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Habitat Magazine Business of Management 2021

HABITAT

ARCHIVE ARTICLE

Tune In To Your Building

Smart building technology is an evolving field, and now Buildinglink, the online residential property management software company, has a new division called Aware. Available to both Buildinglink customers and non-Buildinglink users, Aware has introduced a smart sensor system that connects various sensors placed throughout a building with a series of hubs that track and analyze the information gathered by the sensors. The various systems can monitor:

  • elevator usage and mechanical behavior,
  • parking lot usage,
  • Individual door traffic,
  • fitness center equipment usage and maintenance,
  • rooftop mechanical systems,
  • and pipes and leaks within the building’s walls.

“We started out with the fitness-center application in 2018,” says Michael Hejtmanek, vice president of business development at Aware. Those fitness center sensors help building staff track how many people are using the various machines, as well as which ones may need maintenance or repairs. When connected to the BuildingLink platform, the sensors can also let residents know if the fitness center is busy, or if a particular machine is free.

According to Hejtmanek, the Aware water-leak-detection system is gaining traction. “What hits home really hard for people, universally, is leaks,” he says. “Once we install a wireless network in the building, you can install leak-detection sensors anywhere in the building. You can install them in the basement and in the common areas, or you can put them into the residents’ units.” Since the sensors do not require a plumber for installation, residents or a building super can install them in apartments. Sensors are priced individually starting at $70, with additional devices required for a monitored system. Since water leaks are a major cause of insurance claims, this leak-detection investment could not only mitigate damage from leaks but also increases in insurance costs.

One of the most interesting additions to the system is a device called an annunciator. “It’s a way of getting the attention of someone who needs to know about a leak,” says Hejtmanek. “If the person at the front desk is busy, they may have 10 people that they talk to before they look at their phone. So even if there are text messages and emails coming into their phone, telling them that there's an issue, they're not seeing it.” The Aware annunciator audibly alerts staff to whatever problem needs immediate assistance, helping building staff catch problems early and potentially preventing a larger catastrophe.

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