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EMAIL INTERVIEW – Dennis Krieger and Ken Sinclair
An interview with Switch
Automation’s Director of Engineering Services, Dennis Krieger,
outlines the future of mobile apps in facilities management and the
power they have to transform the way we manage our buildings.
Sinclair: Switch Automation recently launched a new app for smart facilities management. Why was mobile important to your business strategy?
Krieger: We learned
early on that smart building platforms, and the data-driven insights
they provide are useless without the ability to drive action in the
building. We also learned that facility managers don’t have the time to
sit at a desk and interact with charts and alerts. We wanted to give
onsite teams a quick and easy way to solve problems on-the-go while
enabling them to keep their team and vendors informed and accountable.
Sinclair: How does the app help make an FM’s job easier?
Krieger: FMs are
constantly traveling, even within a single building; and problems occur
whether you’re at your computer or not. Ultimately, FMs need to be able
to collaborate with their teams and solve on-site issues with third
parties just as easily as if they were in the same room or at the
office. The Switch Automation App extends the power of the Switch
Platform to mobile devices so you can make timely, data-driven
decisions and avoid miscommunication and bottlenecks.
Sinclair: Can you give an example of how FMs are using the App?
day-in-the-life of a facility manager typically involves responding to
high priority work orders while constantly being disrupted by tenant
complaints and critical building issues. The App
allows our customers to insert data-driven insights and opportunities
into the existing workflows and tools the facility manager is already
The Switch Automation Platform analyzes
thousands of sensors in the building in real-time and detects issues
that can impact energy, comfort and equipment performance. Most of our
customers utilize a centralized team of technical experts to diagnose
these issues and prioritize the appropriate actions for each site team.
With the mobile app, the facility
manager’s daily routine is enhanced, not disrupted. Now, instead of
prioritizing work orders from tenant-generated complaints, they are
prioritizing work orders from the data-generated Switch Platform. The
mobile app delivers the results of automated fault detection rules in a
language they are familiar with – a work order with priorities, tasks
and due dates.
Over time, these data-driven work orders
reduce the number of tenant-generated complaints and the facility
managers transition to a proactive maintenance model that improves the
overall building performance.
Sinclair: What makes the mobile app different?
Krieger: The Switch Automation App is a tool designed for
facility managers. It focuses on the tools required to action the
outputs of the complex analytics and root cause analyses being
performed in the Switch Automation Platform.
The app equips a facility manager with
data-driven Events that can sync with work order platforms.
Notifications are sent when an Event is assigned to the facility
manager, allowing them to open the Event details in the app to see the
impacted equipment and conditions that are present (e.g., Supply air
temperatures at the 3rd floor AHU are too high). Facility managers can
upload photos, complete tasks and interact with their centralized
support team directly in the app interface as they work through the
Actioning the outputs of a smart
building platform is an often overlooked and undervalued component of
the program. The mobile app provides a user-friendly interface to
implement change—ultimately to achieve the energy savings and comfort
Sinclair: Who is the Switch Automation App for and where can we get it?
Right now the App is available for Switch Automation customers and is
available to download in the Google Play and Apple stores. We’re happy to provide
a demo to anyone who’d like to understand more about how to
leverage mobile apps for more efficient building management.
Sinclair: So, what’s next for Switch Automation?
Our immediate focus on the mobile app was creating a tool that
can enrich a typical work order process with smart building analytics.
This will help our customers identify and work through building
optimization opportunities to improve energy, comfort and equipment
Our next step is turning the mobile app
into a Continuous Commissioning (CCx) tool. We’re building tools to
engage facility managers with real-time alerts from our Fault Detection
and Diagnostics (FDD) library with the ability to directly control
equipment from the app. These enhancements will empower facility
managers to respond to a prioritized list of FDD rules in real-time to
maintain the building at the highest performance level possible.
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