AI and the Future of Property Management

Yardi Energy's Matt Eggers discusses the role of artificial intelligence in advancing energy efficiency and other goals at IREM's Global Summit.
Yardi Energy Vice President Matt Eggers

Here is what the future of property management looks like: sophisticated, high-speed networks that employ artificial intelligence to operate building systems at maximum efficiency.

That was the picture sketched by Yardi Energy Vice President Matt Eggers on Friday at the Institute of Real Estate Managers Global Summit in Hollywood, Fla.

 “By making your buildings more intelligent … you can make them more responsive for change,” said Matt Eggers, he told a roomful of asset managers and property managers in a wide-ranging talk

For those who manage building engineers or other professionals that may be reluctant to embrace the trend, Eggers suggested conveying the message: “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em … this stuff is happening.”

The individuality of buildings with the variety and complexity of their systems, makes them ideally suited to AI, which he described as the ability of machines to perform certain cognitive functions associated with human minds and to recognize patterns. In the built environment, artificial intelligence is closely allied to the communication among different system components that characterizes the Internet of Things.

Eggers enumerated the expanded tools provided by a unified cloud platform:

  • Consistent data and controls across any building accessible from any screen
  • Simultaneous online management of multiple buildings
  • Handling diverse tasks through a single system: invoice analysis, benchmarking, load profiles, building management system trends, thermostat data

Energy efficiency is among the most promising missions of artificial intelligence in property management. The technology can quickly simultaneously assess a variety of data sets, such as indoor conditions, outside temperature, energy consumption, and the property’s level occupancy. The information can be used to optimize set points, understand the property’s power curve and perform analysis of an entire building system, rather than only its individual components.

Artificial intelligence systems represent a significant capital investment, but Eggers predicted that costs will diminish over time, and he emphasized the benefits of improved operations efficiency.

Like most strategies, artificial intelligence brings its share of bugs and flaws. Eggers encouraged his audience “to choose the best vendors and try to take the good with the bad.”

“The other thing I would advise you to do is just try some stuff,” Eggers said. He also discussed the role of artificial intelligence in the future operations of energy. The proliferation of renewable power storage batteries and cogeneration, in concert with artificial intelligence, will revolutionize operations. During the next ten years, he said, buildings will become assets to the grid that generate revenue for owners.