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August 16, 2018

Get to know Planon’s Strategic Business Consultant David Karpook

“I’m excited every day to see what I’ll hear and read about in terms of new innovations.”
– David Karpook, Strategic Business Consultant, Planon North America

When we think about 2025, it seems so far from now and a lot of us imagine a completely different world, but in reality, it’s just around the corner and we already have a great understanding and practical basis to predict what will be possible by that time. This series of blogs will help you get to know some of our Planon team – as we interview our colleagues from around the globe about technology. These interviews will focus on how technology is utilized in the field of facility management and how it can help, especially in important, strategic areas such as regarding space management. We will also dive into what trends each employee finds interesting and what they predict will and won’t become a reality in the coming years.

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David Karpook is a Business Consultant for the Planon North American office. He looks at client’s business processes and determines how it can be aligned with the client’s technology strategy. He is also responsible for managing Planon’s partner program in North America. Additionally, David works with organizations like IFMA and CoreNet, and has been published in various journals and does public speaking on the subject of technology.

When were you first involved with software and technology?

I’m an architect by training and before coming into the software and technology industry, I worked as an architect construction project manager and as a facility manager for seven years.  I’ve now been in the software and technology industry for over 20 years.

What does technology mean for you?

Technology is a tool and I think it is important to keep it in perspective. Technology itself does not solve any problems, but if you identify a problem and you understand what is needed to correct the problem, technology can often be a useful mechanism to move toward a solution. However, it’s important to keep in mind that for our customers, the main driver for using new technology is also about how they can contribute more to their core business.

How do you keep up to date with technology?

I rely a lot on journals like the Harvard Business Review and MIT Technology Review. Although they are business focused, they often write about technology in the context of business. I have also been an avid follower of Gartner Research. When it comes to technology they do some of the most interesting research in the field. If you have a question about something technology related , whether it is the Internet of Things, Blockchain or 3D printing, it is well worth looking to see what Gartner has written about it. Gartner is very careful to pay attention to differences in geography and has analysts in various cities all over the world.

What is your favorite ‘tech’ or ‘smart’ city?

I can’t say that there is one country or city that captured my attention or stuck out to me in terms of being especially ‘smart’ or technology-oriented. . I’m very interested in what is happening in Asia, in China, in Singapore, in Thailand, in Japan and in India. I feel like some of those countries are leapfrogging over some previous generations of technology that Americans are still stuck on because we adopted them earlier. I think some of those countries have been able to move faster and make strives into the future that we are still struggling with in the United States. They are able to do so because they did not have these earlier generations of technology embedded in their cultures.

What are some of your favorite tech gadgets for fun and what are some products you find very useful?

Right now, I’m very fascinated by 3D printing (also called additive manufacturing) and am always looking for new uses and case studies. I think this technology holds promise for a number of reasons. One that I have really just become aware of, is the positive environmental impacts of 3D printing. The efficiency of 3D printing and the way that it uses 100% of the resources that it taps into. Unlike traditional manufacturing, which produces a ton of waste. I worked briefly on a project with the IFMA foundation, in which we looked at a theoretical student project about establishing a colony on Mars. Because you could not easily ship anything there, we found that 3D printing would be necessary to create spare parts and build things. I think it is going to have an enormous effect on our future all around the world and I think it may surprise us with how quickly it comes in to the Facility Management world. If you can 3D print a spare part, rather than having to order it or even go to the local hardware store to get it, you have created a much more efficient process within your organization

What relatively new ‘tech gadgets’ do you use on a daily basis?

This may sound prosaic, but I would say the one that has attracted my attention daily and that I use more and more is voice recognition, and in particular, Siri.. As much as I love my iPhone, typing on that little keyboard is not the easiest so using Siri can help me type less. I’m now using Siri every day. It surprised me what kind of complex commands it understands. I think voice recognition technology, which we have experimented with at Planon, will very quickly end up having a big impact on how we manage facilities.

What do you expect to be a technology trend (general) and what is a technology trend that we should be paying attention that could impact the Facility management world within the next 10 years?

Robotics is certainly one that should be paid attention to in Facility Management. In my public speaking, I often talk about things that we can expect in the Facility Management world, regarding robotics. Currently there are many situations and conditions that facility management personnel have to do that can be dangerous. For example, working in high voltage situations, on the roofs of tall buildings, or in spaces that are contaminated with something like asbestos. I think these are perfect opportunities for the introduction of robots to take over some of these dangerous situations and thereby protect humans, who are currently required to have certain certifications and training to do such jobs. Beyond that I think that in facility management, robots have the potential to make deliveries: office supplies, coffee, catering. In hospitals robots are already being used to deliver medications to patients or transport to examinations. So, I see real potential for further development and use of this technology, especially in FM.

Which technology trends do you see for Planon?

We as Planon have to keep our eye open on how quickly the trends we just spoke about are emerging. For example, I think right now that one of Planon’s strongest functionalities is Stores management. That will always be important, but it will be interesting to see how quickly comes a day, that what we store in Planon is less information about the number of spare parts we have on hand, than the drawings that will allow those parts to be produced on it as needed basis. Similar to resource allocation, we do a great job with allocating the use of people, so it will be interesting to see how quickly we begin to incorporate the allocation of robots and robotics tools. What I think is great about Planon is that we have teams of people who are working on innovation projects and keeping an eye on innovations.

How ready are you for the next innovations in technology?

I have seen such a revolution in technology. I have learned that whatever we think might be on the horizon – will probably come out faster than we anticipate, and the quantity and effects of these innovations will be much greater than we thought. t. I don’t think any of us could have predicted the impact that technologies like the iPhone would have on our personal lives or our business lives. When I started in this field, what we considered mobile where those big giant barcode scanners that really did not do anything. And now you can pretty much run Planon on an iPhone. I’ve seen such a transformation in buildings and how they work. I love this industry and I’m excited every day to see what I’ll hear and read about in terms of new innovations. So, bring it on.

David Karpook
Strategic Business Consultant Planon North America