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A Future Partnership: Property Managers and Robots

Laptops, tablets, smartphones, the internet. These tools have been important in helping real estate property managers do their jobs more efficiently. Innovations range from apps that provide entry access to a property, while biometric security can protect that property from bad people. And, according to Cushman & Wakefield’s Revathi Greenwood, robots, or rather, robotic technology, can be added to the efficient property mix.

In her article, “They Come in Peace: How Technology is Changing the Role of Property Managers,” Greenwood acknowledged that we are still years away from “the reality of robots wandering a commercial property and performing basic management tasks.” The article, published on Cushman & Wakefield’s website, as well as the March/April issue of BOMA Magazine, focuses on promising applications of robotic technologies.

For example, building security seems to be a good task for robots. Greenwood noted that companies specializing in autonomous security robots, complete with two-way communications and mobile public address systems can help keep a (virtual) eye on things. Another area — that of concierge services — seems to be a likely fit for the technology, as well. “Robots can especially be helpful in the role of a lobby greeter or in a check-in function,” Greenwood wrote.

One company operating in the concierge-robotics field is SoftBank Robotics, which is developing a concierge-oriented robot, with artificial intelligence capabilities, and an ability to speak multiple languages. The company is also working on Pepper, another robot, which has humanoid features, and can chat and interact with guests. Meanwhile, when it comes to landscape maintenance, ViaBot is working on an outdoor facilities management robot that would be able to clean and sweep, as well as cut grass and power wash a property.

At this point, property management robots are still in the experimental/research phase. For one thing, implementation issues exist, such as trust levels, privacy concerns and overall uneasiness at the thought of robots wandering a property. Furthermore, initial costs of such technologies can put a damper on widespread deployment. However, despite the challenges, the potential advantages of a robot-property manager partnership continue “to drive robotics deployment within the commercial real estate industry,” Greenwood noted.

Photo Credit: Alex Knight on Unsplash

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About Mark El-Rayes

Mark El-Rayes is an award winning designer and photographer from Beirut, Lebanon. El-Rayes has over 15 years in the design industry, 5 years of which he served as a Mass Communication Specialist in the United States Navy at Naval Air Station North Island, Navy Public Affairs Support Element - West (NPASE). El-Rayes is a full-stack developer, seo specialist, photographer, and artist.