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Mideast FM groups put spotlight on key industry trends

DUBAI, September 16, 2019

Leading players in the facilities management (FM) sector and wider construction industry discussed the major trends in the sector at a key event organised by the Middle East Facility Management Association (Mefma) in Dubai.

A dedicated platform for FM professionals, wider construction industry stakeholders, and owner associations, Mefma brought to the fore the latest developments in the region’s FM community during its major event ‘FM Industry Market Pulse.’

The gathering hosted by the Mefma Strategic Sub-Committee highlighted various technological innovations and their role in creating a sustainable FM sector in the region during the 21st century.  

According to industry experts, the GCC region's market value continues to increase, with Saudi Arabia topping the region's list in 2018 with a FM market worth $5.5 billion.

This is followed by the UAE with a FM market worth $5.4 billion, according to research by Frost and Sullivan.

Egypt ranked fourth with a total market value of $1.6 billion, followed by Kuwait at $1 billion, Bahrain at $800 million, and Oman at $300 million.

Mefma President Jamal Lootah said: "As part of our ongoing bid to enhance FM practices in the region, we held the event to discuss the current industry pulse and highlight what needs to be done further to raise our global competitiveness."

"Technology such as AI remains to be a key ingredient in our quest to keep up with the international changes. As such, all of us must work closely together to roll out the necessary reforms to integrate modern tools into our processes and systems and implement the best practices to help accelerate the sector’s progress, in line with the UAE’s smart transformation initiatives," he noted.

According to experts, the current trends have shown that some of the key priorities in the sector point to competitiveness as necessary for companies to remain profitable with a focus on being proactive to creating strategic partnerships, value creation, and leveraging use if new technologies.

Blockchain, for instance, offers a cutting-edge technology that enables real-time visibility, security in contracts and accountability. Meanwhile, AI presents an opportunity to optimize complex processes and segregate tasks between humans and machines, as well as establish predictive models that chart possible solutions, they stated.

Energy management is another aspect which provides wide potential for the FM sector to expand its services considering the increasing prices of utility and the growing awareness to address the environmental impact of conventional energy resources.

In addition, smart facilities deliver new efficient ways to manage buildings with advanced connectivity. More importantly, as organizations pay more attention to health and wellbeing, workplaces are becoming upgraded to suit these needs, opening a door for the FM industry to innovate and accommodate these emerging needs, said the experts.

Mefma VP Ali Al Suwaidi said the event proved to be very timely and strategic as it primarily focused on discussions covering current market trends and conditions.

"We had quite a big turnout, with over 140 representatives joining us at this networking session," he stated.

"The high number of participants demonstrates the growing interest placed in facilities management and also affirms Mefma's role as the voice of the industry. Rest assured that we will continue to remain steadfast in our commitment to host activities like this networking session as part of the continuing move to create stronger communication ties and help understand newer trends and tools that will drive in more growth for the industry,” said Al Suwaidi, while delivering his welcome speech.

This was followed by a briefing video about Ahla Jaw, the event’s sponsor. Francisco Ramalheira, Mefma’s sub-committee leader and director of business development and marketing of Enova, proceeded with the event’s main topic and shed light on the key trends in the FM market’s pulse.   

In his address, Ramalheira said: "The FM sector plays a vital role in the ‘smart transformation’ taking place in the UAE and worldwide, and stakeholders must be prepared for this important change. The Middle East continues to see strong growth, with the regional GDP projected to increase between 2 to 4 percent."

"Investments by the public and private sector in development projects are set to unlock new opportunities for the FM sector, with an eye on outsourced FM services, digitally enabled solutions, and provision of value-added services. However, we all must find solutions to challenges in our sector including the need for development of new talent, policy and regulation changes, and increased competition," he added.-TradeArabia News Service




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