What commercial property owners can benefit from automation and AI

The constant labour shortage and the economic processes are weighing heavily on property owners who are looking to quickly cut costs or improve asset values. These owners can rely on automation technology, machine learning and robotics for supporting tasks like facility management, security, inventory and supply management, and even attracting new tenants.


Automation and AI technology have transformed many industries from healthcare to banking to retail. And while the commercial real estate market was not an early adopter, it is definitely another industry beginning to benefit from this type of technology. Buildings.com listed several ways robotics, AI technology and automation will benefit commercial real estate property owners.


Data for better property management

While there’s been a consolidation of commercial real estate and corporate offices following the pandemic, better insight into buildings and occupancy across all of these sites is necessary. 


Robotics and AI technology could help property managers collect and measure data to:

  • Determine which spaces are really being used and which ones aren’t. Is it feasible to downsize? 
  • With facial recognition, badge identification or security check-in the FM can tell you who is in the office and who isn’t. How many visitors do you get?
  • Using robots for better mapping entire buildings by providing a geospatial layout of offices and the atmospherics, including lighting, sound and environmental conditions throughout the day.
  • Extra services, such as a concierge service where robots can assist with visitor management or navigating the office.
  • With AI-supported up-to-date inventory, managers can predict how many supplies they need, how much food to order and in what locations.
  • Robots integrated with camera systems could even patrol blind spots in a workspace.
  • Leveraging robots’ cameras and environmental sensors integrated with the HVAC system could allow for better manage energy usage for employees who are actually in the office.


Security cost-cutting 

With the remote and hybrid work-from-home models, there have been lower occupancy rates in corporate offices. Companies are right-sizing their office and while occupancy rates have dropped, facilities management costs have gone up and are projected to further increase in 2023. This tendency is putting a bigger squeeze on commercial property owners.


But one way they can cut costs quickly is to bring in automation for facility management and security. Corporate offices still need to be maintained properly, and security for both personnel and intellectual property is critical, but all of these tasks do not need to be performed by security guards all the time.


With a robotically delivered remote guarding service, companies can get an annotated picture of their facility for all inspection points of patrol, completing all of the security and facility tasks at a fraction of the cost. This includes checking on door alarms or walking around desks. By automating these routine, mundane tasks, guards can respond to more serious security issues that require human judgment.


Maintaining uniformity across properties

For property managers, one of the major marks they need to hit are inspections, and many of these inspections are measuring whether the owner’s sites have the same look and feel across all locations. 


Some property owners want entry into their buildings to be universal across the organization, and the same physical security procedures are in place at all offices as well. But office uniformity also includes how you handle – across buildings – what areas of the office are open to the public and which are for employees, as well as how and when you deploy security guards or automated services. Automation technology can make all of these procedures simple to replicate across various offices and building sites.


Appealing to tech-savvy tenants

People are now used to having mobile technology at their fingertips and they’re going to look for that same level of convenience when it comes to where they work. This could mean mobile check-in on their devices instead of carrying around security badges, or digital kiosks with maps and information. And having smart robots who can escort visitors, perform security checks and ride the elevators is certainly a fun and cool factor for employees to see in their office.


While the commercial real estate market is certainly feeling the effects of a down economy, low occupancy rates and a slow return to the office, property owners can leverage technology innovation to improve overall efficiencies. From streamlining facility maintenance and security tasks to improving inventory management and energy use to replicating uniformity and building access, AI and automation will play an important role in cutting costs and improving the bottom line for commercial property owners.


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