Chennai-based Facilio provides Artificial Intelligence (AI), and the Internet of Things (IoT) based real-time optimisation software that helps commercial real estate (CRE) owners and facility managers (FM) achieve operational efficiency and sustainability in one platform. “The advantages we offer in everyday operations translate into more viable business operations and enhanced bottomlines for all state-of-the-art real estate businesses,” says the company’s CEO and co-founder Prabhu Ramachandran in an exclusive interview with Sourcing Hardware
By Mrinmoy Bhattacharjee
What inspired you to set up Facilio?
Our core entrepreneurial group that gave rise to Facilio has always been passionate about using technology to solve problems. We were colleagues during our time with Zoho, the reputed Chennai-based software firm, when the basic idea for the Facilio solution took shape. We realised the possibilities for synergy between IoT and AI-enabled operations and the evolution of customer expectations from transactional to experience-led priorities. We were inspired by the success of Uber and Airbnb, which had redefined their respective industries, and realised that space existed for truly transformative solutions within the built environment as well. We set about to create a unified approach to facilities management that would eliminate inefficient operations, data silos and wasted energy. Automation within the industry was ad-hoc and lacking in agility. Right from our origins in 2017, it was apparent to us that we could harness AI and IoT to drive sustainable operational efficiency across CRE portfolios, and create a lasting impact on the way buildings are managed. So we started with gaining a deep understanding of market pain.
What are the tangible benefits that Facilio brings?
Traditional facilities management technology has existed as disconnected, disparate siloed systems, many times from a variety of vendors addressing specific aspects of building operations. Typically, this results in a multiplicity of systems and an inability to create efficiencies on a genuinely holistic basis across building functions and portfolios. Our solution leverages technology to help the built environment achieve continuous operational efficiency, at a single site as well as across entire real estate portfolios. As a SaaS solution that covers end-to-end building maintenance, operations, sustainability, and tenant experience, Facilio provides CRE owners and the FM industry with a much needed unified solution. We harness the connectivity and data generation of IoT and the interpretive ability of AI to deliver real operational transparency, empowered workforce teams, and an insight-driven and predictive maintenance model.
Facilio helps CREs save up to 30% in operating expenses. Poorly managed buildings not only increase opex costs; they negatively impact the value-perception of properties. Facilio’s IoT-enabled operations and energy intelligence help integrate asset and sustainability data in real-time, enabling multiple efficiencies. Facilio has been built keeping in mind the evolving market where customer experience is becoming a key differentiator; value-players are gaining an edge over the competition; and technology-led facilities are garnering greater ROI as providers of seamless convenience, efficiency and experience.
Can your system assist in streamlining the procurements for buildings?
Absolutely. Due to the enhanced transparency in processes that our solution can deliver, CRE owners and FMs can operate within a highly predictive model of operations. This extends to being able to anticipate procurement and inventory requirements as well. The ability to interpret extensive data, on an ongoing basis, empowers management decisions. Also, maintenance requirements become part of a repeatable and proactive system. At the same time, the Facilio solution allows every aspect of facilities management to be agile and flexible so any unexpected faults and compromised performance can be identified on the fly. Essentially, the entire spectrum of operations is available for monitoring and interpretation, allowing businesses the leeway to quickly optimise the procurement of resources.
What are your growth drivers?
The CRE industry is highly commoditised and competitive. In such a dynamic market, any delays or drop in return on investments can take a heavy toll on businesses. For instance, the simple metric of tenant retention is a mission-critical outcome over varying investment cycles. Our solution can help CRE owners deliver enhanced tenant experiences to ensure strong occupancy rates. International guidelines and ratings, such as ASHRAE and USGBC, are greatly facilitated by the integrated systems we can help create. Well-serviced buildings also positively impact the real and perceived value of properties. Legacy building automation solutions limit the extent to which CREs can leverage comparative benchmarking of metrics. Our software-led technology integrates distributed portfolios, as well as multiple FM vendors and Building Automation Systems (BAS).
Our primary growth driver is the far more empowered and enabled business model that our solution can deliver. For the cost of deployment, there is just no other enhancement of legacy FM business models that can produce as dramatic a positive impact. As concern over energy consumption and sustainability goals begins to drive changes in legislation, as well as evolution in public consciousness, our solution will help CRE owners and FMs continue to remain competitive, viable and future-ready.
What is your marketing strategy?
Fortunately, the industry we serve has embraced the solution very enthusiastically. CRE owners are responding organically to our product, but we are also engaging with the industry proactively. Whether events, webinars, thought leadership features or onsite client demos, we are leaving no stone unturned in educating the market and building awareness about the critical need for a software-led approach harnessing innovative technologies.
Another fundamental tenet of our marketing strategy has been involving the various stakeholders from our industry and inspiring discussions around the technology-led future of FM. It has become essential to include all stakeholders in such dialogue as traditional roles are today expanding and ownership of ROI, and service-led experiences are resting as much with FM’s as it is with the C-suite. And this strategy of co-creating a future by getting together industry experts, change makers and innovators on the same table has received a very positive response.
Further, rather than being satisfied with the strong early interest our product offering received, we are actively improving our machine learning infrastructure to enable even better predictive models and building on AI-driven RPA capabilities and unlocking more pain points based on experience and feedback. The additional funding $6.4 million we have attracted is allowing us to expand operations across the US, Middle East, and other territories. We are in the process of establishing regional sales and support offices to focus on customer success and partner training, as well as investing in R&D for product innovation.