Domestic Smart Building – Home Automation and its Benefits

Cristina Maria
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Smart building is the phrase you need to know these days. You might be thinking “Why? My business doesn’t deal with anything techy.” But the truth of the matter is that even everyday homes are starting to look a lot more like The Jetsons than they used to. Read on to find out how your field service business can make the most out of this trend. 

Since Commusoft will be a part of the Facilities Show 2019 line-up, where companies across the board will be showing the newest technologies in the business, we’ve asked for the organisers' expert opinion. This is their take on smart building and its impact on the field service industry:

Commusoft Stand

Commusoft stand during last year's event

"The Internet of Things (IoT) is bringing automation to the home. We’re already well aware of the benefits of a fully-connected smart building – it’s fast becoming the norm in new office buildings, for instance – but the application of smart technology in the domestic setting is, comparatively, still in its infancy, and the implications for field service managers and property owners may not yet be fully appreciated.

So what exactly is home automation bringing to the table, and how can field service management businesses benefit from it?

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Upgrade one home at a time

Automated heating systems are already common in office buildings, but they have made big inroads into homes over the last few years. They save customers money and reduce wasted energy by altering the ambient temperature based on weather conditions, the time of day and the humidity. Some go a step further by heating only specific rooms or areas, or even learning about the user’s habits and preferred temperature to personalise the service.

Similar products exist for air conditioning, ambient lighting, gas, water and more: a fully-connected system would give property owners and residents an unprecedented level of control over their homes.

These products potentially offer an enormous benefit for field service management professionals. The Internet of Things is, after all, big business – back in 2017, Forbes predicted the global IoT market would more than double to $457 billion by 2020. For field service technicians such as plumbers and electricians, identifying customers who would benefit from adopting home automation products can reap dividends. Installing such systems is not for everyone but it can prove to be an opportunity to charge premium prices and recommend these new features to homeowners looking to upgrade.

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Real-time information

Another underappreciated aspect of automation is how it makes life much easier for field service professionals. IoT sensors can provide engineers with real-time information, allowing them to diagnose problems remotely and even predict when a piece of equipment will break down. A truly integrated system could then link this with the company’s stock, billing and customer database systems – this is something that Commusoft itself offers – thereby making the whole process much more efficient.

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Tip-top customer service

In addition, automation has implications for customer service, because smart technology can improve communication: for property owners and field service management professionals alike, the ability to send service reminders when installations need a check-up, based on the real-time information, is an invaluable one. Field engineer tracking software can also be employed to allow your customers to keep track of technicians on their way to complete maintenance.

What about property owners? If you’re renting out a property, whether it’s a high-end apartment or an affordable family home, the centralisation provided by automated property maintenance software can help your tenants reduce (and save money on) energy consumption, and make maintenance easier. Smart thermostats, lighting, and keyless lock systems raise the security and quality of life of residents, ultimately making your properties far more attractive to potential renters.

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The takeaway

Home automation is set to become even more commonplace over the coming years, with utilities companies increasingly offering equipment such as smart thermostats as standards. Practitioners should scour the market for the best options and learn how they can deliver the most sophisticated understanding of the technology to their customers. Understanding the implications of domestic smart technology now will put you ahead of the pack while it’s still not ubiquitous.

Join us at the Facilities Show 2019

Get your free ticket to Facilities Show 2019: 18-20 June at ExCeL London to get face to face with suppliers and source cost-effective solutions across CAFM, Cleaning, Field Service Management, Mechanical and Electrical, Maintenance, Recruitment, Telecom, Vehicle Tracking and Waste Management."

Source: Facilities Show 2019

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