How Software Became a Building Manager’s Best Friend

The job of the building manager is rapidly changing—and Internet of Things (IoT) technology is behind that change. Indeed, assistant building managers are increasingly likely to be Artificial Intelligence (AI) rather than human beings.

Anyone who has worked in an office building—or even stayed in a college dorm—knows that changes in weather can make the building too hot or too cold, at least until the building manager changes the system from heat to air conditioning, or vice versa. Then the system is working hard to get the temperature to where it is supposed to be, while everyone in the building is either too hot or too cold. Even if the manager gets the building to the right temperature for most of the people, there are always those rooms that never quite match the rest of the building.

Maintenance faces similar problems. The ideal situation would be to have a system where building managers could do pre-maintenance after hours to ensure very little downtime. With current systems, more often than not someone has to put in a maintenance request with the building manager, who then arranges with maintenance to work on the problem, who tries to schedule it around the other work he or she already has to do. It is inefficient and prone to human error, but it is what residents or tenants have had to work with for years.

With smart buildings, these issues could easily become a thing of the past.

AI can not only improve building comfort throughout the day and in each and every room, it can also simultaneously reduce energy costs. Energy usage changes based on building usage and occupation rate throughout the day, heat from people and machines, and present and future weather conditions.

A smart system is able to adjust for all of these factors, as well as current and desired room conditions, patterns of room use, and even the changing supply of renewable energy or energy prices. A system that could reduce energy usage when nobody is in a room and prepare the building before anyone arrives would improve both comfort and costs—and this is precisely what AI can bring a building manager.

There are also a number of building maintenance software packages out there that can help better coordinate building maintenance. They can help manage work orders, equipment, inventory, and track patterns of breakdown to allow a manager to schedule preventative maintenance. There are probably few ways more effective at keeping tenants happy and costs down than being able to do preventative maintenance right before a larger problem occurs.

Building managers are going to be able to find a fantastic partner in the combination of IoT, AI, and software being developed for building management. The assistant building manager of the future is going to have AI—and that will keep everyone comfortable, including the accountant.

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