Buzzword Bingo - by AR, IoT and BIM
Far away: augmented reality
Most recently, IFA showed that many manufacturers are now addressing the issue of AR. AR glasses are not only offered in the consumer sector but increasingly also in the B2B environment. But the basic problem for CAFM-applications remains:
Although the glasses are becoming smaller and handier, they are too cumbersome for service technicians and too complicated in terms of haptics. They are still not robust enough and their battery life is still insufficient. As a result, acceptance is lacking.
Where does AR unfold a benefit within CAFM that no conventional application can cover?
Certainly in specialised areas of the maintenance and in more complex operations. But does that justify the necessary investment?
Probably not yet.
The typical CAFM user today must be able to manage many different processes in an ever shorter time. Therefore, the focus should rather be on process optimisation, data entry and the associated intelligence of a system. AR can at best support this.
Legal pitfalls have also not been solved: the right to one's own image, data protection, the protection of company secrets - a whole phalanx of aspects lurks on the horizon to hinder, or at least delay, the use of augmented reality.
Foot in the door: BIM
BIM is a good, important approach that still needs a lot of communication, education and development work. Because BIM is not what many think it is, CAD in 3D. Rather, it is a management procedure that also functions purely alphanumerically.
Looking at the current situation in the market, BIM integration usually means: "We have a Revit interface". Or "We have mastered the IFC-Import."
Both are important, but leave core questions unanswered. Because BIM is much more than CAFM - and CAFM much more than BIM.
A binding definition of data quality and quantity is necessary for understanding between the worlds. And as difficult as it may be for CAFM learners, the leading system is BIM, because this is where the core data of the buildings are located.
The challenge will be to ensure bidirectional data exchange between the two worlds so that even currently exclusive FM-dates can flow back into a BIM model. Ultimately, IFC then serves as a universal data format between different systems.
Already there: the Internet of Things
That leaves IoT, the Internet of Things. A technical topic, far removed from CAFM, but which can have helpful effects. Some of this can already be found in CAFM, albeit as isolated solutions and as a legacy of industrial data collection. Because that's where the trend began, and for good reason: plant data helps to detect wear and tear at an early stage and to significantly reduce downtimes.
In these aspects also lies the benefit in the context of the maintenance with CAFM. There are necessary sensors, interfaces are also available, so the implementation is a relatively small undertaking. And the benefits can be recognized quickly and save money.
Especially in cooperation with IoT specialists, the process can incredibly enrich a CAFM system. Good examples are Energy management and predictive maintenance. Nevertheless, IoT is not a primary topic for the broad mass of CAFM users. At least not yet.
Economy and customer benefit
If we look at the two central aspects of economic efficiency and customer benefits of BIM, AR and IoT, the result is clear: both have long been the case with IoT and will be the case with BIM in the foreseeable future.
Augmented reality is an exciting future topic that will accompany CAFM users and manufacturers in the coming years. For the current CAFM market, AR still plays a rather subordinate role. CAFM processes will only be able to participate when user acceptance is increased through suitable AR devices.
Then the market will reassess the topic.
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