Special Issue: Harnessing The Power Of Data

Data-driven facilities are embracing AI and other technologies to set up for future success.

This Is What The Future Of Data Collection Looks Like

Learn about the ultimate data collection tool.

By Josh Lowe and Kirk Mullis


If you think the only time you need to collect asset data is during an FCA, I’ve got some bad news for you: you’re missing out on a huge amount of information your facilities create every day.

There’s a misconception in the industry that data collection is a one-time, transactional event. Send some people onsite every 3-7 years to look over your entire portfolio and call it good, right? Wrong. Data collection must be an ongoing action throughout a building’s lifecycle if you want complete, up-to-date information for decision making and capital planning.

A big reason why facilities managers don’t collect more data more often is because it’s expensive, time-consuming, and hard to do with the tools available. At least, it was. Technology has finally triumphed over these challenges.

Let’s take a closer look at the technology that makes this possible.

Inside the Ultimate Data Collection Tool

Meet AkitaBox Capture—a mobile app specifically designed for faster, more accurate facilities data collection.

Amazingly mobile. The Capture app is compatible with iOS or Android tablets and smartphones. It also keeps working even if you don’t have cellular or WiFi coverage. When you’re back in a coverage area, Capture automatically syncs up with the cloud, ensuring any data you collected while offline isn’t lost.

“With AkitaBox, data collection is essentially happening in the cloud,” says Kyle Knop, Vice President and Senior Project Manager, Zimmerman Architectural Studios. “Once someone takes a picture, I don’t have to hunt them down for it—it’s already in the system. Having a tool that does that is extremely desirable from our side.”

X marks the spot. All the data you collect using Capture can be associated with a specific location. We call it location-based asset mapping. Once your digital floor plans are loaded into AkitaBox, you can begin placing digital pins on it.

“Trying to collect data on paper floor plans is cumbersome,” remarks Knop. “You’re juggling huge printouts. You’re squinting to read tiny details because you can’t zoom in on a paper floor plan. And you’re fumbling with different colored pencils or pens as you attempt to color code different assets. Digitized floor plans in AkitaBox eliminates all that.”

Don’t have a floor plan? No problem. Capture offers two ways to see your asset data: PlanView and ListView. While PlanView is the floor-plan-based format, ListView is just what it says—a list format that doesn’t require a floor plan.

Bob Van Rees, Director of Facilities at Rockford Construction, appreciates Capture’s flexibility. “The ease of moving between PlanView and ListView is great. I’m a very visual person, so I like looking at the blueprint perspective in PlanView. But my colleague does everything by ListView. So having that ability to change your workflow based on what you like is nice.”

Anything goes. Capture can collect whatever you need it to. Photos? Yes. Condition notes? Of course. Manufacturer information? Absolutely. The sky’s the limit. You can customize Capture’s data fields so everyone on the team knows what data they need to gather for each asset.

In addition, Capture’s markup tool lets you draw and write directly on any digital photos you take. For example, circling a concerning rust spot or noting a particular valve that needs replacing.

The best part? All the data you collect using Capture is associated with an asset. That means your facilities data is at the asset level—not just room level, system level, or building level. This level of granularity is incredibly useful for understanding how your assets are performing on a daily basis and over time.

Super speed with AI. Don’t you just love trying to read a dirty manufacturer label and manually type in long strings of serial numbers? Better not fat finger the wrong key or you’ll have to start over.

Now, Capture does all that for you with AI. Snap a photo of an asset’s manufacturer plate. Capture “reads” the letters and numbers on it, then inputs everything into the correct data fields for you—no typing required.

To infinity and beyond. Reading labels is just one AI function. Looking forward, AI will also be able to: find an asset’s O&M manual; identify an asset’s warranty period; create a general preventive maintenance plan for an asset; and much more.

Reap The Benefits Of Better Data Collection

Investing in a thoughtfully designed data collection tool like Capture helps you do an even better job of gathering, organizing, and leveraging facilities data. As a result, you will have:

  • An always-current view of your facilities
  • Easy access to asset information
  • Facilities data that lives in a system, not people’s heads
  • The foundation for moving from reactive to proactive maintenance
  • Improved compliance and safety
  • Accurate capital planning and budgeting
  • Wise resource allocation and maintenance deferrals

Beyond all those benefits, you’ll have the ability to not just manage, but optimize, your facilities. From reducing costs and risks to boosting productivity and energy efficiency, you can use facilities data to monitor performance, identify areas to change, and measure the results of any improvements you make.

Keep learning about data collection using Capture technology by visiting our website.

Lowe is the Co-Founder and Chief Solutions Engineer at AkitaBox. He has a degree in architecture, and a background in construction.

Mullis is the Implementation Manager at AkitaBox. He has over 20 years of experience in the software and technology side of facilities design, construction, and maintenance solutions.

AkitaBox, Asset Data Collection

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