Stuart O'Brien, Author at Facilities Management Forum | Forum Events Ltd
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Stuart O'Brien

ANTI-INTRUDER MONTH: How AI is assisting FMs to keep buildings secure

The security of commercial properties is a paramount concern for many FMs. With the advent of artificial intelligence (AI), there has been a paradigm shift in how security is managed and maintained in these spaces. AI is not only redefining current security protocols, but also paving the way for future advancements, as we explore here…

Current Applications of AI in Commercial Property Security

At present, one of the most significant applications of AI in commercial property security is in surveillance and monitoring. AI-powered CCTV systems are capable of real-time monitoring, providing facilities managers with instant alerts on unusual activities or security breaches. Unlike traditional surveillance systems that require constant human monitoring, AI systems can analyse vast amounts of video data, identify patterns, and detect anomalies with greater accuracy and efficiency.

Another area where AI is making a substantial impact is access control. Biometric systems, such as facial recognition and fingerprint scanning, have become more sophisticated with the integration of AI. These systems offer a higher level of security than traditional keycard systems, as they are harder to falsify and provide detailed data on entry and exit times, enhancing the ability to track movements within the property.

Predictive Analytics and Threat Assessment

AI is also playing a crucial role in predictive analytics and threat assessment. By analysing historical data, AI algorithms can predict potential security threats and vulnerabilities, allowing facilities managers to take proactive measures to mitigate risks. This predictive capability is especially valuable in anticipating and preventing crimes like break-ins or vandalism.

Future of AI in Commercial Property Security

Looking to the future, the potential of AI in commercial property security is vast. One area of development is the integration of AI with the Internet of Things (IoT). As commercial properties become more connected, AI can manage and secure a network of IoT devices, from smart locks to heating systems, ensuring comprehensive security that extends beyond just physical surveillance.

Another futuristic application is the use of AI-powered security robots. These robots can patrol properties, provide surveillance, and even interact with employees and visitors, offering a new level of security presence that is both efficient and cost-effective.

Challenges and Considerations

While AI presents numerous opportunities for enhancing security, it also poses challenges. Privacy concerns, particularly in the use of surveillance technologies, are paramount. Facilities managers must ensure that the implementation of AI in security respects privacy laws and ethical standards. Additionally, there is the challenge of keeping up with rapid technological advancements and ensuring that security staff are adequately trained to work alongside AI systems.

AI is revolutionising the way facilities managers approach security in commercial properties. From advanced surveillance and access control to predictive analytics and the potential for IoT and security robots, AI is providing more efficient, accurate, and sophisticated security solutions. As this technology continues to evolve, it will undoubtedly play an increasingly integral role in the security strategies of commercial properties, offering enhanced protection, efficiency, and peace of mind for both facilities managers and property occupants.

Are you assessing Anti-Intruder and Security solutions for your organisation? The Facilities Management Forum can help!

Photo by Christina @ on Unsplash

MAP seeks optimal energy performance for commercial buildings with new Framework

The Managing Agents Partnership (MAP) has launched a transformative Managing for Performance Framework to drive optimal in-use energy performance of commercial buildings.

The Framework recognises the pivotal role that the property management industry plays in championing energy performance and fostering collaboration among property owners, facilities managers, occupiers, and suppliers.

Focusing particularly on multi-let offices, the Managing for Performance Framework has been designed in three key stages, offering practical guidance on: (1) assessing a buildings current performance relative to industry benchmarks and its own specification, (2) enhancing the management and operational aspects of a building for optimal energy performance, and (3) maintaining and achieving peak in-use performance, with a focus on identifying areas for strategic focus and investment to enhance building efficiency.

Designed to increase professional understanding, the Framework links to other BBP guidance including the BBP Responsible Property Management Toolkit, which offers additional practical guidance on embedding sustainability within property management.

