Innovation and Technology

9 December 2023
Language: Hebrew

Guest: Pinchas (Piki) Kaufman, Electra FM Maintenance Division
Tune in as the VP of Engineering & Procurement of Electra FM unveils how innovation drives leadership and differentiation in the IFM landscape. Prepare to embark on a captivating journey into the world of IFM innovation, where technology becomes a catalyst for progress.


Idit: In this episode we will talk about technology and innovation. We will understand exactly what innovation is, how it is expressed in the IFM world, and how to integrate technology into daily work. What is needed and how it manifests itself. For this we invited a special guest, Piki. Piki is VP Engineering and Procurement of the Electra FM Group. Piki has been with the Electra corporation for about 26 years, ten of which in Electra FM. Piki is responsible for a wide range of area of expertise, including work process definitions and collaborations with technology companies. I remember going to work at the company, I kept hearing Piki, Piki, Piki. I quickly realized that Piki was involved with everything. Piki is totally a person who knows how to move mountains, even by just calling people. And what most special and beautiful thing about you, if I have to describe in one sentence, is that you do everything very pleasantly and calmly. So that's how I got to know you.

Piki: But inside I'm on fire.

Idit: From the inside you are on fire, definitely. So, we're really glad you joined us, how are you?

Piki: All right, in the middle of everything.

Idit: Very nice. So, we are here for innovation. So, let's start from the beginning, what is innovation?

Piki: For me, innovation is the ability to reinvent ourselves every time. Not necessarily in the field of maintenance. But provide new tools to users. If it is in maintenance, for example, then it is in tools for monitoring, tools for forecasting. But in all other areas, it's actually about giving the user a new ability that doesn't exist.

Idit: Service solutions, other tools, for instance.

Piki: Other tools that don't exist, that we'll talk about later about what sets them apart, but it's other tools that don't exist in the market.

Idit: Actually, I think you can define that innovation is very important to an organization, because as you said it, that we need to reinvent ourselves. This means that if we don't invent and don't advance, then somewhere, say in five, ten years, when we won't be able to create any kind of competitive differentiation or anything that will set us apart from our competitors.

Piki: That's right, the market in Israel, probably also in the world, is quite crowded. Aggressive and crowded. in the end, we don't invent special missiles and not hi-tech and we have to differentiate ourselves from the competition and each time invent something new, be trailblazers, market breakers, because otherwise we will be like all the others. There is no difference between the competitors and us. Everyone recruits people and buys tools and knows how to operate a computer.

Idit: Every time we need to do something different.

Piki: Every time be one step ahead of the others.

Idit: Absolutely. So where do you find new technologies? How do we know what to focus on?

Piki: New technologies, those who handle it in the organization, for example me, find it online. I find it at conferences that we are occasionally invited to. In the various suppliers that offer us new technologies that have arrived, but mainly a lot of reading and browsing online, which today is an inexhaustible repository of information for every subject.

Idit: It can actually also be through collaborations with all kinds of start-ups.

Piki: Right, you just have to know what to look for, because a lot of startups come here to offer their products, but you have to know what to focus on. If not, you can find yourself spending your entire day in all kinds of places that are not critical to the organization.

Idit: So, you say, first of all, you have to do some kind of mapping. You first need to know what we're looking for and then go and look for it in the right channels that are appropriate for it.

Piki: Yes, but you have to understand, you have to read and be in the loop.

Idit: Be on top of the trends with what's to come, completely. Practically, how do we implement new technology in the organization? After all, there are many objections to change, what do you think is the right way to implement a new technology within an organization?

Piki: So, we usually start with a pilot. You take a selected site, which is also right to work with from the client's point of view. Not all clients are built for this. Not all clients are available for this. So, you also have to choose the right client and also our right people on site who can assist you. Because in the end there is no R&D department here, and the number of people engaged in this is rather limited. So, the right way is a pilot on site. You implement the system, test it, get feedback and in the end, we also work with limited money, so it is not a heavy investment, you have to find a way to do it at very low costs, again, because there is no R&D budget.

Idit: Can you share with us the latest technologies and also something we implemented in the group in previous years?

Piki: We've been tinkering with smart buildings for a few years. Smart systems for monitoring and detection in the world of maintenance, in the world of cleaning. The system that has stabilized in this field of detection of rotating equipment is a system by Bluvision, which is represented in the country by Computer Guard. It's basically beacons, IoT that are attached to rotating equipment, whether it is a pump or an engine.

Idit: Is it some sort of a component?

