What is device management in 2023 and the steps to succeed in the real estate sector? [Guide]

​​What is device management?

There can be different approaches to defining device management. 

In this article, device management refers to the process of monitoring, securing, configuring, and maintaining devices used within an organization or network. Regarding the real estate sector, this includes a wide range of devices such as ventilation, heating, pumps, IoT devices and more. 

In general, device management is divided into 3 areas:

  1. Device maintenance
  2. Workflow overview & traceability of device history (Maintenance logs)
  3. Maintenance simplification and digitalisation (effective processes)

Device maintenance refers to the regular and proactive activities undertaken to ensure that electronic devices (water pumps, air conditioners, heating devices), heavy and light machinery or other equipment are functioning correctly, efficiently, and reliably. 

It involves a series of tasks, inspections and repairs designed to prevent potential issues. Plus, extend the lifespan of the devices and most important, keep them in optimal working condition.

Workflow overview and traceability of device history is one of the things that many companies do, but many more fail to record properly. Thus, leading into a situation impossible to trace and get an overview of the workflow. 

Unfortunately, device maintenance logs are still kept on paper and in the best case scenario digitized into pdf-s. It is sad but ture that this is how the device maintenance sector operates and how hard it is to get an overview in real time of how things actually are.

Maintenance simplification can only be done if device maintenance has been done correctly. The fundamentals for simplification is to get an overview of how things are done in real-time and how client data is stored. If the data is organized, then inefficiencies can be identified and effective processes can be developed. 

“There is no doubt that the future of device maintenance is digital. Only question is - whether the market realizes this fast enough.”
- said Mihkel Nanits, Head of Business Development at Saago.

Added value for companies can be created within the organization, for having efficient maintenance processes, not hiring more people to do more inefficient work.

When the market changes, maintenance service processes also need to change and thus people need to change and accommodate to the new reality. 

Examples of device management in various industries:

1. Property management

2. Facility maintenance (heating, air conditioners, pumps)

3. Construction

4. Security devices (cameras, sensors etc.)

5. Installation & Maintenance

6. Healthcare

7. Road maintenance

8. Sports clubs

9. Fire safety

10.  Transportation

When devices are managed regularly under recurring schedules, it increases the overall profitability, sustainability of a maintenance company and increases the security of people using the devices. Thus, it is very important to have software that enables us to implement device management effectively.

Device maintenance in the real estate sector - what should you focus on? 

It has been proven that regular device maintenance extends device lifespan, lowers the possibility of irregular mishaps and keeps the devices in optimal working condition. 

The frequency and intensity of this maintenance depend on the type of device, its usage, environmental conditions, and the manufacturer's recommendations. Some devices might require daily maintenance, while others can have scheduled maintenance on a weekly, monthly, quarterly or annual basis.

In the real estate sector, devices undergo preventive maintenance, which involves routine checks and scheduled maintenance tasks to avoid unexpected breakdowns and costly downtime. Reactive maintenance, on the other hand, is performed after a device has already malfunctioned or failed.

HVAC systems are increasingly becoming an essential component in both commercial and residential spaces. Among all property-related appliances, HVAC devices are one of the most critical to maintain and monitor. 

Real estate investors should know that the key to maximizing return on investment is limiting recurring expenditures. For this reason, property investors should pay due attention to the air-conditioning, heating and ventilation systems to avoid large financial losses. 

What are the key aspects that HVAC maintenance include:

1. Regular Inspections: Performing routine checks to identify any signs of wear and tear, damage, or potential issues before they escalate into more significant problems.

2. Cleaning and Dusting: Keeping devices clean and free from dust, debris, or contaminants that could hinder their performance or cause overheating.

3. Software Updates: Ensuring that the latest firmware, drivers, and software updates are installed to enhance functionality, security, and compatibility.

4. Hardware Upgrades: When necessary, upgrading hardware components to improve performance or accommodate new software requirements.

5. Calibration: Adjusting and calibrating devices to maintain accuracy and precision in their measurements or outputs.

6. Lubrication: For mechanical devices, applying appropriate lubricants to reduce friction and prevent wear on moving parts.

