One of the hottest investments over the past few years in many jurisdictions has been in the commercial real estate market, often in the form of REITs (Real Estate Investment Trusts). The reasons are simple: many REITs provide a stable form of income to the investor. For the owners/operators of these properties, their main concern is how to continue to provide a strong return to their investors. One way to do this is to optimize these facilities' operation, and M2M solutions are proven to do so.

How does an M2M solution pull off this nifty trick?

Reduce vendor and contractor bills  

When you operate any commercial facility, there is a lot of maintenance that has to be done, whether it is routine maintenance (such as daily cleaning), periodic maintenance (such as the cleaning of an air duct), unexpected repairs (such as someone stuck in an elevator) or human-made repairs (such as those caused by bored teenagers).

 Regardless of the reason, one of the significant roles of any property management company is to keep track of the work done. It's an important issue- how do you know when work is done? How do you know if the bills that you receive are accurate? Some of this work is often done when no management team member is present to make it worse. 

Luckily, there are a few companies that provide services to help you out with this. These services will allow you to be notified when a contractor arrives and leaves (which also helps the event of an evacuation in the event of an emergency) and can often let you know what work was done. 

Even better, many of these use technologies that are as simple as scanning a bar code, so user acceptance and training are ideal. Now, you'll be able to easily compare actual work done to your bills, often reducing bills by as much as 30-40%!

Reduce legal liability  

In addition to reducing bills, keeping better track of your contractors (and what work was done) provides another benefit in reducing legal liability. Many tasks (such as inspections of fire alarms) are required by law to be done regularly, and keeping an accurate log of this is vital. 

Many handset/portable M2M solutions allow for a user (such as a Security guard or maintenance worker) to scan a bar code in the vicinity of the device to instantly log what was done. The system can then upload these records into a corporate database or CRM system to reduce clerical effort.

Non-scheduled maintenance (such as the clearing of ice/snow) also has to be done to improve the occupants' safety and ensure that the company is not liable for unwanted slipping. An M2M solution can help, as it will provide a record of crucial work being done (even when fresh snow covers this up). These solutions have been used successfully in litigation to remove the liability from a property management company.

Optimize HVAC systems

In many places (especially the southern parts of the US), the idea of working in a building without air conditioning in the summer is unfathomable. This means a huge electricity bill for the property management and the expense of maintaining a solid HVAC system. While you can't turn off the HVAC system to save money, many innovative companies use M2M systems to optimize their HVAC systems by better synchronizing the units.

In some cases, companies have been able to use these systems to reduce their bill by 10-15% and say that they are doing their part to better the environment. The best part is that this is all done without reducing user comfortability inside the building. These same systems are also being used to increase the "intelligence" of many irrigation systems, reducing unnecessary green areas' watering.

Electricity sub-billing 

 I remember going into a friend's condo during the middle of an incredible heatwave where the temperature was well over 100F. When we walked inside, it was so cool that you could almost actually keep meat frozen (imagine that famous scene from the movie "Rocky," except none of us were punching sides of beef!). When I asked about how much it must cost to keep his place that cool, the response was that they were on a flat rate, so there was no encouragement to keep their condo that cool.

Property Management companies can encourage their tenants to be a little more environmentally friendly to install sub-metering systems, which provide individual electricity (and other consumables such as natural gas and water) usage reports to each unit. This would allow the PM company to provide incentives/disincentives to help better control costs, even providing the option of enabling the tenant to pay their bills (which would encourage conservation even further).

Smart Bathrooms - Keep track of consumables in real-time

With our new Novotech and MeroSupply partnership, you can reduce the risk of having empty paper and liquid dispensers. Empty dispensers are a terrible experience and a risk to your building. Studies show up to 40% of supplies are wasted due to routines. Busy periods reduce supplies faster than standard practices can handle. This solution will allow cleaners to be efficient with their time and focus on deep sanitation by taking routine dispenser checks off their to-do list.


Send alerts when stock is low.

MeroAlert routes cleaners to the priority bathrooms in a building based on rules YOU set. For example, specify that alerts be sent to cleaners when supplies are at 20%—no more replacing 50% full paper towels!

MeroDash makes it easy for property managers to track the percentage of individual supplies at a specific bathroom or across an entire portfolio in one dashboard. Now that's a smart bathroom.

How does MeroSupply Work?

  • Sensors are placed in each paper towel, toilet paper, and soap dispenser.
  • Sensors communicate with a cellular router in the building, which feeds all information to Mero Servers in the cloud.
  • The Mero platform then analyzes the data, sends alerts and builds reports - all in real-time.


Know the status Knowing a bathroom's peak demand, time last cleaned, and the number of visitors is now top of mind. MeroTraffic gives you actionable data on traffic flows and staff location status with sensors that take less than thirty seconds to install. Zero-touch, tap, log or call. Cleaner check-in occurs automatically, so you don't have to wonder if someone attended to the issue on the 34th floor. Understand the areas that need attention immediately and the areas that employees can leave for later. Cleaning staff can now focus on more useful tasks than wandering. Cleaning staff wear a beacon or install the Mero app on their smartphone. Location data is transmitted to a cellular router in the building, which feeds all information to Mero Servers in the cloud.

The Mero platform then analyzes the data, sends alerts to staff and builds reports - all in real-time.


More from Novotech

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A Note about this article

This article was written in 2013 and edited in 2021.