Piki: It's an IoT component, Internet of Things, a standalone component with a battery. Simply attached externally to the equipment. This component actually measures two parameters, both temperature and vibrations. It transmits in Low Blue File another component on top of that via WiFi and a cloud router.

Idit: Does it operate at any given time?

Piki: It's constantly online, sampling the system. There are threshold alerts that you can monitor in the system. You hold a dashboard that gives you control over a variety or a large number of beacons. In general, it's not about monitoring one building or one system, it's about the quantity, a campus, large environments, otherwise it has no substantial value. Then you get two things, two parameters. One is temperature, as soon as there is a deviation from what you have determined, you receive an alert by all currently accepted means, of course there is a history and you also get it as a GPS point so everything is pinpointed. The second issue is vibrations. The system enters the realms of machine learning, the system knows how to learn the usual behavior.

Idit: Translate the data, basically, into a kind of malfunction.

Piki: But it learns the nature of the motor and knows how to detect abnormalities in its vibrations. And again, then it reports to you and you can take it to the next stage of the world of maintenance that has the corrective maintenance, the preventive maintenance and there is the predicted maintenance. You actually catch the system a minute before the break, and then you create added value for yourself, because we usually work at total risk, and then you save the damage.

Idit: And for the client, you save them thousands of shekels.

Piki: And then you also create savings for the client, sometimes financial, sometimes operational, that you prevent shut down at the most inconvenient time.

Idit: Production disorder or something.

Piki: This is a system that we have already introduced in quite a few projects, it is actually used in the world of smart building. Beyond its functionality, it also serves as a sales promoter. We present this in every tender we come in in the field of quality, as an extra mile we provide to clients and in the end also implement in some places.

Idit: Definitely an added value. So, what do you think, what technological innovations can we expect in the field of IFM trends in the near future? Let's take, say, five years ahead.

Piki: So, two things that are already coming our way. One is the world of AI, artificial intelligence, which will also arrive as we just talked about IoT components, whether it's in the component itself or in the cloud that handles all the computing of it. And it's already happening and it's clear to all that it will arrive as a feature that will be everywhere... In general, in my opinion, in a few years all the components will already come with built-in IoT and when you buy an engine, for example, then you will have the IoT component inside. And when you want to activate it, you'll pay a few extra shekels for this extra information and you won't have to come...

Idit: It will already be built-in.

Piki: It will be built-in, yes, of course, there's no reason not to, costs go down, size goes down. There's no reason why it shouldn't be inside. And an engine manufacturer, for example, will want to come up with another path for itself, beyond selling only an engine like the others. He will also want to have a sophisticated engine. So that's one issue in artificial intelligence systems. And the second area that I have only recently become acquainted with, again, in meetings...

Idit: What, robotics?

Piki: No, specifically in the 5G field, the 5G network, but a localized 5G network. It also has to do with what we talked about earlier. How are we updated on it? From meetings with people who, in this case, suggested to explain to Danny (Electra FM CEO) about the innovation and then you start to get interested and read and have further meetings. The thing about a local network is that in the end you come to campus and offer the client a package that includes this element of a strong, robust, fast, secure cellular network.

Idit: Accessible, available and outstanding simple operation.

Piki: That covers the whole area. Compared to today, where A. has the usual elements that every employee on campus surfs their network, then there are its pace and its amount of information transferred, and there is the whole IoT world that at the end you have to stream all this information and if you use the means that exist today it's WiFi, it's the low Bluetooth, it's other networks, there's a limitation of availability, there's a limitation of bandwidth, there's a limitation of security. The WiFi basically doesn't belong to anyone, so it's not secure. On the other hand, this private network, you will just buy a certain frequency...

Idit: That it will be branded specifically for that campus.

Piki: You buy a frequency, for example we will enter a certain campus. The campus or you, but when we buy this frequency, and it will be the frequency on which whoever enters the campus transfers the surfing to it. So today instead of you looking for WiFi you will enter the network you will use. And again, this is another tool that is also marketable, because you want to reinvent yourself and find another revenue channel, but it is also a customer service because, in the end, you make everyone start browsing quickly and all the information passes quickly and securely and it's a whole world.

Idit: It's a total user experience. When I think, say, the employees who are in the work environment like this. It makes their lives much simpler in this way.

Piki: That's right. 5G is fast like a rocket and the revolution is that it will be local. It will no longer belong to the major networks or network that you can buy from this particular frequency. But it won't just be a cell phone network and so on. According to what they say, this will be the next trend in these worlds of IFM and campus.

Idit: So, we have something to look forward to. It's fun. Well, thank you very much, Piki. Really enriching, innovative and thank you for coming.

Piki: You're welcome.

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