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Smart Farnek launches HITEK solution 4.0

DUBAI, UAE, 11 July 2021: UAE-based smart and green facilities management (FM) company, Farnek, today unveiled its new 24/7 command and control room, located in Farnek Village, the company’s new staff accommodation centre in Jebel Ali.

L-R: Markus Oberlin; Khaldun Aburok, Director of Business Development, Farnek; Javeria Aijaz; and H.E. Frank Eggmann

Making the announcement through a Press release, Farnek said that through its 5G and Wi-Fi 6-enabled, operational ‘nerve centre’, it will be able to take advantage of increased bandwidth, ultra-low latency and enhanced security, to connect assets from multiple sites, so that they can be centrally monitored and managed.

This, Farnek said, will allow it to rollout connected and transformative applications of technology that not only uplift the face of FM digitalisation but also offer enhanced efficiency. This is achieved through the concept of a digitally connected workforce and customers, to its in-house stream of technically advanced and cost-effective solutions, utilising the Internet of Things (IoT), Cloud, Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) based technologies, amongst others, the company said.

Following a tour of Farnek Village and the inauguration of its command and control room, H.E. Frank Eggmann, Consul General of Switzerland to Dubai said: “I was particularly impressed with the innovative approach Farnek has taken by developing its own in-house ‘Swiss made’ technology. Equally impressive is the way this is being utilised, which will not only improve cost-efficiency but also has staff welfare and sustainability at its core. This is an excellent example of Swiss state-of-the-art technology at its very best.”

According to Farnek, beyond operational efficiencies and sustainability, its HITEK solution 4.0 will save its customers significant amounts of money. The company said it has estimated that it can save up to 17% in manpower costs after traditional FM operational management has been transferred to HITEK’s smart management.

In addition, through IoT sensors, there is also the massive benefit of predictive and proactive maintenance, which can reduce downtime and improve the lifecycle of assets, facilitating remote monitoring with a fully connected and mobile workforce, Farnek said.

Markus Oberlin, CEO, Farnek, said: “In the case of manhours, a centralised system can manage multiple sites, whereas operating a traditional Building Management System (BMS) could well require a series of operators in each building. In addition, they may not be experts in every aspect of facilities management and probably will not have the advantage of benchmarking property performance.”

So far, Farnek said, its in-house technology team has developed initiatives, such as a smart washroom, wearable technology, eProcurement, telematic solutions, facial recognition as well as benchmarking and forecasting software to make buildings more sustainable.

Oberlin said: “As the technical specifications of 5G continue to evolve and expand that will capture and encourage even more advanced IoT and AI applications, which could start to become a reality, next year. So, we want to be ready to capitalise on these market opportunities, just as soon as the technology and connectivity is available.

“It is certainly going to take remote FM work to a whole new elevated level, enabling technicians to carry out tasks in either virtual reality or augmented reality environments, which are absolutely ideal for training purposes as well.”

According to Farnek, standalone 5G deployment consists of user equipment – the RAN and NR interface – and the 5G core network, which relies on a service-based architecture framework with virtualised network functions. Network functions that usually operate on hardware, become virtualised and actually run as software, the company said.

Javeria Aijaz, Senior Director – Technology & Innovations, Farnek, said: “We have managed to develop our own 5G network infrastructure-based intelligent and connected platforms, which has its own cloud-native network core, which connects 5G New Radio (NR) technology, and non-standalone (NSA) infrastructures, which still partially rely on existing 4G LTE infrastructure.

“Until Etisalat and Du are able to build out the independent infrastructure needed for 5G, our approach uses a combination of 5G Radio Access Network (RAN), 5G NR interface, and existing LTE infrastructure and core network to provide a 5G-like experience.”

LightAir says subscription strategy is yielding results

STOCKHOLM, Sweden, 12 June 2021: LightAir said its strategic focus on sales of air purification to offices and schools in Sweden is continuing to yield results. The LightAir Health+ offer provides clean, virus-free air and is offered in Sweden primarily as a subscription service, it said, adding that the number of subscriptions is growing continuously, rising from about 60, last summer, and soon likely to exceed 300.

The positive market reception in Sweden is exemplified by how Enskilda Gymnasiet – an independent secondary school in operation for over 100 years – is now expanding its two subscriptions to 30, LightAir said. The school carried out a six-month evaluation, which documented how individuals with asthma and allergies experienced relief from problems and that other students and teachers experienced improved air quality, LightAir said. Evaluation comments mentioned reduced fatigue, improved concentration and less drowsiness, it added.

