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Comment - The right connections

Author : Tim Fryer, Editor

06 October 2011

Tim Fryer, Editor

Of the recurring themes I am finding in the FM industry, the need to embrace new technology is at the forefront.

There are many others of course - reduced bureaucracy, a growing economy and a bit more consistency in policy would all help – and our ability to impact on them as individuals is both limited and long term. But there are other issues of industry-wide relevance that can be tackled on a company by company basis. These include such things as training, communications, energy efficiency, quality service, even health and safety, and a common thread that can facilitate progress in these fields is technology.

‘Technology’, in a sector such as ours that lives and dies by the quality of the people, can sometimes be discarded by technophobes as irrelevant, but I believe people who cling to this view will gradually either be forced to change or disappear.

What bought this particularly to my attention this week was an invitation to the seminar programme at x-Solutions. This is a new event that will be held in London’s Ecxel on 19th and 20th of October and is aimed at people who operate or specify new audio/visual communication technologies.

Here are a few highlights of the seminar programme I thought worth dropping into, and they highlight the impact this application of new technology is making on the FM industry:

‘Integrated room booking and resource management’ by Joe Benn of Anders+Kern UK
In todays modern office environment dedicated room management systems and digital signage are becoming more prevalent and important. This seminar will explain how taking an integrated approach to your room booking, resource management and digital signage can help streamline your business processes and provide greater cost and time efficiencies.

‘The business of audio visual and multimedia - how technologies can enhance your business’ by Graham Naylor-Smith of Arup
Much can be achieved within a business or organisation through the adoption of multimedia and convergence of AV with IT, including enhanced communication, improved knowledge sharing, more efficient building operations, and so on. Yet take up is not what it should be. This seminar looks at the opportunities and the benefits to be found, and some of the lessons to be learnt in using them.

‘The world of work has changed forever. Have you changed with it?’ by Sam Baker Steljes and Tim Price of Walker Steljes
We're all under pressure to do more with less these days. Maintaining a competitive edge means getting every drop of value from your technology, your facilities and your people. Get insight into the issues, challenges and practical interactive and collaborative technologies that are available today to support a natural way of working and drive real competitive advantage through greater productivity and a reduction in costs, time and travel. We'll share with you how many of our customers, including BT, O2 and Microsoft, are using these technologies to change the way they work and greatly improve their efficiency.

Smart Buildings: are they really that clever?’ by Jim Read of Arup
The Intelligent or Smart building has been around for at least a quarter of a century. Over that time the technology behind the concept has changed dramatically. But what about our understanding of how these buildings can be used to benefit business? This seminar will examine the challenges, political and cultural as well as technical, facing designers, developers, contractors and end users in the quest to realise the potential of the truly smart building.

There was plenty more and assuming that the above seminars live up to their billing their relevance to facilities managers is obvious.

I asked Event Director Iain McLean to sum up what xSolutions is likely to bring FMs: “xSolutions 2011 will demonstrate how audio, video and IT networking communication technologies can help improve services, increase profitability, manage costs and deliver greener businesses,” he responded. "With just two weeks to go we are delighted with the quality of pre registered visitors whose roles are directly FM / Estate Management related or part of a combined FM/IT project and would like to encourage other industry thought leaders to attend this inaugural event. xSolutions 2011 is the opportunity for you to be inspired, be engaged, be informed and learn about powerful communications solutions that translate into real business benefits."

If you would like to come along to the event (registration is free and can be done online) or check out the rest of the seminar and conference programmes, or indeed the exhibitors who will be there, the web site is

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