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Property Managers, the dashboard of your dreams may not be too far away...

Managing maintenance in a property remotely might finally be around the corner

A random news piece about a would-be a disrupter in the property management software space caught my eye the other day.

It reminded me of a land long ago, far, far away, when I worked for Cisco in the early 2000s - 2001, to be exact.

The company had partnered with Lend Lease, which had built a futuristic smart home demonstration in Pyrmont, Sydney, showcasing advanced networking technologies to create a smart living environment.

Basically, this was the place we would take our customers when we wanted to impress them.

And impress them it usually did!

The property had high-speed internet (expensive back then!), automated lighting and state-of-the-art security where networked cameras, motion detectors and locks could be controlled remotely.

The entertainment system (pre-Netflix) allowed you to stream networked audio and video from a central location to any room in the house.

It even had smart appliances—a smart fridge, oven, and washing machine.

Finally, the stuff us 5 am clubbers can only dream of: Even the coffee pot in the kitchen had an IP address and could be remotely switched on from the bedroom - meaning the coffee would be hot and ready to go the minute your feet hit the kitchen.

The appraised value of 77 Bowman Street back then was $750,000 not including the $250,000 of technology present in the property at the time (so yes, there was a lot of Cisco kit in the garage, and routers were significantly bigger back then than they are today!!)

The 2001 Lendlease iHome was ahead of its time and probably one of the first implementations of what would become widely known as the Internet of Things (IoT).

If your eyes just glazed over a bit, here is a diagram which simply shows how IoT works:

Basically any physical object with connectivity technology—a coffee machine, air conditioner, or fridge—can collect and share data with other devices and systems over the Internet.

I had always wondered if our future in the real estate industry would at least be a little bit driven by the Internet of Things - even spoke about it at a couple of conferences in the late 10s.

I wondered:

  • If devices were connected to the internet and some kind of “mission control” for property managers, could the devices themselves tell us when they were about to break down - making maintenance proactive rather than reactive?

  • Could PMs remotely keep tabs on parts of the property without a physical inspection?

  • Could security monitoring become part of an enhanced or paid PM service?

  • Could we access some data on operating efficiency to make rented properties more environmentally friendly and use less power? (Could that be monetised somehow?)

  • Could you then help your landlords and tenants budget for repairs better?

  • Could you calculate the ongoing running costs of a property… find water usage anomalies, and help reduce those costs?

And the list goes on…

an imaginary mission control (getty)

Anyway, back to the news piece that inspired all of this: The headline “Is AI About to Disrupt Hospitality?” is all about an AI platform called Jurny looking for funding to fix over $355B in inefficiencies to revolutionise the hospitality and holiday rental market.

Their start engine page says Jurny “allows short-term accommodation and hospitality operators to manage booking software, cleaning services, reviews, customer service, dynamic pricing, Internet of Things (IoT) devices, and more, all from one dashboard powered by Jurny’s industry-altering AI, Nia (are we even AI-ing at all if you don’t have AI in the name of your product… )

Sounds like a lot, right!?

But did you see that bit in the centre? IoT devices from a single dashboard!

Clearly, Jurny still needs funding and probably still has a way to go to get where it needs to be.

But I love that I’m not a crazy person for thinking what seemed like crazy things years ago in the hopes that residential property management will, in the not-too-distant future, reap some AI benefits, too.

What a time to be alive.

Happy Hunting 🚀

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