“We are located in central Stockholm and are aware that we operate in an environment that is particularly exposed to traffic pollution,” said Jonas Persson, Project Manager, Enskilda Gymnasiet. “It’s important that students can stay healthy, cope with the school day and don’t get fatigued by bad air. It’s especially important that they are alert when final exams roll around. Students with pollen allergies are prone to tire easily and perform poorly.”

According to LightAir, Enskilda Gymnasiet is now installing a total air purification capacity of over 20,000 cubic metres per hour, along with a corresponding virus inhibitor capacity. Subsequent to the sale of the purifiers, the service will be delivered in the form of a three-year subscription, LightAir said.

According to LightAir, its Health+ subscription offer is the most comprehensive service offer available and was established in the Swedish domestic market in 2020. The offer has since been awarded the International Facility Management Association’s Nordic Innovation Prize, not least since it has the distinction of being able to destroy viruses while they’re still airborne, the company said.

“More and more businesses and organizations are opening their eyes to the challenges of indoor air,” said Joakim Hansson, Business Area Manager, LightAir. “This is also shown concretely by how we expanded our subscription base from 5 to 60 last summer, and from 60 to 160 by year end. This summer we have high hopes of reaching our goal of 300 Swedish subscriptions.”

Added Lars Liljeholm, CEO, LightAir: “We see that our strategic plan is promising and starting to bear fruit, while we have a long way to go with stimulating challenges ahead of us. We will become increasingly better at utilizing the competitive advantages we have in the nascent corporate market, not least in terms of purification efficiency and noise levels, as well as with an attractive and trouble-free subscription offer. Professional solutions will be the engine of our future growth. Through an increasingly successful domestic market, we are laying the foundation for establishment in selected international markets.

“We are in the middle of the demanding – but enjoyable – work of building a leading position in the commercial segment. Initially, the new strategy will affect sales when we change our revenue model, but in the long run, this will be crucial for the company and value creation for our owners. With that said, the consumer market will still be an important part of the future LightAir we are now building, which is why we have also recruited cutting-edge expertise and are continuously developing our international ventures and e-commerce.”

Belimo announces webinar to launch integrated thermal energy management solutions

DANBURY, Connecticut, 14 May 2021: Belimo said it will be introducing a new era of integrated thermal energy management, through a webinar at 8am (Eastern Time) on June 10Thursday, June 10, 2021 @ 9:00 AM (ET).

According to Belimo, its technology experts will use practical examples to show how its new device will increase energy efficiency and reduce operating costs. The webinar, Belimo said, is geared for individuals within the HVAC industry; building technology, building automation, general contractors/investors, consulting engineers, system integrators, installers/plant engineers, building owners, facility managers/building maintenance and OEMs. Belimo said it will unveil and demonstrate the new integrated thermal energy device and provide in-depth conversation with developers, experts, customers and partners.

This new innovation, Belimo said, marks its commitment to bring more sustainability into buildings while optimizing energy efficiency throughout the HVAC system.

ASHRAE To host Tech Hour on building commissioning

ATLANTA, Georgia, 1 April 2021: ASHRAE premiered ‘Tech Hour #3: Commissioning’. It is presented by Jay Enck, Co-Founder and Chief Technical Officer of Commissioning, Green Building Solutions, Inc. and Reinhard Seidl, Principal, Taylor Engineering LLP, ASHRAE said.

The Tech Hour series, ASHRAE said, provides relevant technical content in the form of one-hour videos to members and interested individuals through the ASHRAE 365 app.

The third in the series will analyze the impact of climate change and evolving technology on commissioning of new and existing buildings, ASHRAE said. Viewers will learn about evaluating building characteristics and usage patterns that affect building energy footprint and occupant productivity, in addition to data presentation and communications to facility managers and O&M staff, it added.

According to ASHRAE, viewer learning points include:

  • Understanding why commissioning existing building stock is so important.
  • Important steps to reducing energy consumption.
  • How new technologies help in implementing higher systems efficiency and ongoing Cx with cloud-based documentation methods and energy monitoring.

According to ASHRAE, one PDH will be available to viewers upon completion of a survey link in ASHRAE 365. Due to the cancellation of many in-person ASHRAE Chapter meetings and the DL program, the PDH period for Tech Hours has been extended through June 30, 2021, ASHRAE added.

