Sustainable working and living environments are essential for boosting business performance and improving employee productivity. The complexity of the built environment makes it mandatory for organizations to strategically integrate people, places, processes and technology. Through facilities management, organizations can achieve full functionality of built spaces, improve comfort levels and boost workplace and residential safety.

With the spread of COVID-19, companies have been forced to change business execution procedures, with remarkable changes in daily routines. Abrupt realignment of resources and infrastructure continues to disrupt how security services are dispensed across facilities.Emerging trends in facilities management is spurring innovations, providing modern solutions that address recurring security challenges in diverse facilities.


1. IoT & Remote Monitoring

By 2025, the IoT sector is expected to have a market value of $11.1 trillion, with more devices gaining connectivity to the internet. With this transformation, sensors are becoming indispensable in addressing existing security challenges within facilities. Sensors collect and relay data in real time, facilitating remote monitoring of facilities.

Data collected by sensors is used by security professionals to remotely monitor security assets such as CCTV surveillance, protective barriers, locks or perimeter intrusion detectors. By extension, security professionals can establish physical locations of tagged property, providing additional security for highly sensitive equipment and infrastructure.

Modern access platforms are equipped with diverse alert systems that work in conjunction with threat suppression systems. For instance, smoke detectors, which are safety installations, are capable of activating fire suppression equipment, while at the same time unlocking all emergency exits to facilitate the safe evacuation of occupants. Through IoT platforms, security professionals can remotely verify the accuracy of security breaches before physically responding to them.


2. AI for Access

Robotics, artificial intelligence and augmented reality continue to change the manner in which individuals gain authorized access to workplaces. Integration of these technologies alongside near field technologies (NFT) has expedited verification processes and improved security within premises. Smart locks and barriers have continued to gain popularity across facilities, with the market segment expected to grow at an approximate CAGR of 15 percent until 2026.

Traditionally, verification of employee and visitor credentials would have required the physical presence of security professionals at key entry points of a facility. Currently, many organizations are banking on facial recognition technologies to accurately verify individuals, check validity of security passes and conduct full body security scans. Advanced wireless protocols and near field technologies are continuously changing how individuals gain access in and out of facilities. The need to physically station security guards at entrances and exits is slowly being taken over by automated systems which grant access to individuals who possess verifiable facility access credentials.


3. Drone Technologies

Drones have disrupted the way security teams monitor complex and large facilities. As drones continue to be commercially available and affordable, their roles in securing facilities amplify. Over the years, security guards have been involved in physical inspections, with individuals stationed at strategic locations throughout the day. Inspection of roofs, hazardous sites, high rise buildings and inaccessible locations has always been time consuming, exposing security teams to several risks.

Drone technology can provide alternative cost-conscious solutions to human security, with capabilities to operate for extended periods, covering larger locations at a time and storing huge amounts of data.

Through drone technology, security teams can acquire high quality imagery of hard or risky to access locations. The imagery is crucial in identifying potential security risks and addressing them promptly.


4. Data Security

Reliance on sensors has made it possible for security professionals to collect huge chunks of data which are analyzed to provide improved security solutions for diverse facilities. While technology integrations improve physical security, there are unlimited concerns over the privacy and security of personal data collected and stored by security systems.

Improving security within facilities requires organizations to focus on controlling multiple features within the built environment. Centralizing controls has led to the incorporation of diverse sensors and adoption of relevant software solutions that collect data needed to streamline security operations. Increasing the number of sensors and software solutions within facilities increases the vulnerability of organizations to cyber attacks and unforeseeable data breaches.

Advancing security systems demands that organizations improve data security protocols. It is imperative that security managers provide strict guidelines that govern the usage of data collection devices and utilization of collected data in an ethical manner that eliminates internal and external threats.


5. AI-Based Facilities Maintenance

Maintenance of security installations within facilities continues to rely on proactive strategies. Predictive maintenance is taking center stage as organizations move away from costly breakdown repairs. For maximum security within a facility, it is important that all remote monitoring and physical security installations are available around the clock. Security professionals are responsible for creating maintenance schedules for all security installations, in a manner that eliminates unnecessary downtime.

Sensors embedded on security equipment provide security professionals with sheer amounts of data, providing insights into actual operating conditions of equipment. Condition-based monitoring of security installations allows security professionals to lay down appropriate predictive maintenance strategies, with AI models predicting failure patterns and modes of security assets.

Digital transformations have given birth to new trends that have affected the way organizations manage facilities and adapt to continuous changes in workplace cultures. As organizations integrate new technology solutions, the roles of security professionals shift from operational to strategic. Security professionals are spending more time monitoring the security status of facilities on software interfaces as opposed to routine physical inspections.

Through innovations in security, organizations continue to improve employee experiences in a cost effective manner. Vast amounts of data collected and stored at any given time enables organizations to track all security incidents, providing enough information required to conduct facilities’ security audits.