The Framework has been co-created by the industry, for the industry, via a working group made up of MAP, BBP Members and technical experts to drive optimal in-use performance and reduce associated emissions. The BBP invites commercial real estate professionals to explore this framework to unlock the in-use energy performance potential of buildings under their management.

Sarah Ratcliffe, CEO of the Better Buildings Partnership said: “One of our key aims at the BBP is to develop common approaches, stimulating the property industry to deliver buildings that perform better. We are therefore delighted to launch the Managing for Performance Framework to the industry. By providing a structured approach and actionable steps, we hope this Framework will empower property managers to narrow the divide between the expected and actual in-use energy performance of buildings they manage.”

Vicky Cotton, ESG Director at Workman, Chair of the BBP’s Managing Agents Partnership, and Co-Chair of the Managing for Performance Working Group said: “The launch of the Managing for Performance Framework marks a significant milestone for the Managing Agents Partnership. There has been a growing need for guidance that can credibly support property managers in closing the performance in-use gap, so we are thrilled to have launched a Framework designed to meet that demand.”

Carl Brooks, Global Head of ESG – Property Management at CBRE and Co-Chair of the Managing for Performance Working Group said: “Property owners are increasingly setting targets for the energy performance of their assets linked to wider ambitions toward net zero. We hope this Framework provides Property Managers with practical guidance on how to assess building performance today, and clarity around where investment is needed to drive energy reduction and efficiency aligned with those ambitions.”

Photo by Sean Pollock on Unsplash

COP 28 likely to be little more than a climate crisis ‘talking shop’ for big business

This year’s Conference of the Parties (COP 28) may not match the positive momentum in the tech sector, a leader in fulfilling environmental, social, and governance (ESG) commitments. In fact, it is anticipated to be more of a talking shop, according to analysts GlobalData.

COP 28 is being held in Dubai from 30 November to 12 December, some 75,000 dignitaries, climate scientists, politicians, business leaders, and the world’s press will gather to discuss about addressing the growing climate crisis affecting the planet.

Since COP 27, the planet has grown hotter and climate-related disasters have become more prevalent around the globe, with countries across every continent suffering extreme floods, droughts, wildfires, and more. Recently, the UN stated that global warming is on track to increase by as much as 2.9C above pre-industrial levels.

While governments are tending to prevaricate and postpone, companies across the tech sector are accelerating the timing of their commitments to net zero.

Robert Pritchard, Principal Analyst at GlobalData, explained: “The tech sector has been a leader in efforts to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This has been driven by the power of customer, investor, and talent demand on the pull side. On the push side, great strides have been made from making equipment, services, and operations more efficient and environmentally friendly.”

In the broader market outside of tech, progress has been made with improvements in using renewable energy, as well as with advances in carbon capture. Recycling and a rise in the circular economy are also making great progress.

Pritchard concluded: “The tech sector is not only cleaning up its own act, but also actively contributing to resolving climate change. New ways of working facilitated by services like unified communications, multiple specific niche propositions such as optimizing water usage in agriculture with IoT and optimizing data center efficiency through hyperscaler economies of scale, mean that the tech sector can drive forward the digital economy while also making a substantial contribution to efforts to fight the climate crisis.”

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Do you specialise in Fire & Safety Equipment? We want to hear from you!

Each month on FM Briefing we’re shining the spotlight on a different part of the facilities management market – and in December we’ll be focussing on Fire & Safety Equipment.

It’s all part of our ‘Recommended’ editorial feature, designed to help FM industry buyers find the best products and services available today.

