The Benefits of Blockchain for Facilities Managers in 2020 and Beyond
In particular, what makes Blockchain valuable for facility managers is that it offers a streamlined way to store and access secure data. Blockchain has the capability to function as a distributed, single source of shared truth. It has the potential to become the top system of record for all transactions. According to a recent article in IFMA's Facility Management Journal, if this were to happen, "the economy will undergo a radical shift as new, blockchain-based, sources of influence and control emerge. Blockchain has the potential to change the way facilities are managed, ranging from work order tracking to preventive maintenance to life cycle assessments".
The main benefit that Blockchain offers Facilities Managers is digital trust. Blockchain functions as a cloud-based, permanent, digital ledger of activities between parties. The term cloud-based means that it does not live within your organization's private server, or any other company’s private server. The permanence of this ledger means that it exists as a permanent record of activities between parties.
For the facility management industry, this technology has applications for recording property transfers, asset digitization, HVAC system activities, tenant occupancy of cubicles, and security access. Blockchain also has the potential to help manage IoT connected devices and smart buildings with renewable energy, such as solar. For example, if a facility is in a two-way energy communication with the grid, Blockchain can make it more secure and easier to develop a digital record of energy-in and energy-out transactions.
Possible Applications of Blockchain for Facilities Management
There are many potential applications of Blockchain for facility management. The main benefits are that data is secure, cannot be corrupted, and is easy to access. For the facilities management industry, Blockchain has the potential to be a valuable tool in regards to the three components of Asset Life Cycle.
- Life Cycle Assessment addresses the environmental impacts associated with every stage of a product’s useful life.
- Life Cycle Cost is the sum of all costs over the life span of a physical asset from its purchase to its installation to its disposal.
- Life Cycle Analysis determines the most cost-effective asset option among competing alternatives.
Data that is stored in a Blockchain has the potential to be quickly and easily reviewed, even when maintained by separate departments. The provides a fast and accurate data analysis. Further, highly confidential or proprietary data is far more secure because of Blockchain's single source of shared truth.
An advantage of Blockchain is that it will streamline processes and lower costs through the reduction and/or elimination of those dreaded manual operations. This could be adapted to almost any process including preventive maintenance, work orders, environmental health and safety planning, and space management.
Blockchain could also positively impact the Internet of Things. IoT is the network of physical objects embedded with electronics, software sensors, and network connectivity that enables these objects to collect and exchange data, more simply put, it refers to connecting things (machinery, sensors) to the internet.
While IoT is a powerful tool, all of these sensors that continually collect and store data in the cloud is primed to create a security issue. This creates opportunities for theft, break-ins and other security risks. Therefore, storing this information using Blockchain would ensure that this data is far more secure.
How to Prepare for the Future with Blockchain
While the widespread implementation of Blockchain is still a long way off, it is still a good idea to invest time and energy into evaluating and researching the ways in which this exciting new technology could be implemented. At Intellis, we believe that it is never too early to start identifying areas that can be improved by new developments in technology.
Of course it is important to maintain perspective when it comes to implementing emerging technologies, however, mastery is a moving target. While Blockchain may be challenging to adopt, it has profound potential to positively benefit the future of facility management operations. The time to prepare is now!
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