In the latest instalment of our FM industry executive interview series, we spoke to Flexicount‘s Head of Technology & Operations, David Kennett, about the company, the challenges posed by COVID-19, new technology and industry opportunities…
Tell us about your company, products, and services
The Flexicount brand was created off the back of a request for a wireless battery-operated sensor to count visitors into washrooms, primarily in large office buildings.
Our parent company StoreTech has been providing footfall counting to the retail sector for over 22 years.
With Flexicount we were able to use our StoreTech experience of using the best-of-breed people counting technologies along with our knowledge of how to make visitor data actionable with our simple web portal and share it with a sector that is crying out for actionable data.
Delivering cleaning services to demand is just like scheduling staff to demand in retail and the only way to do this effectively is by using some form of people counters; therefore we developed our own low-cost usage sensor which provides dynamic updates throughout the day.
The system predicts more efficient cleaning schedules based upon usage and allows for live alerting and cleaner response times, so it improves service levels whilst simultaneously driving down costs.
The other smart building solution is an occupancy counter which is >99% accurate and ideal for managing a building, floor, or room capacity data. With thresholds, alerts, and digital displays the occupancy solution is ideal for the current social distancing laws and smart building data insight.
What are the biggest challenges the FM and cleaning industry will face over the next 12 months?
Developing an effective cleaning and disinfection programme is critical.
The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the need for smart technology to enhance cleaning operations and maintain social distancing.
Without usage or occupancy data, there is minimal understanding of the key metrics required to implement this and ensure employee safety.
With just a small proportion of the workforce heading back to the office, it’s imperative that FM companies are able to make data-driven decisions around occupancy or usage of facilities, in order to plan cleaning resources and safety precautions to their optimal level.
Cleaning to demand will be the new way of working to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 and ensure efficient cleaning and social distancing where required.
In 2022 we’ll all be talking about…
Hopefully, something other than COVID-19!!
Which person in, or associated with, the FM industry would you most like to meet?
Martin Pickard aka The FM Guru!
You go to the bar at the Facilities Management Summit – what’s your tipple of choice?
I have to admit I’m a lager-boy at heart – nothing too exotic! Maybe a Baileys before bed!
What’s the most exciting thing about your job?
Learning how advancements in technology year on year continue to expand the possibilities of smart tech into the workplace.
And what’s the most challenging?
In the IoT technology sector, new products are being prototyped all the time.
To be honest, they don’t always work first time as real-life environments can be very different from testing in laboratory conditions. So it is a challenge, but I do enjoy the ups and downs and the whole team strives to get over every hurdle until we have selected the best IoT products for each sector we work in.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Failure is good, if you recognise it, learn from it, be open about it, and strive to keep going forward.
Peaky Blinders or Stranger Things?