What is CMMS? Is it Worth the Investment?

With the introduction of CMMS, accounting and payroll departments no longer have to rely on notepads and calculators. The way managers perform maintenance operation is now completely different, and this is due to the introduction of computers.

CMMS is short for Computerized Maintenance Management System, a system used to simplify the way people manage maintenance.

The Basics of CMMS

A maintenance system helps make maintenance management operations a lot easier. It is currently in use by a number of industries for their operations.

When implemented properly, the system is capable of helping users maintain their assets effectively. It also allows them to distribute the workforce and allocate personnel to appropriate operations. As a result, industries can significantly increase their productivity while decreasing breakdown as much as possible.

How You Can Benefit from CMMS

It’s not easy to manage a plant with tons of assets. The process is complicated and time-consuming, to say the least. With a CMMS, everything becomes a lot easier. Here are some of the benefits companies can experience by using the system:

  • Enhanced Productivity – a good system can help you schedule preventative maintenance with ease. It will also provide you with detailed instructions necessary for successfully completing the operation.
  • Less Downtime – the occurrence of a machine failure or breakdown can lead to downtime issues. It gets even worse without the availability of required parts to fix the machines. With a maintenance software, you will be alerted when certain parts are necessary before a machine experiences breakdown. This, in return, leads to less downtime.
  • Prolonged Equipment Life – since you can perform maintenance quickly and easily with a maintenance software, it means you can prolong the lifespan of your equipment. At the same time, it will also help you save on costs and replacements in the long run.
  • Easy Management – the system can update and record information about your equipment. As an equipment breaks down, it will be easy for the employees to troubleshoot the problem. Moreover, it also allows them to add and manage information easily.

Is It Worth It?

Even though a maintenance software is not a one-for-all cure to any maintenance issues, it can help promote a more efficient and productive workplace. It strengthens your maintenance operations by gathering every maintenance information you need into a single system.

It is also capable of checking available labor, spare parts, equipment status, and any other important data depending on your setup. The process of getting information which took minutes or hours to complete can now be done in just a matter of seconds.

As a result, maintenance managers can get an even better control of their respective department. It also allows them to prevent any administrative or scheduling mistakes from taking place sometime in the future.

The Bottom Line

The cost-saving opportunities that a maintenance software offers can be huge. However, it’s important to pick the right system featuring the right functionality. You also need to work with the right partner in order to get the highest ROI possible.

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Top 3 IoT Applications in the Maintenance Industry

As the IoT becomes a large part of our lives and in the tech sector, we must learn how to embrace it and use it wisely. The IoT is being incorporated in many areas today. The IoT is becoming quite common in the maintenance industry.

Are you ready to incorporate the IoT into your maintenance strategy? Read below to learn three applications that smart maintenance managers are utilizing across the industry.

1.) Connected Machines

Communication is much more than just written and spoken word. Take it from connected machines, which systematically work together via machine-to-machine  (M2M) communication.

Maintenance managers use M2M techniques to collect data on KPIs, such as assets, which are most likely to breakdown or the main causes of unscheduled downtime.

Coupled with IoT sensors, M2M data helps maintenance managers gain understanding into how often an asset is underperforming, or how long it’s been since the last work order was performed. Using this data, managers can map out when interruption will occur and tie this data back to their preventive schedules to improve uptime.

Examples of strategies maintenance teams can use to collect M2M data include:

  • Vibration analysis: Gauges machine vibration to identify potential failures.
  • Infrared thermography: Detects radiation to measure and analyze the heat of objects.
  • Ultrasound: Helps to hear issues that we normally cannot like a gas leak.
  • Tribology: Measures particles in fluids that prove mechanical wear.
  • Motor circuit analysis: Analyzes motor health through detection of electrical imbalances.
  • Laser alignment: Assists in the aligning of rotating machines.

2.) Improved Inventory Management

Using the IoT, maintenance managers can connect their stockrooms to track orders, incoming shipments or low stock.

For instance, the maintenance team has the ability to collect data remotely via sensors that tracks when certain inventory may be low. From there, they’re able to connect this sort of data collection to a software device to produce alerts when certain stock may be close to out.

If you depend on the power of a cloud based CMMS, connect your stockroom with your tool to automate reorders, generate inventory reports and track costs to avoid shortages and improve budget. This results in fewer emergency inventory orders and less downtime due to out-of-stock inventory to fulfill a work order.

3.) Preventive Maintenance Strategies

By now, you’ve certainly heard the benefits of a preventive maintenance schedule. But with time constraints and downtime occurring on the daily, it probably seems like an overwhelming task to implement.

The IoT is helping the maintenance industry bust out of the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality to improve operational efficiencies, reduce costly downtime and better predict equipment failures.

Managers can depend on sensors to track certain KPIs and gather the best hard data like average technician response times, average length of downtime or technician efficiency into their preventive maintenance schedule with the help of the IoT. Try embedding sensors on devices to track abnormal conditions. From there, generate alerts when unscheduled downtime is approaching to implement an easy preventive maintenance schedule.

