Guided by the learning, ‘Innovation is not a single bright idea, but an approach, a perspective and an unfolding process’, Prabhu Ramachandran started his entrepreneurial journey.
Facilio was launched, with a mission to deliver the best technology for everyone interacting with a building. With this he, along with his ex-Zoho colleagues Rajavel Subramanian and Yogendra Babu entered the real estate market in 2017.
A background in shipping and 17 years at Zoho, scaling enterprise-software at a global level, worked well, giving Prabhu the right tools to crack a complex traditional industry like real estate which needs to integrate multiple teams, functions, technologies, assets and third parties, in order to achieve optimal results.
In an exclusive chat with The Blue Circle, Prabhu discusses how Facilio is a gamechanger in building automation, and what are its future prospects.
Although buildings have had considerable embedded automation for decades, these assets have typically operated in siloed systems and been administered by vendor-specific software and protocols. Multiple tools, scattered communication, and scrappy data silos were adding up to massive cumulative costs.
It makes maintenance predictive and ensures tenants receive a personalized, responsive and delightful service and experience.
What sets the Facilio solution apart is its comprehensive nature and flexibility in deployment. In turn, this helps to maximise profitability, as well as delivering unprecedented sustainability profiles and delightful occupant experiences.
“Our interfaces and apps can be customized to the needs of individual stakeholders and teams, and are mobile enabled, empowering workforces, managers and tenants. We have partnered business leaders in various markets, enabling both targeted deployments that address specific functions, as well as solutions that optimize every aspect of a commercial real estate portfolio,” says Prabhu.
According to Prabhu, the Indian market has the advantage of being able to leap several generations of technology to embrace the latest innovations. With Facilio being compatible with both new developments and upgradation of existing inventory of building stock, the Indian market has been responsive, yet it’s a wait and watch game. “The advantages gained by early adopters should result in more widespread deployment, in the short to medium term.”
Pointing to some positive aspects of the Indian real estate sector, he says, “From a youthful population to urban rejuvenation and upgrading of infrastructure, there is a lot gathering momentum in the Indian market, which Facilio is perfectly positioned to be an active collaborator in.”
Elaborating on the expectations of his overseas and Indian clients, he says,”We live in a highly integrated world. The service expectations of our clients and partners, as well as those of their customers, are uniformly aligned with the highest global standards, in any of the markets we service. From that perspective, both Indian and overseas clients are very aware of the outcomes that our technology makes possible and aspire to making the transformation. “
Commercial and residential spaces
Prabhu says that both commercial and residential spaces have different needs, despite the overlap in certain areas. With regard to commercial operations, there is a heightened need for seamless operations to ensure business continuity and productivity.
He also highlights another important point,”Most large commercial spaces have fundamental ‘automation’ (BMS/BAS) infrastructure, which presents a huge scope to introduce efficiency optimization and other improvements, with the help of innovative software. “
Lastly, healthy occupancy and footfall numbers are non-negotiable for successful commercial spaces, and superior tenant experiences are a key influencing factor to achieve this.
“Occupant engagement and workplace apps, with intuitive and powerful interfaces can play a pivotal role in empowering tenants and also helping building owners and managers derive insights from feedback,” he adds.
Response to Covid
With Covid-19 changing the way businesses operate, Prabhu feels that the most appropriate response requires a constantly updated and fully transparent view of operations. From tracking footfall and the details of visitors, to ensuring regular and exhaustive cleaning schedules, preventative measures can help property operations and facilities teams rise to the challenge in this crucial hour.
Further, he informed us that Facilio is actively educating their clients and partners on how to utilise their platform to empower their workforces and management in response to this crisis.
Prabhu believes that from the earliest stages of Facilio, to the niche they have already established for themselves, they have actively interacted with their industry, and constantly discovered new avenues for improvement and ways in which they can tweak either their product or the business model.
From the very beginning, Prabhu says they realised the difference their product could make in creating a more sustainable world and delivering customer experiences at par with the expectations of the new generation of digital natives.
“I would advise up and coming entrepreneurs to back their instincts and not limit their ambitions,” he advises young entrepreneurs.
Roadmap for future
Facilio has a strategic and operational roadmap for 2020 and beyond that includes expansion, both within the markets they already serve and new regions.
“Product enhancement, embracing active R&D and breakthrough technologies to innovate further and continue to evolve our product, in alignment with the challenges of specific markets and wider trends. One of our key agendas is also to give industry thought leaders a platform and to educate the industry about emerging innovation and best practices,” adds Prabhu.
In the near term, Facilio has plans to expand their operations significantly in the US and roll out their SLaaS initiative in Dubai.
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