Facilities Show, in association with IWFM, returned to ExCeL London on June 18-20 for one of its most successful years yet, cementing its position as one of the world’s leading dedicated facilities and field service management events. This year, it demonstrated a 3% growth in visitors, continuing a three-year upward trend that has also resulted in a 4% increase in the number of visitors per exhibitor – which means suppliers of innovative facilities solutions were able to generate more business and create more new contacts than ever before.
And these were high quality contacts. 35% of visitors were heads of department, C-suite executives, directors or owners, representing a combined annual purchasing budget of £9.2 billion. 40% of total visitors had the responsibility to authorise or make a purchase, making the event ideal for businesses looking to showcase their products to buyers.
Facilities Show also emphasised its importance to the global facilities profession: visitors represented 62 countries and a wide variety of industries – 20% came from the construction or property sector, for instance.
They were able to meet 282 exhibitors, showcasing around 2,000 products. These products included workplace technology, cleaning, health and wellbeing, waste management, energy management, office management, washroom space, planning and design, and much more, and Facilities Show facilitated this with an array of networking spaces and a 1-2-1 meetings service.
This was reflected in the feedback received from visitors. A senior account manager at PPL Training said: “We’ve been exhibiting for the past few years and year after year it just keeps getting better! Exhibiting at Facilities Show is cost-effective for us as we’re always bringing in new business, and the quality of visitors is great. Having the co-located shows here allows us to meet such a diverse range of clients.”
Facilities Show will continue to evolve based on visitor feedback, to better reflect the changing face of facilities management
A platform for product launches
Facilities Show once again showcased the best and most innovative solutions and the latest products and services on the market. With so many highly-engaged professionals in attendance, it was the ideal platform for companies to launch their new products to potential buyers, from thermal heat tents to software and smart solutions.
Some launches came unexpectedly: Vaclensa, a leading supplier of cleaning products, surprised visitors with the launch of its new micro scrubber dryer, and used virtual reality to demonstrate it.
Bywaters’ stand focused on sustainability and reducing single-use plastics. It showcased innovative, sustainable solutions, and also sought to educate others about their efforts to reduce plastic pollution, including beach cleans.
Indeed, many product launches took on an environmental angle. Vaclensa and Tennant both showcased machines made from recycled plastic, while Streamline Systems displayed its brand new electric vehicle, with a high pressure washing skid system, designed to be used in areas with low emission zones, such as central London.
Among the other companies launching products at Facilities Show 2019 were Nespresso (offering new coffee machines), Education & IT, TechnoPurple, Matthew Algie, GENIE, Sony, Service Works Global, Qbic Technology, Ricoh and Pest Train.
A programme of education and inspiration
Facilities Show 2019 helped connect visitors with some of the ideas and developments shaping the profession in its full agenda of 100 CPD-accredited seminars, presentations and case studies. These touched on smart buildings, office moves, creating effective workspaces, future-proofing offices and changing company culture, among many other critical issues.
Facilities Show seeks to inspire as well as educate, and a particular draw to the event were 2019’s three keynote inspirational speakers: BBC Breakfast’s Steph McGovern, who spoke about her career journey and the value of vocational training; Winter Olympic ski jump underdog Eddie the Eagle, whose presentation touched on risk and danger; and England rugby hero Jonny Wilkinson, who focused on mental wellbeing and his personal struggles with his physical and mental health.
These three talks, taking place across the three days, drew packed crowds, and were a major highlight of the event. One attendee said: “The networking opportunities are brilliant here, and that’s why I normally attend. However, this year, I have been amazed by the amount of technology and modernisation. There’s always so much to do and see here, but my highlight is always the keynote speakers!”
Smart buildings and smart technology
This year, Facilities Show focused on the implications of smart technology on the workplace. This was particularly visible at the brand new Smart Buildings Expo, which showcased these transformative products and ideas not just in a replica of a smart office – created in partnership with master system integrators, Vanti – but also at the Workplace Technology Theatre, which hosted an extensive and informative seminar programme, highlighting the opportunities that data, connectivity and smart technology have for facilities managers.
With this technology still in its infancy, there was a marked push to clear up some of the myths surrounding smart buildings, most notably in a panel discussion dedicated to that very purpose. Here, visitors were informed that smart technology, far from being expensive and unwieldy and reserved for modern glass and steel office buildings, can actually be integrated into any building. Shaun Taylor, business development manager at Accruent, defined a smart building as one that has “the ability to adapt and change for the people that will work in it in the future”.
Facilities Show once again showcased the best and most innovative solutions and the latest products and services on the market
Tony Buckingham, head of technology group at AECOM, spoke about the value of analytics in turning smart buildings into truly intelligent ones, while Engie’s Ravi Lakhani stressed the importance of a holistic approach to smart technology, in which products are integrated across departments and harness data gathered throughout a building for a more efficient management process.
Complementing these informative discussions were a number of product demonstrations, including one from Erik Jaspers of Planon and Schneider’s Lars Hennecke, who introduced their collaborative effort to simplify property management using building digitisation and data capture aimed at creating self-maintaining buildings.
These seminars formed part of a wider discussion about creating meaningful workspaces, especially with workplace wellbeing becoming a greater consideration for facilities managers across the profession. Slack’s Ciaran Chaney gave an interesting presentation about how creating these workspaces goes beyond complex technology and ‘Instagram-able’ design, pointing out that “design is not a substitute for culture”, and criticising the Google approach to office design: “There’s no return-on-investment on a ping-pong table.” Instead, he told listeners that a workspace should be designed to encourage wellness as part of a wider cultural change, something that the Workplace Wellbeing Show touched upon further.
These technologies and systems are helping to transform facilities management, and Facilities Show’s efforts to showcase the strategies and products at the forefront of smart buildings speaks to its lasting commitment to driving the future of the facilities profession.
Strategies for wellbeing
The Workplace Wellbeing Show, another new addition for 2019, helped to highlight some of the ways facilities managers can improve employee mental health and encourage wellbeing. One panel discussion at the theatre addressed the importance of self-education and leadership to give mental health ‘parity of esteem’ with physical health, while another presentation stressed the importance of nutrition as part of internal cultural change.
Johnny Wilkinson, whose inspirational speech drew enormous crowds to the Keynote Theatre, focused on his own struggles with mental health, the stresses of his high pressure role, and the difficulties expressing his anxieties in the male-dominated environment of rugby.
Other seminars touched on the ageing workforce, on fitness and the ‘power of talking’. Emphasising cultural change once again, Laing O’Rourke’s Silvana Martin explained how giving in-depth training to 173 mental health champions and 91 mental health first aiders, to provide employees with access to consultations during working hours, encouraged sharing and communication among its staff.
Evolving for 2020
In the year ahead, Facilities Show will continue to evolve based on visitor feedback, to better reflect the changing face of facilities management, adding new seminars and new features, and encouraging even more exhibitors to showcase their innovative solutions.
To match the industry calendar and allow visitors and exhibitors to engage in longer conversations ahead of the summer period, Facilities Show 2020 – alongside Safety & Health Expo, IFSEC International and FIREX International – will take place on the earlier date of 19-21 May, at ExCeL London.
Smart Buildings Expo is set to expand to become its own event alongside Facilities Show, and the Smart Buildings Experience in association with Vanti will return with a new, wider remit to integrate even more suppliers into its programme.