To view ASHRAE Tech Hour videos, ASHRAE suggested downloading ASHRAE 365 on the App Store or Google Play.

ASHRAE Epidemic Task Force releases updated Building Readiness Guide

ATLANTA, Georgia, 02 February 2021: With the performance of many HVAC systems in buildings still being evaluated, the ASHRAE Epidemic Task Force has updated its reopening guidance for HVAC systems to help mitigate the transmission of SARS-CoV-2, ASHRAE said through a Press release.

“The Building Readiness Guide includes additional information and clarifications to assist designers and commissioning providers in performing pre- or post-occupancy flush calculations to reduce the time and energy to clear spaces of contaminants between occupancy periods,” said Wade Conlan, Lead, ASHRAE Epidemic Task Force Building Readiness team. “New information includes the theory behind the use of equivalent outdoor air supply, method for calculating the performance of filters and air cleaners in series, and filter droplet nuclei efficiency that help evaluate the systems’ ability to flush the building.”

According to ASHRAE, major updates to the building readiness guidance include the following:

  • Pre- or post-flushing strategy methodology: The strategy has been updated to include the use of filter droplet nuclei efficiency, which is the overall efficiency of filter, based on viable virus particle sizes in the air, to assist in determining the impact of the filter on the recirculated air on the equivalent outdoor air. This allows the filter efficiency as a function of particle size, using ASHRAE Standard 52.2 test results, to be estimated based on the expected size distribution of virus-containing particles in the air. This calculation is currently based on Influenza A data and will be updated as peer-reviewed research becomes available for the distribution of particle sizes that contain a viable SARS-CoV-2 virus. Additionally, a chart has been added to help determine the time to achieve 90%, 95% or 99% contaminant reduction, if the equivalent outdoor air changes per hour is known.
  • Flushing time calculator: There is now a link to a view-only Google Sheet that can be downloaded for use, to help determine the available equivalent outdoor air changes and time to perform the flush. This sheet is based on a typical mixed AHU with filters, cooling coil, with potential for in-AHU air cleaner (UVC is noted in the example), and in-room air cleaning devices. Provided efficiencies of MERV-rated filters are based on the performance of over 200 actual filters from MERV 4 through 16, but the tool also allows users to enter custom characteristics for specific filters.
  • The sheet also calculates the filter droplet nuclei efficiency, based on the cited research but allows a user to adjust the anticipated distribution of virus, as desired. It also allows specification of the zone (room) air distribution effectiveness from ASHRAE Standard 62.1 to account for the impact of the HVAC system air delivery method on the degree of mixing. Default calculations assume perfect mixing. Finally, the tool allows for the target air changes to be adjusted if an owner wants to achieve a different per cent removal in lieu of the recommended 95%. 
  • Heating season guidance: The guide now includes data to consider for heating of outdoor air and the potential impact on pre-heat coils in systems.
  • Adjustments to align with Core Recommendations: The Core Recommendations were released in January 2021, and this guidance document needed to be updated to ensure that the information provided aligned with the intent of those recommendations. This included minimum outdoor air supply and filter efficiency requirements and their role in an equivalent outdoor air supply-based risk mitigation strategy.

According to ASHRAE, the guidance still addresses the tactical commissioning and systems analysis needed to develop a Building Readiness Plan, increased filtration, air cleaning strategies, domestic and plumbing water systems, and overall improvements to a system’s ability to mitigate virus transmission.

Eltizam offers FM services to Emirates Down Syndrome Association

DUBAI, UAE, 24 January 2021: As part of its ‘Get Wonky’ culture to make an impact on the communities it serves, Eltizam Asset Management Group has partnered with the Emirates Down Syndrome Association (EDSA) in Dubai for a corporate social responsibility (CSR) programme aimed at enhancing the environment for learning and development of children of determination with Down Syndrome, while also helping EDSA reduce its carbon footprint.

Making the announcement through a Press release, Eltizam said the initiative seeks to provide a range of facilities management services to EDSA through its subsidiary, Tafawuq Facilities Management, which include providing water-efficient washbasin faucets equipped with sensors; servicing of all air conditioning units; and the cleaning of external glass, play areas and car parking shades. These maintenance services will further help EDSA reduce its carbon footprint based on Tafawuq’s energy-saving tools and equipment. Eltizam said.