Use a CMMS? Make sure to take a look at the reliability centered maintenance guide. Coordinate these sensors to communicate with your CMMS to auto-generate work orders or notifications that a repair is needed soon. The benefits of your connected CMMS range from less unscheduled downtime to more efficient technicians.

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Canadian E-Commerce hits its Stride


Despite trailing behind expectations for a number of years and harbouring a laggard approach to shifting its retail industry online, the Canadian e-commerce industry is picking up the pace. With a host of technology companies equipped with technical expertise and funding, it is predicted that 10% of all retail spending will be performed online in 2019, a leap from the 6% predicted in 2014. In 2013, only 13% of business was conducted online, as illustrated by the most recent year which Statistics Canada surveyed trends on digital technology and Internet use.

With the aim of re-invigorating shopping methodology, which had become stagnant, and simultaneously enabling merchants to improve productivity and optimise costs, online business transformation has reverberated over the Canadian e-commerce industry. Four companies, spanning four categories of transformation, lead the pack:

  1. Digital Shopfronts

Merchants can focus on ideating more important strategic pathways from knowing that the online infrastructure of their store is handled by these companies. Digital customers increasingly require aesthetic appeal from the platform they are using to purchase products. Shopify allows a multi-channel retailing experience which handles marketing, payments, secure checkout, shipping functions whilst allowing a customisation of personalised store theme to suit the ‘look and feel’ of shopping in your online website. Entrepreneurs are enabled to manage a limitless number of products and keep track of inventory levels and reviews of products, thus boosting sales traction and potential.

  1. Consumer Direct Experiences

Instead of comparing and contrasting products physically, customers can purchase a widening range of goods and services from websites replicating the traditional ‘look and feel’ of a bricks and mortar store. Busbud shortens the effort needed to research and book bus tickets by providing a clean user interface. Their vision, to arm travellers with the technological know-how to efficiently obtain information like bus schedules, reviews, prices, service classes and stopping points, paves the way for more mobile intercity travel and a more acceptable environmental impact. Imagine arriving at a foreign country and having to negotiate your way through a labyrinth of streets and intelligible words to be overcharged on an incorrect bus fare! Luckily, Labyrinth services over 60 countries.

  1. Customer Metric Optimisation

Technology in this category allows customers to shop with more information on hand through the targeted promotion of special offers. These special offers are determined from devices such as Aislelabs’ marketing software which analyses and provides estimates of passenger flows (e.g. for airports). Wi-Fi tracked metrics behaviourally analyses in-store shoppers, in turn empowering merchants with information to target promotions to particular demographics and product preference trends. With Aislelabs’ deep learning engine, social media campaigns (engrained in today’s shopping OOTD experience) are re-configured and improved from the return on investment data provided.

  1. Processing of transaction

The focus is on streamlining financial payments, on the side of both merchants and consumers. SelfPay SDK expands the scope of product information available to shoppers whilst in store, and allows them to purchase items using a mobile checkout without having to wait in line. With research by Deloitte showing customer sentiment favouring self-learning of product details rather than speaking to a sales associate, this is a highly efficient alternative for merchants looking to improve customer convenience and accelerate sales revenue.

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4 Ecommerce Startups to Watch in 2017

The tech scene in Canada has been growing rapidly and many new companies are coming to the forefront all the time. We whittled down our extensive list of startups in the highly competitive ecommerce space to four that we really think are going to set the world on fire in 2018. Each one in their own way has beaten a path to success by finding a problem and then developing a new and innovative way to solve that problem.


Askuity is a new startup aiming to bridge the information gap between retailers and their suppliers. Their web and mobile based software platform connects retailers and suppliers and through data and analytics allows them to collaborate, plan and execute strategy. By accessing all the retail outlets where their items are sold, suppliers can quickly understand what is selling and what is not and adjust production accordingly. Askuity is a favourite of the venture capital community and has successfully completed three funding rounds.


Hopper is a price prediction app that can tell you when it is the best time to fly to save money. Available on both Android and IOS is has been a runaway success not just in Canada but has taken off worldwide. In its latest iteration it takes its price prediction technology and applies it to hotel bookings as well. It uses big data to predict future events and has collected 10 million price quotes from 500 hotels in New York. Initially this feature will only be available for the New York market but plans are afoot to begin a roll out globally sometime in 2018.


Lodlois is a site that offers comprehensive reviews of ecommerce sites. The growing online review market has become increasingly important as consumers search for trusted sources to help them make purchasing decisions. Survey show that 92% of people read online reviews prior to making a purchasing decision and that young people. An important demographic to marketers. Are more likely to use an online review to make a decision than any other source. The firm has recently expanded and is gaining a strong reputation as a discount offers site. The site has been steadily building a following and we expect good things in 2018.

