Budgets, Brexit and Flexibility
Budgets, Brexit and the ability to adapt to evolving requirements of tenants, service users and broader regulatory changes are some of the most challenging issues for Campus Estates Managers at the moment, but luckily the forthcoming TECHNOLOGY 2018 business technology demonstration day, at Wolverhampton Racecourse on 26th September, could hold the answer.
Making the right choice
The presence, reliability and type of technology available within businesses and organisations of all sizes and across all sectors has been shown to affect job satisfaction, productivity and operational efficiency. When it comes to users having a choice of facilities such as which university to attend; technology can often be a deciding factor.
But with increasing budget restrictions and the pace of change of ‘on trend’ and emerging technologies it is more important than ever to ensure that security, fire detection, communications, audio visual and life safety systems are as good as they can be, in terms of functionality and life time value.
Budgets are often seen as the most restricting factor. Indeed, how can you install lots of fancy new technology without a large capital outlay?
Well – all is not what it seems. New technology can save money in so many areas of an organisation that it is worth investigating what is currently available, as well as emerging trends that could improve operational and financial efficiency.
The latest HD CCTV systems with panoramic view or fish eye lenses could replace one or more, older, low resolution cameras whilst covering the same area with better image quality. IP CCTV cameras allow remote access via desktop or mobile devices from anywhere in the world; providing an instant site overview without the need to be there. Whilst installing Power over Ethernet systems can reduce the cabling required as well reducing install costs.
The same high quality cameras could also help reduce the number of security patrols required through the use of intelligent video analytics, providing instant alerts along with e-mail or mobile alerts about site wide activities and events.
Global site management
Alarm management systems can improve audit trails and reduce false alarms, as well as incorporating a centralised graphical user interface, providing Campus Estate Managers with a global view and real time understanding of all connected protection systems and sites (which may even be miles apart) from one location. Once again reducing costs through removing the need for duplication of personnel on each site and / or for the time and costs of travelling between facilities.
Communication and collaboration
Other savings are available through the latest video conferencing technology, allowing colleagues on sites almost anywhere in the world to hold effective meetings and work on the same documents and projects without additional travel and accommodation costs.
Likewise, the latest hosted VoIP phone systems can all but eliminate the cost of calls between colleagues on the same network, whilst also reducing other operational costs.
Of course, underpinning all these technologies is the requirement for a fast and efficient network, able to reliably handle all the voice and data traffic on a daily basis. Yet, again, investment in the right network equipment can reduce processing and transmission times (and therefore costs).
With all of these technologies there may be up front capital and budget challenges, but the ongoing savings can be so significant that cost recovery time and the transition to long term savings is relatively short
Wherever you stand on Brexit – the reality is that there is likely, at least in the short to medium term, to be a shortage of skilled, experienced and available personnel to fulfil Estates Management and Facilities roles. So, the big question is how to deliver and maintain high quality services to your schools, the wider campus and other stakeholders with fewer or less experienced personnel.
Once again, technology and the integration of appropriate systems could well provide a solution.
From digital concierges, wayfinding technology and touch screens, the latest technology can all but remove the need for large reception areas and in many cases, full time receptionists. Providing detailed information on where to find appropriate facilities across a site at any time of night or day, 365 days a year, booking visitors in and notifying the people they are there to meet as well as offering the ability to leave messages and even collect parcels. Technology will play a key role in operational assistance whilst maximising the efficiency of the available personnel.
The likes of video conferencing, VoIP and global site management systems not only improve the efficiency of system users, but can also reduce the workload of Estates, IT and Security teams through simplifying user set ups, improved connectivity features and real time global awareness of many security, fire detection and life safety systems. This ability to reduce workloads can improve work life balance, help manage stress and even control overtime costs – saving human and financial resources which can be reinvested and repurposed in other areas.
Workloads can also be improved by removing tasks such as setting intruder alarms, providing proof of attendance during security tours and even locking and unlocking buildings, which can be managed remotely through access control protocols and even biometric readers for more sensitive areas of your site.
Lecture capture technology can also provide personnel and cost savings to your site tenants and users. Not only enabling on-demand access for anyone who missed a lecture; but also providing the opportunity for any lecture to be delivered electronically to other classes in other locations – saving the cost of employing additional qualified teaching staff.
Satisfying and retaining key personnel and service users are a top priority and providing access to the right technologies can help institutions stand out from the competition and ultimately secure their future, such as when students may choose a university with better connectivity, security, audio visual, life safety and communications technologies. Indeed some systems may provide opportunities for additional income generation.
As the world is evolving and people become more used to using a variety of advanced technology at home and throughout their life, they will come to expect the same technologies and maybe more, at their place of work, study and across other facilities.
Whether it is the ability to connect to other screens across the world, to automate systems and processes to improve operational and site users’ efficiency; to work wirelessly or to be assisted autonomously; the demand for the presence of the latest technologies is almost unstoppable. And those who understand the possibilities and opportunities available through attending events such as TECHNOLOGY 2018, will be able to stay at the forefront of Campus Estate Management and see budgets, Brexit and flexibility as just another day at the office – or elsewhere if they choose to work remotely.
Part of the wider Wolverhampton Business Week, the business technology showcase is organised and sponsored by the specialist Security, Fire, Communications and AV teams from Thompson AVC. Find out more and secure your free place at www.technology2018.co.uk.
With over 20 years experience of delivering some of the most exciting and challenging integrated systems for clients across the UK, The Thompson team cover everything from Fire Risk Assessments, integrated security systems and high speed data networks to high end building automation, unified communications and audio visual suites.