So, if you specialise in Fire & Safety Equipment and would like to be included as part of this exciting new shop window, we’d love to hear from you – for more info, contact Paige Aitken on

Here’s our full features list:

Dec – Fire & Safety Equipment
Jan 24 – Health & Safety
Feb 24 – Building Maintenance & Refurbishment
March 24 – Cleaning
Apr 24 – Total FM
May 24 – Energy Management
Jun 24 – Physical Security
July 24 – Air Conditioning
Aug 24 – Waste Management
Sep 24 – Asset Management
Oct 24 – FM Software
Nov 24 – Intruder & Alarm Systems

IWFM signs Armed Forces Covenant to help former servicepeople find careers in FM

The Institute of Workplace and Facilities Management (IWFM) has signed up to the Armed Forces Covenant, the nation’s promise to active personnel, veterans and their families that they will be treated fairly.

For IWFM, it represents an opportunity to welcome current and former servicepeople into workplace and facilities management, advocate for their interests in the sector and offer the chance to upskill and reskill.

In addition to upholding the Covenant’s principles, IWFM commits to ‘‘upholding the Armed Forces Covenant and support the Armed Forces Community” and to “recognise the contribution that Service personnel, both regular and reservist, veterans and military families make to our organisation, our community and to the country.”

Earlier this year, IWFM established the Veterans in FM network, which helps inform its approach to veterans and making FM a career of choice for current and former servicepeople. The network’s new committee is working on initiatives to engage with the veterans community, including outreach events, plus schemes yet to be revealed.

Welcoming the announcement, Chair of the Veterans in FM Network, Louisa Clarke, stated: “At IWFM, we recognise the massive contribution that active servicepeople and veterans have made to our country. We feel it’s vital to support the community, their families and always stand up for their interests. As a reflection of that, we are proud to sign the Armed Forces Covenant and launch initiatives to truly live up to this commitment.

“We view active servicepeople and veterans as a rich pool of talent for workplace and facilities management; selfless, dedicated and detail-orientated are just some of the qualities we see on a day-to-day basis. At the same time, we’re keen to promote the profession as a career of choice for active and former servicepeople as they transition to civilian life.

“With a range of job roles available, many opportunities to upskill and reskill and the ability to draw on prior professional experience, we hope to benefit current and former servicepeople while enhancing the sector.”

CEO Linda Hausmanis said: “Today marks a special occasion for IWFM. After the nation paid tribute to the veterans community on Remembrance Day, we’re proud to demonstrate our commitment to current and active servicepeople, and their families, for the time to come. Having recently established the Veterans in FM network, we’re continually looking for new ways to empower the veterans community, primarily by creating career paths in workplace and facilities management. We want to ensure the sector is welcoming, supportive and makes best use of veterans’ talents and work ethic. Concurrently, we can show veterans the rich opportunities that are available in the sector and offer them the resources they need to prosper.”

If you would like to connect with other armed forces veterans in the workplace and facilities management profession and keep updated on our Network’s progress, please register your interest here.

Virtual power plants ‘gaining momentum’ for optimal energy management

Virtual power plants (VPPs), functioning as cloud-enabled distributed energy systems, represent a pragmatic approach to innovating the energy landscape. By facilitating the seamless integration of renewable energy with advanced digital technologies, VPPs are increasingly becoming popular as an intelligent solution to the complex issues of energy management and distribution.

That’s according to Kiran Raj, Practice Head of Disruptive Tech at GlobalData, who said: “VPPs are fundamentally changing the way we manage energy. Integrating smart grid technologies with advancements in IoT and cloud computing, they are not just distributing energy, but intelligently aligning supply with demand in real-time. This revolutionizes our approach to managing renewable energy fluctuations, stabilizes the grid, and expands access, setting the stage for a future where sustainable, reliable energy is widely accessible for diverse communities.”

VPPs are redefining energy management and sustainability, as seen in Tesla’s recent Puerto Rico project, which integrates energy storage and solar systems for grid stability and sustainable energy.

GlobalData’s Disruptor Intelligence Center cites significant VPP advancements, including Tesla in South Australia, SunRun in California, and Sonnen Group in Germany, showcasing a global trend in innovative energy solutions.

In 2023, the US backed VPPs with a $3 billion federal loan and state-level integrations for grid modernization, promising enhanced energy efficiency and significant cost savings.

