How AR and VR Technologies are Changing Facility Management in Chicago


Most facility mechanical systems don’t operate out in the open where employees are performing office tasks, cooking food for patrons, or teaching classrooms. This machinery runs within walls, on top of buildings, and below the ground in utility tunnels. Access to pipe work, wiring, and other mechanical systems can be a troublesome experience for workers.

When a problem occurs, facility management has to spend large amounts of time locating the source of the issue before being able to implement a solution. Even when locating the system problem, it can be difficult to reach it in tight spaces.

Augmented Reality Helping Facility Managers Check the Health Status of Systems

Augmented reality (AR) involves the enhancement of the physical world for a person by using sensors, video, graphics, audio and data technologies. This enhancement can go beyond the person’s physical attributes so they can see and hear things in certain situations without being physically there. In the case of facility management, augmented reality technologies may be used in situations to check the health status of operating equipment.

Sensors inside machinery can be used to monitor working systems. A facility manager can access this information via a variety of technologies, from scanning a QR code on the outside of machinery to using sensor information from remote robots to stream real-time audio and video in tunnels. This data can provide an accurate snapshot of the current status of the mechanical system.

The facility manager can instantly analyze the information and determine areas of inefficiency in the system without ever opening up the equipment for a visual inspection. Then they can perform more preventive maintenance strategies or pinpoint the exact location of system failures so that maintenance crews can perform the right work in a timelier fashion.

Virtual Reality Allows Facility Managers to Safely Implement New System Processes

As for virtual reality (VR), this is a technology where a 3-dimensional environment is created through computer generation. and robots equipped with remote sensors. These 3D models can be used to understand the location of mechanical systems and how this equipment interacts with each other. Facility managers can use these 3D models to increase worker safety in underground utility tunnels where there may be hazardous and dangerous conditions.

In addition, virtual reality can also be used to determine how to retrofit and upgrade new equipment into existing systems. These 3D models can be altered to show where new equipment systems can be placed inside the building for maximum efficiency while wisely using available space. Also, simulations can be run to see how this new equipment may impact existing operations. The facility manager can make changes or take notes about possible issues that can be addressed before the new equipment is installed.

VR and AR Helping Facility Managers with Their Building Maintenance Tasks

Virtual reality and augmented reality are still technologies in their infancy, although they are rapidly making ground in a range of different industries — from aerospace to building construction. As more innovations are released featuring these systems, facility managers can analyze the ways to incorporate virtual reality and augmented reality in their buildings to bring about better management solutions.