2011 has been a turbulent year for Planet Earth. Consumers and businesses have felt a renewed anxiety following new and unstable financial situations, both at home and abroad.
Despite all of this, technology has continued to steamroll forward. One example is the iPad and how it has shown itself to be a triumphant business tool in many industries, including the maintenance and facilities sectors.
Computerised Maintenance Management Systems (CMMS) are now available on a multitude of devices including; computers, laptops, Windows phones, to Apple iPhones, iPads and iPods.
Over the next 12 months we will see CMMSs continue their move to mobile. Greater functionality and usability in mobile devices will be key demands, with automatic connection to servers, scanning abilities and greater connectivity being the crucial features.
Following the shift to mobile, there will be a move for our desktop software to become cloud-based. Maintenance professionals will demand the same flexibility and ease-of-access in their desktop system as their mobile application. These web and browser-based systems will allow customers to interact much more closely with their system and the people who built it, on any computer.
As devices and systems become more mobile, so will the demands of the workforce. The engineering industry is currently experiencing a skills shortage, which limits their capacity to hire and train local apprentices. This requires firms to source cheaper skilled workers from overseas. Companies will need to become more multilingual, as will the systems they use.
A wildcard prediction for 2012 is a push for ‘gamification’ of management and maintenance systems.
Gamification is the use of game design techniques to engage audiences. Typically, gamification applies to non-game applications and programs to encourage people to adopt them. The technique can encourage people to perform chores they would normally consider boring, by showing them a path to mastery and autonomy, and by taking advantage of a human’s psychological predisposition to engage in gaming.
In terms of gamification’s relevance to the maintenance industry, we may see systems emerge, promising increased attentiveness and more measurable results for both maintenance and actual staff management.
However I think consumers should be wary. Staff may become more involved with the system, but may end up trying to beat the game, rather than actually concentrating on the maintenance and safety aspects of their job.