Real-Time Monitoring for Optimizing Commercial Buildings and Facilities Performance

Published on 9 Sep, 2023
Real-time monitoring, maintenance engineer.
Maintenance engineer using real-time monitoring software

Commercial real estate has been one of the most fast paced and flourishing industries the world has seen, attracting and serving a variety of stakeholders such as developers, operators, buyers, tenants, sellers, and investors. 

According to statista, the global commercial real estate industry was estimated to be worth roughly 34 trillion US dollars in 2021. The heavy investments and expansions also call for rapid digital transformation and improved operations and maintenance of these commercial facilities. One of the technologies contributing to this change is real-time monitoring.

Real-time monitoring has emerged as a game changer, completely revolutionising how we operate and maintain commercial buildings. This article explores the importance of real-time monitoring in commercial real estate facilities, its benefits, and how it is impacting the industry.

The commercial real estate industry is constantly changing and property owners and managers are always seeking innovative solutions to enhance efficiency, streamline operations, and reduce energy as well as costs. Real-time monitoring is a cutting-edge technology that solves these challenges effectively by automating workflows and connecting to your existing building management tools.

What is Real-Time Monitoring?

Real-time monitoring involves the use of advanced sensors, cameras, and software to collect and analyze data from a property in real-time. This data offers insights into different aspects of the property's operations and security.

Real-time monitoring for commercial real estate entails the continuous and instant tracking of different aspects of commercial properties. This monitoring includes everything from property performance and security to environmental factors that can affect the value and functionality of the property.

The Benefits of Real-Time Monitoring for Commercial Facilities

Real-time monitoring offers several benefits for commercial buildings, ensuring better outcomes for owners, operators, and tenants. Some of the most important ones are:

1. Energy Efficiency

Energy consumption is an enormous expense for commercial properties. Real-time monitoring helps property managers to recognise areas of energy wastage and make necessary improvements. Real-time monitoring involves the deployment of sensors and IoT devices throughout a property. These devices continuously collect data on energy usage, such as electricity, heating, cooling, and lighting. This continuous data collection provides a comprehensive picture of consumption patterns. This results in reduced energy costs, a smaller carbon footprint and being in compliance with ESG regulations.

2. Maintenance Optimization

Timely maintenance is essential for property upkeep. Real-time monitoring helps detect potential maintenance problems before they escalate, reducing downtime and repair costs. It also helps to ensure that critical systems like HVAC and lighting are running smoothly.

3. Faster Issue Resolution

Real-time monitoring enables early detection of equipment failures or malfunctions. This allows maintenance teams to respond quickly and efficiently, reducing downtime and minimizing disruptions to tenants or occupants.

4. Cost Savings

Commercial real estate is a highly competitive market, and property owners and managers are constantly looking for ways to improve their operations and maximise profitability. By preventing asset breakdowns, minimizing energy wastage, and optimizing resource usage, real-time monitoring helps in significant cost savings in the long run.

5. Tenant Satisfaction

Real-time monitoring technology enables property managers to detect and respond to issues immediately. For example, if a tenant has a heating or cooling problem, real-time data notifies the operations and maintenance team. It can also automate operations like temperature control, lighting, and access management. This not only cuts operational costs but also ensures that tenants work in or experience optimal comfort and well being

6. Increased Asset Life

Real-time monitoring systems can detect early signs of equipment malfunction or degradation. This allows maintenance teams to address issues promptly before they escalate into more severe problems. Regular maintenance based on real-time data can help extend the lifespan of assets by ensuring they operate at peak performance.

Implementing a Real-Time Monitoring Strategy for Commercial Buildings and Facilities

To implement real-time monitoring, property owners should identify their specific needs, choose the right technology partners, and prioritize data security and privacy. To realize the benefits of real-time monitoring, take the following steps:

  1. Assessment and Planning:

Define your objectives: Determine what you want to achieve with real-time monitoring. Whether it's improving security, increasing energy efficiency, reducing maintenance costs, or all of the above, clear objectives are essential.

Identify assets to monitor: Make a comprehensive list of the assets you want to monitor, including HVAC systems, lighting, security systems, elevators, and any other critical assets.

