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Digital Revolution

In the 1980s, with the introduction of computers, a 4-day work week was envisaged in the future. Today enabled by technology, we are able and we need to compete globally. Your day may start with a 6 am call to Australia and a 10 pm call to America. Your new client in UAE may be emailed to you all Sunday (a working day for them). The 3-day weekend continues to be a dream.

In 50 years’ time, a far higher proportion of men and women will be executing tasks that require higher cognitive complexity. Our job titles will include analysis, knowledge, intelligence – all require a skill-set for deep thinking.

Coincidentally, the electronics and IT industry are also around 50 years today. The cost of the older components falls every 18 months. Taking its place, a pricier but twice more powerful component. We have gone through several phases from Centralized Computing required services, to distributed computing to now mobile computing. In the future, mobile computing will have evolved to include wearable technology that can be implanted into our bodies to supplement what our brains can hold and process.

Today, we are exploring automated and self-healing technologies. I believed these will be perfected over the next 50 years. The failed component can repair or replace itself without human intervention. The repository of applications, data and information complemented by complex analytical power will create a service recovery plan on their own as we see in cartoons.

By 2065, the digital revolution, currently in its infancy, would have matured. Many optimists predicted that computers will our 3-day weekend. Pessimists have predicted robotics will take over human’s menial jobs and create massive unemployment. They are wrong. Instead, the digital revolution will have enhanced our quality of life and competitiveness.

Facilities Management in 2065 in Singapore

The cost of computers, robotics and sensors have fallen rapidly in the 15 years of the 21st century. As a result, it has brought efficiency and effectiveness in the facilities management computerized management platform, linking up the supply chain of network service providers, a communication network that facilitates communication and a seamless financial system that facilitate transactions and payments. All these will have played out to Singapore’s strength as we embarked on the Smart Nation programme. Even with an older and ageing population, Singapore will remain as the leading FM practitioners in South East Asia.

Intelligent buildings will go beyond managing energy consumption or regulating cooling. Building Integrated Photovoltaics will generate enough energy to meet the building demand. Tenants and Visitors are recognized by biometric sensors and eliminate receptionist and guards issuing visitor passes –  a considered as a permanent fixture in all buildings at the turn of 21st century.

In a car-lite Singapore, travellators will take the place of roads. At ground level, all vehicles will use clean energy and fully automated. With a single keystroke on a handheld device, a driverless cab will appear within 15 mins. Making transportation the next big utility after water. Roadways are narrower, car parks are no longer required, more trees are planted providing more shade and lowering the temperature which in turns making less cooling in buildings possible.

Today, gardens that interspersed throughout floors in Green Mark buildings to provide shade and comfort. Innovations in LED lightings, climate controlled technology, advance in water recycling system will enable organic fruits and vegetables to be produced. With our advanced knowledge in digital control of complex processes, Singapore may be a brand name in organic farming.

Developing our people and ecosystem for the future

Recognising that people are the core source of strength in an FM company, we will have to continue to invest heavily in a comprehensive continuing education system. Deepening their multi-disciplinary skills that can be updated periodically so that our workforce can stay relevant in the face of change and competition.

The key pillars of Singapore success story based on corruption free, quality products and safety emphasis will further enhance our reputation both internationally and regionally. Labour cost will be insignificant in this business environment as quality and safety command a premium that can easily absorb our higher labour cost.

Written by: Ho Chee Kit
Senior Director at Cushman & Wakefield

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