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How to keep vacant buildings safe and healthy during stay-at-home orders

12 May 2020
Ludo Fassati headshot

Ludovico Fassati

Head of IoT, Vodafone Americas

As professional and personal lives are upended to react to COVID-19, it’s been uplifting to see that people have found many ways to help each other.

Whether sharing best practices for productivity and collaboration or trading stories about the challenges of life indoors, the emphasis has rightly been on preserving human wellbeing and business operations. But there is another aspect of continuity that’s often overlooked.

With approximately three billion people under lockdown across the world, many buildings now sit empty - offices, homes, stores, restaurants and more. Yet in many ways a building is like an engine: it requires care and maintenance to function at its best and be ready when needed again.

So how can you best service vacant buildings when only a skeleton staff is available

The Internet of Things can help

IoT technology is already helping to power solutions that monitor the security of buildings via video, or detect leakage and damage with connected sensors. These sensors also help to optimize heating and cooling, even providing protection for any staff who need to continue to work in empty buildings.

Just like remote working, IoT allows building managers continue to look after their sites and retain visibility over their assets in a safe and effective way, even if they can’t access them as normal.

Vital Home Systems_Control Valve1
The VC100 Valve Controller turns off water automatically when notified of an incident

In our own facilities, we’re already using our advanced IoT building management platform to monitor occupancy, air quality and determine areas of high usage in buildings that might require additional maintenance.

As well as this, our ecosystem of partners with specialist expertise is always expanding. Remote building maintenance is the field of our newest partner in the US, Vital Command.

Using wireless automation and Vodafone Business IoT services, Vital Command’s building monitoring solution can help reduce the risk of damage by notifying service teams about in-building incidents in real time, so that essential worker trips only happen when they need to.

Acting early to avoid keep buildings safe

During this period of restriction in the US, Vital Command installers are designated as essential, so systems and services can still be deployed either on a temporary or permanent basis. Running the system on wireless IoT connectivity now makes installation even easier, requiring less physical work.

As any maintenance professional will tell you, so much can go wrong at any time; broken pipes, power outages, mechanical failure, heat and cold, mold and pump failures to name just a few. When detected immediately and properly monitored, these issues can be addressed before they become out of control.

Vital Command and its services dealers are currently monitoring and mitigating property damage in hundreds of buildings across the US, from occupied to vacant. Their customer base includes drug store chains, national and big box retailers, parking garage companies, car manufacturers, dealers and international shipping companies.

Since starting work with Vodafone Business in January, the company has been able to expand cellular coverage within the US in a faster and more economical way, giving Vital Command a wider footprint across the nation and the opportunity to grow internationally.

At Vodafone Business, we’re working to keep our customers safe and connected. We’ll also continue to bring helpful information from our partners who are doing the same.

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