7. Battery Maintenance: For battery-powered devices, managing battery health, charging, and replacements as needed.

8. Performance Testing: Running diagnostic tests to assess device performance and identify any anomalies or suboptimal operations.

9. Safety Checks: Verifying that safety features are functioning correctly and adhering to safety standards.

10. Maintenance logs: Keeping records of maintenance activities, inspections, and repairs for future reference and compliance purposes.

Above mentioned key aspects can be implemented into technician workflows, because it is very important to have a good overview regarding work plan and activities attached with tasks. 

Effective device maintenance not only ensures the smooth functioning of equipment but also minimizes the risk of accidents, optimizes performance, reduces long-term costs, and prolongs the device's operational life. 

Thus, it is vital to keep record of recurring maintenance activities. In the real estate sector, these tasks are almost always described on a list of papers and backlogging all this information is very time consuming and inefficient. These files are stored on premises and up to date online information is impossible to get, thus it is vital to have a software that enables to track real time logs with automated maintenance tasks.

Device management in 2023 and beyond - where are we heading?

With the growing complexity of device ecosystems and the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT), effective device management has become increasingly crucial for organizations to:

  1. maintain security
  2. streamline operations
  3. ensure seamless integration of devices and technologies within their network.

In 2023, device management has evolved and has a growing demand for connected devices. Some trends and best practices for device management in 2023 might include:

1. Security and Privacy: Cybersecurity continues to be a top concern. Robust security measures are essential to protect devices from unauthorized access, data breaches, and malware attacks. This involves the use of encryption, multi-factor authentication, and regular security updates.

2. Internet of Things (IoT) Management: With the proliferation of IoT devices, managing them effectively becomes paramount. Device managers need to handle a diverse range of IoT devices, each with unique capabilities and requirements. And this is not only for industrial devices, but also for home appliances.

3. Over-the-Air (OTA) Updates: In 2023, the ability to remotely update devices is likely to be even more critical. OTA updates enable quick bug fixes, security patches, and feature enhancements without requiring physical access to each device.

4. Artificial Intelligence and Automation: AI can play a significant role in device management, from predicting potential issues to automating routine tasks like software updates, inventory tracking, and diagnostics.

5. User Experience: Device management should focus on optimizing the user experience. Balancing security and productivity while keeping user interactions seamless is essential.

To sum up, the device management market is definitely changing and new challenges lay ahead. One thing is clear, device management and maintenance companies within need to take important steps in order to survive and prosper:

1. Digitizing & getting rid of paper

2. Implementing effective business processes

3. Track and trace the history of devices (maintenance logs)

4. Add more value to existing service and clients

Implementing digitization can be harsh in the beginning, but it is very important to start taking first steps in the right direction.

5 recommendations to execute device management in 2023:

1. Choose the Right Tools: Select appropriate device management solutions that suit your organization's needs. Look for SaaS (software as a service) products that support the types of devices you use and provide the required level of security. For example a tool like Saago.

2. Establish Policies and Protocols: Develop clear device usage policies, security protocols, and guidelines for employees. Regularly communicate these policies and provide training to ensure everyone understands their role in maintaining security.

3. Regular Monitoring and Auditing: Continuously monitor devices to detect and address potential security threats or performance issues proactively. Regular audits help ensure compliance with policies and industry standards. Keep an up to date maintenance logs.

4. Adapt to Emerging Technologies: Stay informed about the latest trends and technologies in device management. Embrace new solutions that can enhance security and efficiency while adapting to the evolving device landscape. 

5. User Training and Support: Provide ongoing training and support for users to ensure they understand how to use devices securely and efficiently. This reduces the likelihood of human error leading to security breaches.

I encourage you to start thinking about the long-term and in order to do so, take initiative and think about what kind of service you are offering in the present and what kind of service you would like to offer in 3 years from now. Get a device maintenance solution like Saago and you are already one step closer to clearing up your processes and stepping into the future.