Set performance benchmarks: Establish key performance indicators (KPIs) and benchmarks to measure the success of your real-time monitoring strategy. For example, you might set energy consumption targets or equipment uptime goals.

Budgeting: Determine your budget for implementing the monitoring system, including hardware, software, installation, and ongoing maintenance costs.

  1. Select Monitoring Technology:

Choose appropriate sensors: Select sensors and devices that can collect relevant data. Depending on your objectives, this may include temperature sensors, motion detectors, security cameras, smart meters, and more.

Connectivity options: Decide on the connectivity technology that suits your needs, such as Wi-Fi, Ethernet, cellular, or LoRaWAN. Ensure your chosen technology can handle the volume of data you plan to collect.

Integration capabilities: Ensure that the selected monitoring technology can integrate with your existing systems, such as building management systems (BMS), access control systems, and fire safety systems.

  1. Data Collection and Sensors Installation:

Install sensors and monitoring devices strategically throughout the facility. Ensure they are placed in locations that provide comprehensive coverage and accurate data.

Calibrate sensors: Calibrate sensors to ensure accuracy and consistency in data collection. Regular maintenance of sensors is also crucial to prevent inaccuracies over time.

  1. Data Storage and Processing:

Set up a centralized data storage system that can handle the volume of data generated by your sensors. This may involve on-site servers or cloud-based solutions.

Implement data processing and analytics tools to make sense of the collected data. These tools can help identify patterns, anomalies, and trends, allowing you to make informed decisions.

  1. Real-Time Monitoring Software:

Choose or develop real-time monitoring software that provides a user-friendly interface for accessing and interpreting data. This software should also offer alerting and notification capabilities for immediate response to critical issues.

  1. Training and User Adoption:

Train facility managers, maintenance teams, and other relevant personnel on how to use the real-time monitoring system effectively.

  1. Continuous Monitoring and Maintenance:

Regularly monitor the system's performance and data quality to ensure it continues to meet your objectives.

Implement a maintenance plan for sensors and monitoring equipment to prevent downtime and data inaccuracies.

  1. Data Analysis and Action:

Use the data collected to make informed decisions and take actions to optimize operations, reduce costs, and achieve your monitoring objectives.

  1. Documentation and Reporting:

Keep comprehensive records of the monitoring system's setup, maintenance, and performance. Create regular reports and share insights with stakeholders.

  1. Scalability and Future-Proofing:

Consider the scalability of your monitoring system to accommodate future growth or changes in facility requirements.

Implementing a real-time monitoring strategy for commercial buildings and facilities is a complex undertaking that requires careful planning and execution. It's essential to continually assess the system's performance and adapt it to evolving needs and technologies to maximize its benefits over time.


Real-time monitoring has become a cornerstone of success in commercial real estate facility management. It provides increased tenant comfort and satisfaction, enhanced efficiency, and significant cost savings. Adopting this technology is no longer an option for businesses seeking to prosper in the competitive world of commercial real estate.

The future of commercial real estate real-time monitoring is also quite promising.  Advancements in artificial intelligence and machine learning will enable predictive analytics and further automation. By reducing workload and automating repetitive tasks, real-time monitoring is a sure winner. Furthermore, it helps to reduce energy consumption and improves operational efficiency which further brings down costs which is undoubtedly a win-win for all. The advantages of real-time monitoring will further boost its popularity.

Real-Time Monitoring FAQs

1. Is real-time monitoring expensive to implement?

Implementing real-time monitoring can vary in cost depending on the size and complexity of the property. However, the long-term cost savings often outweigh the initial investment.

2. How secure is the data collected through real-time monitoring?

Data security is a top priority in real-time monitoring systems. Robust encryption and access controls are in place to safeguard sensitive information.

3. Can real-time monitoring be retrofitted into existing properties?

Yes, real-time monitoring systems can often be integrated into existing properties with the help of experienced technology providers.

4. Are there any legal implications regarding privacy and real-time monitoring?

Yes, privacy regulations must be considered when implementing real-time monitoring. Property owners must comply with relevant laws and obtain consent when necessary.

5. What is the future of real-time monitoring technology?

The future holds exciting developments in real-time monitoring, including predictive analytics and increased automation, making it an even more valuable asset for property management.