Facility & Maintenance Management

Unlocking the Potential of IoT Sensors in Real Estate: Benefits & Practical Use Cases

December 19, 2022

What is IoT in Real Estate?

The Internet of Things, or IoT as it is commonly known, refers to a network of interconnected devices that can collect and transmit data with no need for human intervention over a wireless network. It is a concept where interconnected items can collect, exchange, and process data directly or indirectly via the web.

It is no secret that the Internet of Things has revolutionized the real estate sector. The technology has allowed businesses to reduce building costs significantly. Moreover, it enables real estate companies to build greater relationships with tenants and generate bigger revenue—goals we are all shooting for!

In this article, based on Singu FM, you will discover the potential of IoT sensors in the real estate industry, read practical use cases, and explore the benefits that can be derived from using them.

Key thoughts from the article:

  • The estimated number of IoT-connected devices is expected to grow in billions from 2019 to 2030.
  • IoT offers various key benefits, such as big data collection and analysis automation, increased service effectiveness, first-time fix rates, improved preventative maintenance, and reduced upkeep costs.
  • IoT sensors are widely used in sanitary installations, preventive systems, and HVAC installations in warehouses, commercial, and industrial real estate.
  • Additionally, IoT plays a critical role in ESG reporting for real estate.
  • Singu FM is an example of a facility and maintenance system that is integrated with IoT.

1. What are the Key Benefits of IoT?

According to Statista, these impressive statistics demonstrate that the number of IoT-connected devices will grow in billions from 2019 to 2030:

Number of Internet of Things (IoT) with forecasts from 2022 to 2030,
Number of Internet of Things (IoT) connected devices worldwide from 2019 to 2021, with forecasts from 2022 to 2030, source: Statista

Based on Deloitte Research, “Using digital and analytics to revolutionize tenant experience, tenant experience is of utmost importance to 75% of commercial real estate firms. Using IoT sensors and artificial intelligence are among the most influential factors affecting tenant preferences (52%).”

Fortune Business Insights predicts a 26% annual increase in the global IoT market by 2029, which will reach almost $2.5 trillion.

The data confirms that IoT technology will have a significant impact on almost every aspect of human life in the near future. Everyone will benefit from these advances.

Let’s review the key reasons implementing IoT in real estate is a wise decision.

Big Data Collection and Analysis Can Be Automated and Digitized.

The Internet of Things can manage equipment. Sensors transmit information about the status of a device automatically. In addition, all parties can access the data immediately in digital form. By automating the data collection process, building services save time and money across the board. Normally, they would need to spend a few hours working on what they would have to do manually. With the help of many IoT sensors, it is possible to collect a large amount of data that can streamline building operations and make better decisions more efficiently.

Increase Service Effectiveness and First-Time Fix Rates

Using the sensors and monitoring their condition continuously, we have a much better understanding of the equipment’s operation, so technicians can solve problems even before they occur. A network-connected piece of equipment can be set up to generate alarm signals if they exceed certain parameters. In addition to maintenance history data, technicians can also access customer information, warranty details, and other information with the right software, saving valuable downtime for the customers.

Implementing Preventative Maintenance to Reduce Upkeep Costs

Because of multiple IoT sensors for real estate, service technicians can gain a better understanding of how the assets work in real-time, enhancing availability and extending failure-free operations because continuous monitoring allows service work to become more proactive than reactive, ensuring technicians can respond to alarms before hardware failures occur, ultimately saving everyone time and money.

Enhancing Tenant and Building User Well-Being

With various sensors and automatic data transfers, we can monitor and adjust parameters like room temperature, availability of conference rooms, and the need to add toilet hygiene measures to minimize equipment failure. Rather than reporting defects or incorrect humidity conditions in their office space, tenants and other employees can focus their attention instead on matters most important to them in their everyday lives.

2. The Importance of Data

Data collection and analysis is a critical part of building management. IoT infrastructure generates an enormous volume of data from sensors installed in crucial assets.

Sensors around your building collect data automatically in real time. Singu FM can analyze it and trigger call-to-action tickets for inspecting any observed abnormal equipment behaviors.

The Bathtub Curve - Hypothetical Failure Rate versus Time
The Bathtub Curve - Hypothetical Failure Rate versus Time, based on Wikipedia

The bathtub curve illustrates the relative failure rate of equipment over time. It is common that some units will fail relatively early (infant mortality failures), others will last until they wear out, and some will fail relatively late during a relatively long period described as “normal life.”

A failure during infant mortality is highly undesirable, and it is always caused by defects or blunders: a defective material, an incorrect design, an incorrect assembly, etc. There is no way to prevent wear and tear, whether caused by fatigue or material depletion like lubrication depletion in the bearings. Short-lived components limit the useful life of a product. It is the manufacturer’s responsibility to ensure that all specified materials are adequate for the intended use of the product.

