CGL Facility Management and AWS Partner QModo AI Improve Efficiency of Building Maintenance
CGL Facility Management (CGL) increased the efficiency of its maintenance services and boosted employee and customer retention by using a solution powered by AWS Partner QModo AI (QModo). The maintenance services provider wanted to help its technicians become more efficient and to simply and rapidly onboard new hires. It used artificial intelligence (AI) solutions from AWS and QModo to streamline and automate facility management, becoming QModo’s first customer. Using the solution from QModo on AWS, CGL sees time savings of 10 percent for technicians, supports technicians in quickly resolving equipment issues, and improves the operational reliability of customers’ facilities.
Teaming up to Build a Solution to an Industry-Wide Challenge
The over 400 maintenance technicians at CGL, a maintenance services provider, faced obstacles to efficiency as they worked to make their facilities across the United States operate smoothly. Information to fix equipment was scattered across locations and systems, so technicians wasted time looking for an answer rather than repairing technology. When long-term technicians retired, they took their institutional knowledge with them, and CGL had to be prepared to quickly onboard new hires.
So, when AWS Partner QModo AI approached CGL with an idea for a solution to streamline facility management, the company decided to become not just the first customer but a build partner as well. Using Amazon Web Services (AWS), QModo and CGL developed a product that maximizes return on investment across facility teams and technologies to reduce business interruption, improve emergency response, and strengthen compliance.
QModo gives us a technical advantage because we have videos on maintaining highly specialized equipment.”
CEO of Facility Management, CGL Facility Management
Seeking to Empower Maintenance Technicians to Fix Equipment Fast
CGL maintains more than 25 million square feet of state and local jails, prisons, courthouses, and higher-education campuses in all 50 US states. The company aims to have technicians spend 90–95 percent of their total working hours on equipment. Yet when technicians had to diagnose a problem, they wasted up to an hour walking between the equipment and their office, where the equipment information was stored. Facilities ranged up to 1 million square feet, and campuses spanned 300 acres.
Exacerbating the inefficiency was that many of CGL’s technicians, who had accumulated institutional knowledge over decades, were nearing retirement. “How do you transfer that information to a junior person on the team to protect the organization?” says Greg Cory, chief product officer at QModo. “In healthcare, manufacturing, and criminal justice, where the buildings are more complicated, the complexity goes up in order of magnitude. Meeting regulations, compliance, and safety standards on a daily to quarterly basis is critical to running those organizations.”
In November 2019, QModo incorporated with CGL as its first customer. The company used AWS-managed solutions to take its knowledge management solution from ideation to minimum viable product in just 7 months—6 months faster than it could have otherwise—at a 50 percent lower cost. “For us to build this stuff would have required too much money and too many developers,” says Cory. QModo then built a mobile app for the solution in just 4 months and at 65 percent lower cost using AWS Amplify DataStore, an on-device storage engine that automatically synchronizes data between mobile and web apps and databases on AWS to help users build near-real-time and offline apps faster.
Solving Unique Customer Challenges Using AI and AWS
QModo became an AWS Partner soon after it was incorporated, using AWS to build a highly scalable, customizable, user-friendly solution for higher education, healthcare, manufacturing, managed services, and commercial real estate sectors. The solution ingests customers’ disparate content—like building design files and heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning; plumbing; and electrical schematics—and then uses AI on the backend of a simple interface to help end users make decisions. QModo’s solution started out with over 11 GB of data. It now handles over 10 TB of data and expects to handle petabytes by 2026; to scale to meet that demand, QModo uses a serverless AWS architecture.
AI is the key to making QModo’s app simple to use for people who aren’t comfortable with technology. When technicians or other end users search for information on the app, QModo converts their search intent into what they’re actually looking for by using Amazon Lex, a fully managed AI service with advanced natural language models to design, build, test, and deploy conversational interfaces in applications. Taking advantage of Amazon Kendra, an intelligent enterprise search service that users employ to search across different content repositories with built-in connectors, QModo gives end users access to all the information they need in one place. To interpret customers’ content, QModo uses Amazon Textract, a machine learning service that automatically extracts text, handwriting, and data from scanned documents.
QModo launched its solution two to three times faster on AWS than it could have otherwise. “If we tried to build the solution in 6 months without AWS by using another company or open-source libraries, we wouldn’t have been able to offer nearly as many features, and the user experience wouldn’t have been as good for the customer,” says Cory. “The time for anything we do is cut in half because we use AWS.”
We can white-label our solution, configure it to each facility’s unique circumstances, and add depth with features. Every time a customer asks us, ‘Hey, can you guys do this?’ we can quickly plug a feature into the solution because of AWS.”
CEO, QModo AI
Streamlining Facility Management with a Flexible, Configurable Solution
QModo’s app provides relevant documentation in a simple interface that helps onboard and train staff and quickly supports them in emergency situations, like a water pipe break. It also streamlines routine maintenance, daily checklists, and monthly tests. CGL’s technicians see a 10 percent time savings by using QModo, which amounts to 90,000 hours per year. “QModo gives us a technical advantage because we have videos on maintaining highly specialized equipment,” says Joe Lee, CEO of facility management at CGL. “It increases employee retention and puts a less experienced person at the level of a more experienced person. QModo also helps us institutionalize taking care of equipment that is no longer supported by the manufacturer.”
CGL has adopted QModo’s solution and branded it for customers as CGL MobileMind powered by QModo AI. “We created this very flexible, configurable solution by taking advantage of the feature functionalities of AWS,” says Mark Morel, CEO at QModo. “We can white-label our solution, configure it to each facility’s unique circumstances, and add depth with features. Every time a customer asks us, ‘Hey, can you guys do this?’ we can quickly plug a feature into the solution because of AWS.”
CGL MobileMind powered by QModo AI helps CGL retain customers who had planned to manage their own facilities. For example, a Texas courthouse that had considered retaking responsibility over its own maintenance chose instead to use the app to help transition and train staff to maintain its $333 million state-of-the-art building. When the courthouse requests a new feature, like a search function on an operation manual, QModo can add it in 1–2 days.
Adding New Features to Serve More Customers
As of November 2022, nearly 600 buildings are using QModo’s software. CGL is well prepared for its expected growth to 50 million square feet by 2027. The company might introduce operational reviews to the app so that customers can review and forecast operational efficiency and improve energy consumption. “With the complexity of our product, we wouldn’t have been able to figure out some issues and get it right the first time without help from subject-matter experts and solutions architects at AWS,” says Cory. “As the solution has grown to serve more customers, so has the depth of the solution on AWS.”
About CGL Facility Management
CGL Facility Management is the facility maintenance division of CGL Companies, a services provider for criminal justice facilities across the United States since 1974. It offers maintenance and management for local and state-level jails, prisons, courthouses, and higher-education institutions.
AWS Services Used
- 10% time savings for technicians
- Adds features in 1–2 days
- Built minimum viable product in 7 months
- Cut development costs to build mobile app by 65%
- Increased employee retention
- Boosted customer retention
- Maintained reliability of customers’ buildings
- Institutionalizes equipment management
About the AWS Partner QModo AI
QModo AI provides a knowledge management solution for organizations in healthcare, higher education, commercial real estate, managed services, and other industries. Engineers and technicians use it to quickly access the knowledge they need to safely maintain and repair buildings and equipment.
Published March 2023