messages through a facility management app that is automatically routed through an FM platform. Facility managers can automatically assign the tasks to frontline maintenance and cleaning crews, track when the tasks are done and keep an eye on task response times. Cleaning has become more need-based, becoming more dependent on foot traffic and density of people using the space. Add to this the need for transparency: many facility managers are asked to ensure that cleaning is really being done as needed and at the required standards. With the use of IoT sensors, AI and big data, this dynamic cleaning can be achieved. 

Real-time control of comfort and wellness

The comfort and standard that residents enjoy inside their homes is expected to be replicated in common areas. This includes providing the right temperature and air quality while ensuring that sustainable practices and solutions are taken into consideration. There are FMTech solutions for predictive HVAC maintenance, energy management and ESG compliant solutions that monitor and reduce carbon footprints, monitor and adjust air quality and keep track of community waste generation and recycling.

Increasing community engagement by going digital

The good thing about most digital solutions that are app or platform based is that they can be extended or integrated with other similar solutions. For example, FMTech digital apps and platforms that record, and track incidences, maintenance and cleaning can be extended or integrated into other solutions to allow functionalities for community engagement. These allow community managers provide services that delight – like hosting community events (themed parties, food truck drive-by, etc.), offering unique services like connecting residents to local service providers and even personalized services like greeting residents on their birthdays.