How does your estate management team use digital technology? Research shows that over half of estate managers have a digital innovation plan. Many more are considering investing. At the same time, however, there remains a real lack of understanding of available tech’s potential.
So, what is digital transformation in estate management, what does it look like, and what could it do for you?
What is estate management digital transformation?
Digital transformation is something of a buzzword, used to describe all kinds of technology. Fundamentally, it’s about using modern technology to improve how you work and to create new opportunities. When it comes to estate management, digital transformation involves applying a variety of tools that can support your teams to work more efficiently and productively.
Each estate management company will have different priorities for digital transformation, so not every tool is going to be appropriate for every estate. But, by learning about what IT can do, you may discover opportunities to improve how you run your estate management operations.
Examples of estate management technology
Today there is a huge range of technologies available to the estate management sector. Sometimes known as PropTech (‘property technology’), the following sorts of solutions can be used by estate managers.
Building Information Modelling (BIM) is a kind of construction technology that generates a 3D model of a building. Within this model, you can view different layers of the asset. That means you can see things like the location of pipes, drains, wiring, heating systems and much more, all on a digital representation of the asset.
For estate managers, this technology can be very helpful. By viewing the BIM model, you can access a deep level of information about all the buildings on your estate. You can also share this information with staff and subcontractors. Every team member can then view the model on their mobile phones or tablets. That makes it much easier to access information from the construction of an asset and saves you from reliance on paper blueprints.
Internet of Things
The Internet of Things (IoT) is about placing internet-connected sensors around your estate. These sensors collect different kinds of information. They can monitor for temperature, speed, noise, vibration or other data coming from machinery or equipment across your estate. If the sensors detect any unusual readings, the system can send an alert to your estates team. They will then know that they need to investigate.
Technology can also help you to manage the staff and subcontractors working on your sites. By using a digital environment to communicate with the team, allocate tasks and collect evidence of work completed, it becomes much easier to manage people. A mobile app like PlanRadar could, for instance, help you to identify where landscaping needs to be done, fences maintained, or heating systems fixed. The tech can give tasks to staff, which they check off as they complete them.
Communicating with residents
Similarly, digital technology can help estate management teams to communicate with residents and owners. Various kinds of technology provide portals for sharing news, raising tickets or booking work.
Data and analytics
You can also support estate management by using data management platforms. Depending on the kind of estate you manage, analytics tools can help you crunch through large amounts of data. This can help to identify issues like late customer payments and stock levels or predict footfall.
Although estate management teams are not yet widely using robots, they do have real potential in many areas. Many companies already use robot vacuum cleaners or lawnmowers. From conducting inspections to doing simple jobs like painting, robots could – in future – be handed many menial estate management tasks.
How tech helps different kinds of estate management
Different kinds of technology might be more or less appropriate for different kinds of estate management. For example:
- Rural estate management: Managers can benefit from communication apps that allow them to chat with subcontractors who might be over a mile away fixing fences or installing equipment.
- Historic estate management: Managers benefit from BIM models that can be used to identify issues to be fixed in historic buildings.
- Healthcare estates: Internet of Things technology offers significant benefits to healthcare estate managers. Sensors could identify any overheating in medical equipment, for instance, and alert you before it gets worse.
- University estates management: Project management technologies that allow university estate managers to dish out tasks such as landscaping or cleaning can be particularly valuable.
- Educational facilities management: Small teams working in schools and colleges can make the most of their limited time with customisable facilities management software.
- Residential estate management: Apps and tools that allow communication between residents and the estate manager can be particularly beneficial in this context.
Drivers of digital transformation in estate management
For decades, estate managers have run their sites perfectly well using traditional techniques. They have also mastered basic technology like email and smartphones. So why are a growing number of estate managers adopting new technology?
Advances in technology
Perhaps the most significant reason that estates management is becoming more digital is that technology has improved a lot in recent years. Many PropTech solutions can support the needs of estate managers. Estate managers can even customise them to best serve a particular estate. It is now easier and cheaper than ever to use powerful digital solutions, making estate management much more efficient.
Saves time and money
Modern technology solutions promise to save estate managers a significant amount of time and money when running their estates.
Take, for example, subcontractor task allocation. If an estate manager hires a subcontractor to cut grass, they would later need to walk around the property to verify the grass has been cut. However, by using modern technology, the subcontractor could take photos showing the ‘before and after’ for each section of grass they mow. The estate manager could quickly review the photos on their smartphone without leaving the office.
Trends towards remote and flexible working
The COVID-19 pandemic meant many estate managers and their teams were forced to work remotely. Many of these professionals began using more advanced technology to continue being productive. This in turn led to a general rise in digital adoption in the industry. As more and more employees look for hybrid working opportunities, technology will support estate managers who work from a range of locations.
There has always been intense competition for employees and subcontractors in the estate management industry. The pandemic has only exacerbated this situation. Since digital technologies allow you to do more with less, they help to address this shortage.
Are you ready to digitally transform estate management?
New digital technologies – from easy to access mobile apps to futuristic robots – have the potential to transform estate management. With the many benefits these technologies bring, the opportunities are certainly exciting. So, how do you envision digital technology being used across your estates? Get in touch to find out how PlanRadar can help.