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December 13, 2018 -
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If you’re still looking for that perfect gift for a facility manager on your list, take a look at these suggestions. A rechargeable self-heating beverage mug. Just as your manager friend is about to take a nice warm sip of life-giving java, something inevitably pulls her away. And it can happen a hundred times in a row, leaving her with a sad, cold, dead cup of coffee. A thriftier alternative is a super-insulated beverage mug, the kind made by the uberfancy ice chest folks. As a bonus, this alternative does not add to the facility’s plug load. Pair it with a pound of local coffee beans or loose leaf tea, and you are the gift-giving winner this year! Item locator tags. Several manufacturers make these tags, which are intended to stick on either a keyring or on items such as iPads. Why a tag? The one thing FMs do not have is time. This gift will save your friend the time of searching for a critical item. Commercial-grade versions of this tech also exist for facilities-level concerns, such as making sure infusion pumps don’t wander away in a hospital or keeping track of a media cart in a school. Give this to your FM friend who needs reminders to set up reminders — you know, the one with sticky notes all over his computer screen. An infrared camera attachment for smartphones. While not nearly as refined as the commercial versions available from a few manufacturers, these attachments still help to visualize problem areas around a facility, augmenting understanding of the way a piece of equipment is running or where the air leak is coming from in a door frame. An FM also could use it to get a heads up to look into an issue more closely. Fun applications outside of work incude near-range night vision and super-fun selfies. Mesh antennas for texting without cell towers. Why? The primary responsibility of any FM is ensuring the life safety of facility occupants. In an emergency, normal communications avenues can become compromised. Mesh antennas pair with a smartphone to create a standalone mesh network that allows point-to-point texts. An FM team with these clipped to their belts would have a self-healing, standalone communications network at their disposal. Emergency response teams across the country are adopting this technology. If your FM friend is an outdoor enthusiast, a pair of antennas also would provide GPS capability and communication in the backcountry. Of course, gifts don’t have to be things you can wrap. If funds are tight, take your FM friend out for lunch to let them know how much you appreciate all that they do. After all, the gift of gratitude is priceless. Naomi Millán is senior editor, Building Operating Management.