Artificial intelligence is reshaping facilities management

July 15, 2019

Many of the artificial intelligence products in facility management are software-based, and, as a Brookings Institution article puts it: “‘make decisions which normally require [a] human level of expertise’ and help people anticipate problems or deal with issues as they come up.” 

This idea reflects the goal of commercially available products that make buildings more efficient and operationally sound, according to an article from Building Operating Management on the FacilitiesNet website.

It’s important for facility leaders to understand AI and how it can impact their operations. The McKinsey Global Institute estimates that by 2030, AI will deliver $13 trillion in additional economic output worldwide. To put this in perspective, the value of U.S. commercial real estate is estimated at $15 trillion. 

There have been some high-profile examples of AI in building management. Google announced in 2018 that it was using AI to manage cooling at some of its data centers. The software had been operating for a few years, adjusting cooling in real time, without human intervention. 

Google reported that it had saved 40 percent on energy use in these cooling systems. Data centers are a particularly good candidate for AI because the cooling demands are high and the risks of not providing enough conditioned air have an extremely detrimental impact on computing performance. And these performance impacts are quantifiable and immediately clear. 

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Topic Area: Information Technology


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