IFMA Slice of Orange Newsletter. August 2023.

Would you like X-Ray Vision?


Hidden behind walls, out of sight, critical pipes carrying water, natural gas; cables carrying data and electricity; venti- lation pipes carrying cool or warm air, are the norm in most commercial buildings. The average visitor to the building, say a hospital can easily be overwhelmed at the sight of these pipes and cables, yet these are very important for the facilities management team. They need to see them, they need to see thru those walls, they need to know where everything is and what each pipe connects to, so that they can always maintain and ensure the proper functioning of these conduits. So how does one develop X-Ray vision?

Hiding behind walls?

In older buildings the pipes were unsightly so when they were upgraded, some sheet rock covered them leaving access to those that needed the access. In newer buildings, it’s about aesthetics, after all a network of cables and pipes can intimi- date someone not used to working with them. Keeping the pipes behind walls or beneath the floor or above the ceiling also protects these vulnerable conduits, someone would not intentionally or unintentionally hang stuff on them or use them as a rail for example.

What do they do?

From water to heating gas to cooling air, pipes carry them throughout the building; cables carry data for internet, telephone land lines, security, power of course. These cables usually hidden out of sight are like the blood vessels of the building, they carry essentials all thru the building. The pipes are usually of different diameters for its specific purpose, the cables are usually color coded and tied, sometimes tagged with information. Both the inside and outside of these pipes are usually maintained and are critical.

Why 24/7 access to pipes?

These pipes are rarely thought of until something breaks or leaks and needs to be attended to right away. Facilities man- agement require access on a 24/7 basis: for maintenance, repairs, and monitoring. Third party monitoring by security companies, new install or upgrade personnel need access, utilities technicians also need access. Apart from repairs, there is preventive maintenance, for example painting metal pipes so they don’t rust, checking to make sure the insulation is ample and intact for power cables etc. When there is a leak in a pipe or a cable chewed by mice, its useful to know which pipe connects to what circuit, which shutoff valve or switch connects to which line etc. Audits also require the inspectors to check pipes, test them for compliance etc. When a building is sold, usually inspectors and appraisers might also want access to these networks of pipes to draw conclusions about their condition and upgrade needs.

A better way to access

In most cases those who need access to these pipes refer to a diagram on a sheet of paper or a map on the wall. This is how they access in majority of the buildings today; needless to say, some of these pipes are hard to find, during urgent repair sit- uations, every passing minute makes the situation progressively worse, third-party technicians or new employees unfamiliar with the building will struggle, paper maps or diagrams are rarely intuitive. There is a better way: Using an app like the one from InMapz puts the building’s digital twin in your hands, everything is searchable, all the pipes can be ‘seen’ on the app, you will essentially have X-Ray vision. Locating pipes behind walls fast, wayfinding to get to them and access to historical information, helps solve problems fast.

About InMapz

Founded by MIT and Caltech engineers, InMapz is a proptech software platform that creates digital twins of commercial build- ings through an automated process. InMapz integrates floor plans, mechanical layouts, devices, sensors, and controls into one wholistic digital model of a building. Each element in a digital twin can become a smart object with its own attributes such as GPS location, model number, serial number, photographs, and so forth. For example, conference rooms, HVAC equipment, IoT sensors, etc. can be extracted from the floor plan. Users can easily add, edit, and delete other mechanicals. Rather than having to go to the office to pull up paper floor plans and cross-reference spreadsheets, users can access their building’s digital twin via the InMapz app or web browser on the phone, tablet, or laptop. Through selection and filtering options, users can both visualize on the digital twin and see a list of whatever smart objects are specified.

InMapz saves time and money for facilities managers, building auditors, third party maintenance teams, emergency response personnel, airport travelers, trade show organizers and attendees. The company has mapped billions of square feet, includ- ing over 300 international airports, 1500 worldwide malls, hospitals, schools, universities, trade shows, office buildings, data centers, factories, and hotels.

To InMapz your building, please visit

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