We finally nailed down our CIO, Gordon Mitchell, for a sneak preview of KEYSTONE, the next-generation of workplace digitisation.


Hi Gordon, so tell us a bit about the background to KEYSTONE?

For many years our Innovation Unit has been working on how to resolve key FM and client challenges.  These include the challenges we see looming on the horizon and those our contract teams experience on-the-ground.  Our vision for KEYSTONE has emerged from this work in a very holistic way.

Piecing together the vision has been quite an adventure.  We knew what we needed the various parts to do.  However, we didn’t know if what we were imagining existed out there or was even possible.

The journey has taken us off the beaten path -FM trade shows, conferences and the like.  KEYSTONE includes some applications not originally intended for an FM context.  There have also been serendipitous turns. Sometimes cutting-edge solutions seemed to emerge to fill the gaps right on cue.

It’s been exciting working closely with entrepreneurs on honing new tech.  Often, we’ve been the first to trial these in a live operational environment.  We’ve been delighted to find some best-in-class partners here on our Scottish home turf.  Others have taken us further afield.

In fact, we’re just back from a trip visiting our European partners, for relationship-building and shaping up shared goals and understanding.  It’s ironic that getting an online environment right first time is all about what happens offline.  Nevertheless, we’ve always found this to be the case.


Visiting European Partners to consolidate KEYSTONE, the next generation of workplace digitisation Visiting European Partners to consolidate KEYSTONE, the next generation of workplace digitisation



KEYSTONE will be a significant upgrade of the Integrated Operations component of KEY’s FM Management System.  It’s due for launch in its totality in the first quarter of 2019, although its first modules are to go online imminently.

Conceptually speaking, KEYSTONE can be thought of as a single repository for all information necessary for optimal operational performance.  It empowers small teams to manage big operations, and confers adaptability and stability in the face of disruptive forces.


KEYSTONE, the next generation of workplace digitisation


However, at the same time, when looking into KEYSTONE, each user will have their own unique view of that information, specific to their immediate needs and context.

Tailored, yet unified.


What are KEYSTONE’s core benefits? (i) A tailored, enhanced user experience

System designers often treat the way information surfaces in terms of user categories –FMs, clients and customers, for example.  This approach is inappropriate in an FM context, where user needs are very nuanced

For illustration: a typical international contract can involve upwards of 50 managers, FM and client.  These operate at multiple management levels.  Each requires very different information to improve organisational performance -EHS, SLAs, asset depreciation, a clear unified work stream, and so forth.

There’s also your work teams, internal and third-party.  A chemical spill on the fifth floor requires urgent specialist cleaning.  Or the HVAC’s down on a sweltering day and the new maintenance guy needs to get-up-to-speed on the system fast.

Then you’ve your onsite customers.  It’s a busy day and they need to find that last available parking place, meeting room or canteen table.  Or they want to raise an urgent work request about that spill or broken HVAC.

And the  list goes on.

Our goal is that whenever any of these users logs into KEYSTONE, they find only the specific information or actions they need at that time, presented simply and intuitively.  Its dynamically-responsive user interface also means the display adapts to whatever device they’re using, for accessibility and usability.

Furthermore, KEYSTONE can also include a fully-realised 3D digital twin of client workplaces, with an augmented reality feature.  This enables users to way find or navigate building information remotely, or on a mobile from within the facility, taking the perspective from a user’s specific location.


3D workplace modelling: KEYSTONE, the next-generation of workplace digitisation


Our objective is that users see KEYSTONE not so much a platform, but as a personal assistant.  This adapts seamlessly to context, and is always on hand with the exactly the information they need, the way they need it.


What are KEYSTONE’S core benefits? (ii) Unified, autonomous, self-aware workplaces

Conventional FM suffers from what philosophy calls the mind-matter problem, that is, the perception that people are somehow separate from the built environment they manage or occupy.

KEYSTONE regards both as a single living system, one which requires minimal FM, because it has the capability to regulate its own wellbeing and performance.

Underpinning this system are affordable smart sensors, artificial intelligence and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies, which monitor and report on occupancy, resource utilisation and environmental performance in real-time.  Our field tests suggest these can support new cycles of virtuous feedback, nurturing organisations which are more productive and efficient, as well as being healthier and happier.


Autonomous and self aware workplaces: KEYSTONE: the next-generation of workplace digitisation

KEYSTONE has also been designed for a seamless upgrade from our Integrated Operations solution.  This means clients can continue to benefit from our current platform, and then transition smoothly to KEYSTONE as its modules come online.


In Conclusion…

KEYSTONE is the summation of KEY’s FM and technology know-how to-date.  It is a comprehensive repository of all real-time and historic information relevant to optimal operational performance, and which is tailored to specific user needs and contexts.

I believe strongly the relationships between people and the built environment enabled by products like KEYSTONE represent a genuinely new horizon for workplace experiences and optimisation for both FM and client organisations alike.  Exciting times indeed!


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