CEO of KEY Facilities Management International speaks in Baltimore

Stan Mitchell brought a touch of Scottish charm to Baltimore this week where he was a guest speaker at The National Facilities Management event (#NFMT), a flagship FM show.

NFMT Guest Speaker


Round table at The NFMT

This leading conference recognises the importance of learning from peers and experts about workplace trends, technology advances, budget planning, and better ways to communicate up and down the organisational chart. Attendees at NFMT events know that the conference brings together a unique mix of experienced people sharing valuable content. It prides itself on enabling industry players to take a deep dive into professional development and connect with peers and experts who can help them do their job well.

Thanks to Stan’s varied past and present roles, including national chair of BIFM (now IWFM), founding chair of Global FM and founding chair of ISO TC 267 Facility Management Committee, his informative presentation brought powerful industry insight to NFMT delegates.

Delegates at the show keen to delve further or those interested in finding out more should get in touch.

KEY FM pioneering partnership with Betty Blocks

Key FM CIO Gordon Mitchell on Stage @BBoS2019
The 14th of March, in the buzzing tech town of Alkmaar, saw a meeting of like-minded bright young things from across an impressive range of industries from insurance to logistics. Developers and entrepreneurs alike were brought together by one common question (or “Big Hairy Audacious Goal!”): Will software platform providers Betty Blocks achieve their aim of making it possible for any person (or Citizen Developer) in the street to build an application of their own from scratch by 2023?

Who is Betty I hear you cry?!

Alkmaar may be most famous for its golden discs of Gouda, but away from the kaasmarkt there is a far more 21st Century player spear heading change which aims to take software development away from the IT Crowd and into the hands of any business with the core of an idea that needs an app to make their vision reality.

Find out more about Citizen Development and Betty Blocks #BBoS2019

KEY FM Betty Blocks Presentation

KEY FM proud to lead the way in Citizen Development

To this audience AI-controlled and adaptive building environments may have sounded like science fiction but like the Betty Blocks vision for a world without code, KEY FM’s aim is about putting the human being and the workplace at the centre of technology; making any office space a more enjoyable environment to work in. For Gordon Mitchell, CIO here at KEY FM, pioneering the Betty Blocks solutions means that we are one step closer to making the vision reality.

Contact us today to find out more about how we are making “smart buildings” accessible to any business and empowering user communities with platforms like Betty Blocks to evolve, improve and optimise experiences, workplaces and portfolios.

Information, Us and True FM

Never before have we had such a rapid change to our lives as the current period of human experience.  In 1970 Microsoft was an unknown term, Apple was a fruit, Amazon was our world’s largest river and Alphabet was on our primary school walls.   Fast forward to today and these terms are now synonymous with the biggest organisations on the planet and they are all in their own way responsible for this information revolution.

Our watches can monitor our hearts our Fridges can order groceries, we can talk to our lights and our pockets hold more powerful technology than first took us to the Moon, there is no doubt of the impact the information age has had on all our lives; and the places we spend our time in, our buildings, are no exception.

We now use Internet of Things (IoT), Digital Twins, Business Intelligence, Asset Controls and Artificial Intelligence, all playing a part in making our Buildings Smart.  But what is the smart way to transition from the past to the future without disrupting the present?  This is where True FM comes in.  Key FM has developed a fully encompassing FM and Workplace model to support any organisation/portfolio of any size to  begin, evolve or accelerate their journey toward a Smart building estate and position themselves toward the goal of the autonomous building (autonomous building is a building that operates varying degrees of its assets and functions autonomously without the need for intervention from the workforce around repetitive and administrative tasks).

The Big Question – Why? – For the CFO there will be numerous cost advantages from streamlining and systemising process as well as reducing elements like real estate needs due to knowledge of actual occupancy requirements from smart monitoring, resulting in a healthier bottom line, For the FM, this will all the administration of the built environment to be shifted allowing a more client orientated approach delivering more value-add to the stakeholder communities using our buildings. There will also be a much richer experience where the end user can have a 1:1 experience direct with the building and its workspaces and, for the CEO, what is not to like? Healthier, happier, more productive staff, improved finances, better facilities and workplaces and all-round enhanced experiences.

Although our True FM model allows us to assist in the Smart building journey, no matter the organisation or the current technologies in use, we have also applied our FM knowledge, along with our ever-growing FM technologies toolkit, to create Keystone (previous intro article). Over the next few months we will release more information in the run up to the launch of our product; however, with a select number of forward-thinking global clients already gaining insight and benefit from the platform, the digital transformation journey has already begun, and the roadmap is very exciting.

So, if you are a business or business leader looking for support on this journey or indeed looking for a new way to approach your FM tool kit and technology stack to either enhance, replace or begin in the technically integrated operating model then contact us and/or watch this space!!

KEY-managed Nucleus is the best building in Scotland!

KEY-managed Nucleus is the best building in Scotland!  The national archive for the civil nuclear industry in Wick has won the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS) Andrew Doolan Best Building in Scotland Award 2018, and the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Award 2018.



Speaking about Nucleus, the RIBA judges said:

“All felt that this was an impressive industrial building which created an ethereal and beautifully sculpted building.  Security of the landscape did not detract from the panel’s view that this was an excellent building.  The relationship of the building to the historic context of the site and the adjacent wartime airfield, together with the references to the Caithness context of lochs and a difficult climate are beautifully articulated.”




Stewart Lackie, KEY’s Senior Facilities Manager responsible for Nucleus operations, said :

“The KEY team at Wick are all delighted that we are now officially managing “the Best Building in Scotland”.  We had only just fitted the plaque for the last award the building received from the Royal Institute of British Architects when we heard the news.  We are going to run out of wall space soon!”

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Consolidating KEYSTONE: the next generation of workplace digitisation

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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