Technology has a way of impacting our lives without our being aware of it.
While the internet was not new ten years ago, it certainly was not considered a necessity or embraced in high-rise communities. Today, we can’t live without it.
In the home, we rely on fast and reliable internet access for communications, games and entertainment.
The entire high-rise community relies on technology to communicate with each other, maintain security, keep our homes at a comfortable temperature, and improve energy efficiency. As in the home, most technologies rely on fast, stable and secure internet access allowing systems to communicate with each other and people.
“Condo management software and apps have become more sophisticated and improve on so many areas of operations that no responsible condominium board considers operating without it” explains Mark Bush of UpperBee Software which specializes in software for property management of condominium corporations. “In addition to budgeting and accounting, maintaining resident records and communications, and managing service requests and repairs, the technology has expanded to manage parking control, visitor access, amenity use, and package receiving and distribution. It can become overwhelming. Tools that offer comprehensive solutions, not a mishmash of various non-integrated systems, provide the greatest value.”
With package volumes expanding beyond what may be manageable with software enhancements, a whole new technology has arisen in the form of automated parcel lockers which allow for secure package deliveries without involvement of security or management to receive, record and store packages, inform residents of their arrival and then retrieve them.
Pet management has grown in importance as our high-rise communities have gone to the dogs. They create noise and waste. Some feel threated by another’s pets. Technologies and systems for knowing which pets reside in a building, managing pet-issues including their waste, and addressing residents that allow their pets to damage or defecate on the property are readily accessible to management.
Building management software is the “brain” behind many and complex systems in a high-rise building for providing fresh and clean air at a comfortable temperature regardless of what is happening outside. The technology is called Building Automation System or BAS. The system “learns” the energy use pattern of your building while the system brain automatically adjusts your building heating and cooling systems in real-time. The result is improved energy efficiency, fewer emissions and lower cost while improving overall comfort. A smart energy platform can reduce energy waste and operating costs by up to 30 percent.
Trash is, and always will be, a problem for high-rise communities. Every resident is a consumer who creates waste – lots of waste. So long as waste is handled well so it doesn’t smell, remains hidden from view, and does not attract animals or vermin everyone is happy. Many technologies work silently to assist with this. Waste systems requiring repair or service are addressed faster and are out of commission for less time when technology is used to detect and diagnose problems rather than requiring a service call. Underground storage systems keep waste hidden until collected without taking up valuable above-ground space, smelling or attracting vermin. Waste bin sensors automatically call when retrieval is required. All this serves to streamline waste management, make homes safer and healthier, reduce costs and allow management to focus their time elsewhere.
With water being the greatest source of problems in high-rise communities, water detection systems, which inform when water is detected where it shouldn’t be, are increasingly important at protecting homes and common areas from water damage. Other technologies are used to reduce or eliminate common causes of water leaks. Savings in repairs and insurance greatly exceed the cost of dealing with increasing water problems.
The impact of climate change, which has been relatively mild in Toronto, thus far, is likely to worsen. Hotter summers, more severe weather and increased precipitation are likely to take a financial toll on communities that have not taken the time to prepare for what is expected. This requires adoption of smart building technologies to provide better information, enhanced communication and improved efficiencies.
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