Raj concluded: “VPPs have evolved far beyond a passing trend in the dynamic energy landscape. Their role in meticulously merging renewable energy with the latest digital and smart grid innovations is central to fostering a sustainable energy environment. However, as we navigate this transition, continued innovation, regulatory support, and addressing scalability challenges will be crucial to fully realize the potential of VPPs.”

Photo by Jeroen van de Water on Unsplash

ANTI-INTRUDER MONTH: How modern alarm systems help FM operations

Commercial intruder alarm systems have undergone significant technological advancements, helping to reshape key aspects of facilities management operations. The integration of innovative technologies, heightened security concerns, and a push towards smarter, more integrated building management systems have been key drivers of this change. Here, we explore the recent trends in commercial intruder alarm systems and their influence on facilities management…

One of the most significant trends is the shift towards intelligent, interconnected alarm systems. Modern intruder alarms are no longer standalone systems; they are part of a comprehensive security solution that integrates with other building management systems.

This integration allows for a more holistic approach to security and building management. For instance, an intruder alarm system can now interface with access control and CCTV surveillance systems, providing facilities managers with a unified view of security operations.

The use of wireless technology in intruder alarms represents another major advancement. Wireless systems offer greater flexibility in installation, especially in buildings where wiring is impractical or disruptive. For facilities managers, this means easier system deployment and less downtime for installation or maintenance.

Additionally, wireless systems often allow for easy scalability, making them suitable for a wide range of commercial properties, from small offices to large complexes.

Advancements in sensor technology have also been pivotal. Modern sensors used in intruder alarms are more accurate and less prone to false alarms, a long-standing challenge in alarm management. These sophisticated sensors can differentiate between routine movements and potential security breaches, thereby increasing system reliability. Improved sensor technology also means that facilities managers can customise alarm systems to suit specific site needs, enhancing overall security effectiveness.

The integration of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning is revolutionising intruder alarm systems. AI-powered systems can analyse large volumes of data to identify unusual patterns or activities that may indicate a security threat. For facilities managers, this translates to proactive security measures, with the ability to anticipate and respond to incidents before they escalate.

Another key trend is the increasing use of mobile and cloud-based technologies. Facilities managers can now monitor and control alarm systems remotely using smartphones or tablets. This remote accessibility ensures that they can respond promptly to alarms, regardless of their physical location. Cloud-based systems also facilitate data storage and accessibility, making it easier to retrieve and analyse security data for informed decision-making.

Sustainability is also becoming a consideration in the design and operation of intruder alarm systems. Energy-efficient models and systems that minimise environmental impact align with the broader sustainability goals of facilities management.

The more recent trends in commercial intruder alarm systems have significantly influenced facilities management operations in the UK. The move towards more intelligent, integrated, and user-friendly systems has not only enhanced security capabilities but also streamlined the management of commercial properties. As technology continues to advance, it is likely that intruder alarm systems will become even more sophisticated, playing a central role in the comprehensive security and operational strategy of facilities management.

Are you assessing Anti-Intruder and Security solutions for your organisation? The Facilities Management Forum can help!

Photo by Collin on Unsplash

Need Energy Management solutions for 2024? FM Forum Recommended Supplier Directory can help!

Looking for a new Energy Management supplier for your building, venue, school or company? The FM Forum Recommended Supplier Directory is home to dozens of trusted partners ready to help make your project a reality!

Put simply, there’s something to suit every requirement.

Start Your Search Now

Are you an FM supplier? Get listed!

The FM Forum Recommended Supplier Directory is the perfect platform to raise your organisation’s profile and extend your reach.

Promoted via the FM Briefing newsletter, website and our renowned meet-the-buyer facilities events – this digital FM directory offers a comprehensive list of industry solution leaders.

Click Here To Get Listed!

Or, for more information, please contact Paige Aitken on 01992 374079 or


Facilities Management Forum: Are you registered for January’s big event?

