The role of facilities management is changing rapidly, with building owners increasingly expecting facilities management teams to be stakeholders and collaborators for business growth. The focus is shifting towards highly efficient operations and an elevated occupant experience. I sat down with Prabhu Ramachandran, Founder of Facilio, to learn more.
RM: Prabhu, before we begin, please start a BWT tradition by giving me the Facilio elevator pitch.
PR: Sure. Facilio is the world’s first facilities optimisation software that harnesses IoT and AI to leverage existing automation data and provide superior facilities experience. We’re built from the ground up keeping in mind property owners and facility managers, to help them achieve real-time operational efficiency and sustainability across CRE portfolios.
RM: Excellent. So what do you see as the core challenges building owners are facing?
PR: Up until now, building owners haven’t had the technology to handle multiple things like dealing with facility service vendors, equipment breakdowns and aligning tenant requests with facilities strategies. They’ve been put at a blind-spot and have always been firefighting problems rather than proactively controlling operations from the driver’s seat. This is mainly because of inaccessibility to real-time insights with no central visibility of building performance.
RM: Where are the biggest gains to be had?
PR: I see the biggest gains in utilizing technology to centralize and consolidate operational data from multiple BAS and control systems. This in turn enables effective cross-utilization of asset performance with real-time maintenance management. And with large set of data patterns to train on, technology can produce predictive models of downtime and building owners will be able to provide world-class tenant experiences that gives them the edge over competition.
RM: And presumably that’s what Facilio enables?
PR: Yes, exactly. The current approach to facility management is clearly siloed, steered by hardware-automation over the years. Facilio wants to declutter this - we want to provide a complete end-to-end solution that helps customers easily provide value to occupiers. To do that, we empower CREs to centrally and efficiently manage their building portfolios. Our software led approach increases efficiency in building operations and sustainability besides involving far lower capital allocation in comparison to legacy approaches.
RM: How does implementing such a technology create business value?
PR: Operating costs have always been a primary outlay for commercial building owners. The advantage in technology adoption to centrally manage and operate portfolios in real-time is multifold and it helps to concurrently optimize the lifespan of assets and improve sustainability savings, in addition to improving workforce efficiency. This approach directly benefits the net operating income for property owners, while significantly enhancing the amenity value of the property.
RM: You straddle real estate and technology. How big is that gap?
PR: People, when we started, would tell us they think we came in with minimal real-estate background because of the techy-badge associated with us. I think it was more of the opposite. In the last twenty years, it seems the main thing you should have done to yield best operational results is to have invested in technology at functional facilities. Otherwise it’s just huge amount of administrative time and money down the drains. People now realise the advantage of optimising facilities in real-time and it's increasingly tangible benefits - this has been an important milestone for us - to have carefully built a solution that helps people be smarter at what they do at scale, across distributed portfolios.
RM: What do you predict will be the most significant technological change in Indian real estate in the coming five years?
PR: With facilities management, the industry is at the tipping point of disruption and we already see early adopters enjoying tech-enabled opportunities as a competitive edge to enhance their facility offerings and provide flexible benefits that improves both the bottomline and the overall tenant experience. The next five years will most definitely see effective adoption of IoT, AI and Machine Learning by enterprises to manage facilities, just as customarily as their IT systems.
RM: What's the next big step for Facilio?
PR: Facilio’s goal is to empower CREs to not only 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.
RM: Which project are you most proud of?
PR: Our biggest win includes the headquarters of one of the world’s premier airlines company and our entire team worked very hard towards the continued success of this project. Right now, we’re thrilled to be working with one of the world’s most iconic mega buildings, and with a couple of other large enterprise customers each spanning over 200 buildings.
RM: Are you currently raising capital?
PR: Facilio is backed by Accel and went to market early 2018. We plan to raise funds later this year.
Interview conducted by Robert Marten, Co-Founder, Built World Technology Alliance.
Facilio was a Featured Technology at BWT Asia 2019.