THE SMART CHOICE With sustainability at the forefront of most companies’ strategies, IoT devices can also track water and energy consumption for planned or unplanned maintenance issues
Innovative technology solutions are changing the landscape in which commercial and industrial property is managed. This is particularly valuable in facility and maintenance management, says technology company Smartee CEO Nivashnee Ramparsad.
She explains that Internet of Things (IoT) innovation is assisting the automation of property management and enabling informed real-time decisions by business entities. The benefits of a connected network of IoT devices within a commercial property is that, through the collection of data and analysis of the information received, owners and operators are able to manage their buildings efficiently.
“The latest technology trend to hit the commercial and industrial property management toolkit is smart IoT devices that can remotely monitor and provide updates on the physical environment, unauthorised access and theft and tampering with physical infrastructure.”
Ramparsad says IoT devices are wireless, battery-operated units with core functionality that provide real-time data to a secure software platform. With sustainability at the forefront of most companies’ strategies, IoT devices can also track water and energy consumption for planned or unplanned maintenance issues.
“If you are in property management then IoT devices with an automated real-time dashboard will be able to [provide] insights into, [for example] temperature-controlled environments for energy-saving and cost reduction in energy usage.”
She explains that Sigfox-connected devices can provide information such as temperature sensing, humidity and carbon-dioxide emissions. “This functionality becomes particularly useful when companies are carefully moderating temperatures in workplaces such as cold refrigeration, and temperature-sensitive inventory. [By] using a real-time dashboard to update and monitor temperatures, damage to goods can be avoided.”
Further, she notes that smart devices and camera systems can be strategically placed and remotely monitored to determine if there is a safety threat to employees on site. “Automated notifications can then be sent to security companies to notify them when a threat on the property is determined.”
IoT devices can also provide real-time notifications of unauthorised access as well as monitor entrances and exits. This is especially important in schools and in the management of transport systems, says Ramparsad.
“Building managers that use IoT can apply small, low-energy transmission devices to all assets within their environments to quickly count assets on the property in real time. These devices can be applied to desks, chairs and computers. The same system can also be used at schools for classroom register updates and student counting.”
Ramparsad adds that clients in the retail and fast-moving consumer goods sector are making use of the Smartee 360 product for the management of their returnable packaging when delivered to distribution centres. “Staff at the centres can easily count assets using a simple click of a button.”
Meanwhile, property owners and developers are making use of smart locks and seals to manage the tampering of electrical meters on site.
“With the use of systems such as the Smartee Security Seal, property developers and commercial property managers will receive immediate notifications of when tampering is detected. This system is particularly useful for commercial and residential properties where tampering of electrical and storage units needs to be monitored.”
Finally, she notes that IoT devices placed on medical equipment in hospitals and healthcare centres can provide medical staff with the location of these units during emergencies. This method of management of equipment can be applied to other sectors such as construction, and can assist project managers with managing stock levels and goods.
“A particularly useful application is in the transport industry where companies want to monitor their fleets or third-party suppliers.”
The “real” value of IoT is the data collected by the system and the resulting insights into key aspects of commercial and industrial property, such as predictive maintenance, the application of automation in certain business areas, and the availability of accurate information to reduce costs and implement business solutions.
“This move towards technology is providing a host of benefits for companies in South Africa and globally too,” Ramparsad concludes.