You are invited to attend the first Facilities Management Forum of 2024, which will provide you with a rare full working day of industry networking, learning and connection building – Register today!

Taking place on 22nd & 23rd of January 2024, at the Radisson Blu Hotel, London Stansted Airport, this unique event will give you the opportunity to meet with new suppliers who can help with your upcoming plans and projects.

And what’s more, your pass will be fully funded by us to attend as our guest, which includes:

Your own personalised itinerary of 1-2-1 meetings with industry leading suppliers.

  • A seat at our insightful seminar sessions, led by industry thought leaders
  • Overnight accommodation at the venue
  • Complimentary meals and refreshments provided throughout the two days
  • Multiple networking opportunities with fellow facilities management professionals
  • Personalised attendance options to suit your schedule
  • An invitation to our evening networking gala dinner with a showcase of entertainment

Click Here To Register

Anti-intruder and alarm systems: A guide to scoping requirements

For Facilities Managers, safeguarding the physical assets and ensuring the safety of the personnel within their premises is a top priority. Commercial anti-intruder and alarm systems are crucial elements in a comprehensive security strategy. Here are top tips for selecting the right systems, based on input from delegates and suppliers at the Facilities Management Forum…

1. Risk Assessment First: Begin with a thorough risk assessment of your facilities. Identify potential security breaches and evaluate the level of risk for different areas. This will help determine the type of alarm system that is needed, whether it’s perimeter detection, motion sensors, or glass break detectors.

2. Integration Capabilities: Look for systems that can be integrated with your existing security measures, such as CCTV, access control systems, and fire safety alarms. Integration not only enhances security but also simplifies management and response to incidents.

3. Accreditation and Compliance: Ensure the systems you consider comply with UK standards such as BS EN 50131 or the equivalent European Standard EN 50131. Check if the providers are accredited by bodies like the Security Systems and Alarms Inspection Board (SSAIB) or the National Security Inspectorate (NSI).

4. User-Friendliness: While you want sophisticated systems, it’s important that they are user-friendly. Complex systems may lead to user errors, which can result in false alarms or security breaches due to improper use.

5. Response Options: Decide if you require a system that is monitored by an external company, which can provide police response, or if an audible-only alarm would suffice. Monitored systems offer an extra layer of security, as there will be a response even if the property is empty.

6. Deterrent Factor: Visible alarm systems can act as a deterrent to potential intruders. Consider systems that make it obvious that security measures are in place, such as bell boxes on the exterior of the building.

7. Maintenance and Support: Opt for systems that come with reliable support and maintenance services. Check the terms of service and ensure that you have access to prompt assistance in case of malfunctions or false alarms.

8. Scalability and Flexibility: The chosen system should be scalable to adapt to the changing needs of your facilities, such as expansions or layout changes. Look for systems that can be easily modified or upgraded.

9. Advanced Features: Consider systems with advanced features such as app integration, which allows you to monitor and control the alarm system remotely. Features like these can add to the effectiveness and convenience of managing facility security.

10. Cost Consideration: While budget is always a consideration, avoid selecting solely on cost. The cheapest option may not provide the best value. Consider the system’s reliability, the cost of ownership, and the potential costs of a security breach.

11. Professional Installation: Use professional installation services to ensure that the system is set up correctly. Poor installation can lead to vulnerabilities in your security strategy.

12. Consultation and Customisation: Work with a supplier who offers a consultation to understand your specific needs and can provide a tailored solution. Off-the-shelf products may not always suit the unique requirements of your facility.

By carefully considering these factors, Facilities Managers can select an anti-intruder and alarm system that effectively protects the organization’s assets and personnel. Remember, the goal is not just to respond to intrusions but to actively deter and prevent them.

Are you researching security systems for your organisation? The Facilities Management Forum can help!

Photo by Stoochi Lam on Unsplash