Stack STK

Stack STK is a pioneer in POS cryptocurrency payments and is in the process of rolling out the world’s first contactless payment system that utilizes a multi currency crypto wallet. The beauty off their offer is that you will no longer have to convert your cryptocurrency in advance of your shopping trip. You can keep all your money safely in Bitcoin and only convert the part you want to spend instantly at checkout. This may very well be the application that brings cryptocurrency to a much wider audience as it makes it much easier to purchase things. Stack STK is currently doing an ICO and will be making their product available in Canada in the first quarter of 2018 with a US debut around mid year.

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Property agents beware: 5 tech innovations that are putting agents out of business


Some observers say that technology will affect real estate in much more challenging ways than the logistics industry. This includes all players in the industry including real estate powerhouses.

Whether you like it or not, the real estate industry is rising to these challenges by fully embracing technology and if you are an agent, that may render you obsolete as owners and developers soon may be able to engage their customers directly, leaving you in the lurch.

But instead of retreating into a dark room reading anti-technology diatribes by John Zerzan or fighting against the tides like certain big hotels taking shots at the home sharing industry, fret not. If the findings of The National Association of REALTORS®’ 2016 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers survey are anything to go by (more buyers are using agents now compared to 1981), you are not in any pertinent danger…yet.

Nevertheless, it won’t hurt to stay in the know about what you may be up against. Here are 5 technological innovations that you should be wary of.

1. Listing and Search

Let’s talk about the first part of your process, finding tenants.

With search and listing technology from 42floors to Liquidspace, listing your property on a property listing website is a no-brainer and SEO techniques as well as paid advertising mean that you no longer need to run around finding tenants.

2. Due Diligence

As if the owner sidestepping you wasn’t enough, tenants now no longer need an agent to tell them what they need to know. The real estate space now has digitized access to information. Just check out homesnap! Neighborhood statistics? No problem. With dwellr you can find out about schools nearby as well as crime rates.

3. Enhanced viewing

With YouVisit, Google’s instant street view and Pix4D , the viewing aspect of your job can now be handled by the customer online and virtually. Partnering with Matterport, Sotheby’s International Realty has introduced VR and 3D tours online. Virtual tours transport customers into the property where they can walk around and even stretch their limbs to get an idea of the space without having to be physically let in with a key. They can even customize the property by making structural changes or alter furniture.

4. Property Management

Using platforms such as AppFolio or ClickNotices, you may no longer be required for interfacing with tenants. Through technology, tenants can submit maintenance requests through mobile and owners get real-time updates and can manage rent rolls…etc. They can even incorporate smart home systems and IoT devices to control the facilities of a multistory office building, manage multifamily properties and more.

5. Digital Contracts

When it’s time to ‘seal the deal’, meetings to sign documentation (or even conduct home inspections) can be done digitally with digital contracts that can incorporate hyperlinks and other interactivity. Signing digitally also saves time.

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The rise of genetic testing in Canada’s health system

Ever since American biologist James Watson and English physicist Francis Crick first discovered DNA in the 1950’s it has held out the promise to revolutionize medicine and the treatment of disease. The potential to screen for diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Cancer and a myriad of other diseases with a genetic component meant that science would for the first time be able to treat disease even before the first symptoms had appeared. It is only now, over 60 years later, that we are seeing the first use of genetic testing to screen people for disease that they may develop later in life.

These developments in our technological ability raises all sort of ethical questions that have not yet been answered. Some of the companies that are pioneering the widespread use of genetic testing are trying to answer these questions. Geisinger Health System of Pennsylvania has launched the MyCode Community Health Initiative which aims to test the DNA of 166,000 participants. The study is not only doing the sequencing in the hopes of gaining greater understanding of how to prevent and treat disease. Geisinger also hopes to answer the questions surrounding how primary care physicians deal with telling patients about defective genes and the challenges of the follow-up with relatives who could also be at risk.

Many genetic testing companies have emerged that will screen your DNA for a host of genetic diseases for a fee. The most widely known being silicon valley startup 23andMe. There is an ongoing debate about the efficacy of genetic testing when it is not supervised by a Doctor and conducted solely by a lab. Many in the medical community see the potential for genetic testing done by companies who can back up the results with strong scientific data but caution that without the proper supervision this could end up being easily abused.

This also pales in comparison to the opportunities for abuse that arise when we extend genetic testing into the area of human reproduction. We have witnessed the effect that just being able to determine the gender of an embryo has had in promoting selective abortion in the developing world. We may be about to witness something similar as genetic testing of embryos becomes routine. Would people chose to abort an otherwise viable embryo if the genetic tests shows a predisposition to Type 2 Diabetes? Alcoholism? Or just the wrong eye colour? Where do we draw the ethical line? When you start to get involved with people and their future children you open up a potential legal and ethical minefield were the right answers may not come only from medicine but also the courts.

Genetic testing has great promise and will in all likelihood become as routine as today’s standard blood test. Though currently it can be quite expensive and not all medical insurance currently will cover it. There are still a lot of unanswered questions about how we deal with the information that this testing gives us and how that information should be treated and who should have access to it. Hopefully in the next few years those questions will be answered.

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