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Are information technology and robotics the remedy for increasing employment costs?

Posted By Knight Frank | 26 February 2018 | Proptech

Facility management, security and cleaning costs make up to 25% of operating costs. They are a significant component, the amount of which is linked directly to employing staff. The latest changes in the law regarding employment (the extension of obligatory social securities to contracts) and the raising of the minimum hourly wage, resulted in significant costs raises already in 2016. The cost then rose once again on January 1st, 2017, after the minimum salary and the minimum hourly waged were raised. This led to searching for solutions how to limit the number of employees by implementing IT and robotics on a larger scale.

Expanded CCTV systems and electronic access control have been the standard used in property security for a long time. New technologies such as virtual reception desks and smart security desk systems offering self-service touchpads to the guests help limit the presence of receptionists in buildings, while the mobile accepting of guests by tenants simplifies the work of both the main reception and the tenants. Entities managing properties are supported by modern helpdesk platforms used for communication between facility managers and tenants. This solution enables the property manager or the general provider to participate in the communication. Thanks to their implementation, the notification service and reporting time can be reduced up to 50%. Mobile devices equipped with online applications for reports and protocols during technical inspections are yet another example of the use of modern technologies. They can also work in offline mode when there is no access to Wi-Fi. These applications resemble reality in virtual form, enabling many entities to perform a simultaneous analysis of the property without the need to actually visit it. The most interesting technologies which can be implemented in widely understood property management are offered by IoT (Internet of Things). Beacons installed in rooms examine surrounding parameters. The collected data is transmitted via the Internet and processed. This technology may find a very wide use: starting from monitoring the performance of facility managers by optimizing their actions to overseeing and providing property security. In the near future, these technologies will make the presence of security staff in buildings outside of business hours obsolete, in favour of a patrol system and mobile technical teams.

To sum up, achievements in implanting IT and robotics in supporting human work are increasingly significant and are changing the way properties are managed every day. The question arises how much will the implementation of such solutions cost? In case of devices and applications supporting facility managers and security staff, the costs are included first and foremost in the service charges. For applications supporting property management, the cost is usually carried by the property manager. Nowadays, it is hard for us to imagine an office building without a receptionist, security guard or technician. But that may as change sooner than we expect.

Magdalena Oksańska
Knight Frank

We are part of Knight Frank LLP - the largest global independent international real estate consultancy.Headquartered in London, The Knight Frank Group and its New York-based partner, Newmark Grubb Knight Frank has more than 15,000 people and operates from over 418 offices throughout Europe, Asia Pacific, Africa, the Middle East and the Americas, focusing on all the prime residential and commercial property markets of the world.

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We gather proptech specialists from different parts of the world in order to create a platform for thoughts exchange and sharing a knowledge. Velis Real Estate Tech brings together like-minded professionals in the field of technology in a commercial real estate. Our company creates technology for buildings which transforms the way you operate in them. Velis’ own solutions, provided for property and facility managers as well as owners and tenants, are based on the newest technology, including Internet of Things sensors.