Chris Roberts, CEO, Eltizam Asset Management Group, said: “Eltizam continues to support organizations that help promote inclusion through our CSR programs, which is one of the tenets of our Get Wonky culture. We believe that supporting the Emirates Down Syndrome Association in their activities will enhance the growth and development of people with Down Syndrome and contribute to the organization’s goals of improving social equity in the UAE.”

Doctor Manal Jaroor, Chairwoman, EDSA, commented: “The Emirates Down Syndrome Association always welcomes individuals and organizations keen to support the association’s cause to serve people and children with Down Syndrome and give them a fair opportunity to advance in life. We are thankful to Eltizam’s assistance in enhancing our facilities through their high-quality services, which enable everyone who come to our center to safely engage in all activities.”

Facilio-led conference highlights challenges related to digitalisation in FM

The challenge faced by FM companies after having adopted digitalisation, in an attempt to establish measurable value and return on investments (ROI) was one of the key points of a panel discussion during Future Proof, a conference Dubai-based Facilio hosted on March 14 at the Palace Down Town in Dubai.

FM professionals in the region attended the conference. The panelists in the discussion included Fahad Mohamed, Technical Head FM, Deyaar Properties; Andrea Deutschbein, Director FM, EMAAR Malls Group; Stephen Hayes, Head of Facilities and Engineering (MENA), Marriott International and Sangeetha B, Deputy CEO, Al Fajer Facilities Management.

L to R: Prabhu Ramachandran, Founder and CEO, Facilio; Sangeetha B, Deputy CEO, Al Fajer Facilities Management; Stephen Hayes, Head of Facilities and Engineering (MENA); Andrea Deutschbein, Director FM, EMAAR Malls Group, Fahad Mohamed, Technical Head FM, Deyaar Properties

While moderating the discussion, Prabhu Ramachandran, Founder and CEO, Facilio, said: “Today, there is disparity, where few companies are highly digitised, while others are still on paper.” The ultimate digitalisation for real-estate, he said, is when you are able to monitor what’s happening in your building while being placed anywhere in the world.

Sharing her experience on how Al Fajer FM has embraced digitalisation, Sangeetha, said, “Technology has a large part to play in every organisation, and it also a part of our strategy.” Embracing technology, she added, enables FM companies to offer a comprehensive range of solutions. However, one challenge faced is that technology is not being readily accepted by clients as they don’t always see the value and are just looking at the cost factor, she added. “What needs to be understood,” she added, “is the ROI will come after six months to a year, post the adoption of technology.”

Prabhu Ramachandran, Founder and CEO, Facilio

Sharing his experience, Hayes said: “We started adopting technology around 16 to 17 years ago and over the years.” We had all the activities in a single tool and would do quarterly reports with real-time reporting, he said. Highlighting the present situation on how the companies use dashboards to give cue into each of the properties throughout the world, he added, “Today, I can click into the property and drill down into the technician working on each property.” For the last three years, he said, we have got into measuring and using QR codes, Wi-Fi and real-time data, which enables us to monitor 250 properties across the Middle East region.

While the overall sentiment on the adoption of technology was positive, Mohamed highlighted that the main challenge was getting the buy-in from stakeholders. “There is a lot of technology available in the market; however, the challenge is in proving to the customer that it will be an added value,” he said. Elaborating, Sangeetha also pointed to a missing link in the adoption of technology in FM and said: “FM is a strategic player; however, what’s missing is that the client has to understand that adopting technology will be a value-add.” Echoing the thought was Deutschbein. She said: “FM is a big player, from both the client’s side and the service provider’s side.” The cost, she said, is always going to be a factor; however, we cannot cost cut for the sake of it, and standards cannot be compromised on.”

Pointing to personal experience, Mohamed added that in the year 2013, the company started off by connecting buildings to a system, which was remarkable. Utilising it, he said, helped remove BMS operators. The site, he added, is remotely monitored. As a result, he said, it also led to data collection. As if echoing Mohamed, Sangeetha said: “The adoption of technology has shifted focus to data collection, and I cannot stress enough on the importance of collecting data.” Elaborating on how it helps with any kind of analysis, she said, “Data helps in improving our services and will help study the ROI.”  Elaborating on how Marriott International has been outsourcing the technology within the scope of FM to different teams, Hayes said, “Even our sub-contractors make use of technology, and we train them on how to use the tool.”

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