If the equipment begins to operate incorrectly earlier than expected by the manufacturer, it should be repaired immediately to extend its service life.

Mechanical equipment works by transmitting two types of motion between components: rotary motion (such as a fan) and linear motion (such as an actuator). Each movement in a machine or mechanism has certain characteristics and a corresponding range. If a machine or mechanism works incorrectly, physical phenomena such as increased vibration, machine limping, an increase in the device’s temperature, or leakage of lubricating fluids are transmitted to the entire device.

Using IoT sensors, we can determine if a piece of equipment’s operating parameters are outside the intended range. As long as we recognize that this is happening before any signs indicate the device is breaking down, we can repair it and extend its lifespan. Vibration or overheating of the equipment can lead to irreversible damage that cannot be repaired if the equipment vibrates excessively or overheats. Being preemptive is crucial.

3. How is IoT Sensors Installed?

How is IoT used in real estate? The location of IoT sensors and gateways should be carefully considered when deploying IoT sensors. When determining the equipment on which IoT sensors will be installed, it is necessary to determine the distance between them and keep in mind additional elements that could interfere with signal transmission, which could be significant.

Factors affecting the lack of signal between sensors or between the connection between the sensor and the gateway are:

• The thickness and wall layout

• The type of walls (wall reinforcement)

• The overall distance between sensors

• Ferromagnetic elements causing interference with signal transmission

4. What are the Examples of IoT Sensors Used in Real Estate?

Nowadays, there are many various sensors, but the following are the most important ones for real estate maintenance:

1. Motion (presence) sensors to monitor activity within a property

2. Temperature sensors to measure the temperature of a room or area

3. Humidity sensors to track the humidity levels and monitor the air quality

4. Light sensors to calculate the amount of light

5. Pressure sensors: These measure the pressure in a room or area and can be used to monitor the air quality inside a property.

6. Smoke/Fire sensors to detect smoke and fire

5. What are the Examples of IoT Applications?

According to Deloitte’s report, among the most common types of data collected by IoT Sensors are building temperature and air quality, building performance, and occupant movement data.

Which of the following types of IoT sensor data are you currently using or do you plan to use? Source: Deloitte

What does IoT mean in real estate? It is time to put theory into practice. This part of the article will show how different types of IoT sensors can benefit across various industries. The following examples and use cases will help you better understand how specific sensors can benefit your real estate.

Example 1 - Central Heading Node (Vibration and Leakage Sensors)

Sanitary installations are one of the main areas where IoT integration with the PropTech solution can be beneficial. Generally, sanitary installations include everything inside a building such as pipes, tubes, water circuits, and wastewater collection systems.

Pumps are the main equipment related to central heating nodes and are characterized by rotary motion. A non-working device will experience increased vibration and leakage. Sensors that monitor vibration and leakage are the most useful in this case.

Sanitary installations Equipped with Vibration and Leakeage IoT Sensors
Sanitary installations Equipped with Vibration and Leakage IoT Sensors

Example 2 - Audible Warning Systems and Server Rooms (Multiple Sensors)

Preventive Systems are installed in every building to ensure the safety and security of workers and the building itself. Thus, it is extremely important to ensure that all equipment of this type is functioning properly. You’re right—IoT can help!

Another premises where key equipment is located, and which should also be monitored with IoT sensors, are special rooms with audible warning systems and server rooms. Critical infrastructure equipment must operate under appropriate conditions. The voice alarm system generates a great deal of heat, so it’s necessary to maintain a low room temperature (air conditioning). If the air conditioner stops working, the equipment may overheat and shut down, causing severe damage. In addition, they cannot be flooded as they are electrical devices. We can install multiple sensors in this case in order to monitor adequate ambient temperature and humidity to protect against flooding or vibration sensors.

server rooms
Preventive systems with temperature, humidity, and vibration sensors installed

Example 3 - Fan Coils (Leakage Sensors)

HVAC means heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. The HVAC systems cover the heating, cooling, and moving of air between indoor and outdoor areas. Installation and maintenance of HVAC systems are priorities for tenants’ convenience. In addition to high installation costs, these systems are also costly to operate, which makes it imperative to use IoT sensors to monitor their performance.

If the pump does not drain water from the fan coil, it may flood the equipment as well as electrical and integrated components. A water leak may indicate a fault in the system or a broken drain pump. This is another example of the use of a leakage-type IoT sensor. Using these sensors could prevent a disaster.

HVAC systems supported by IoT sensors
HVAC systems supported by IoT sensors

Example 4 - People Presence Control (Presence Sensors)

The next area where IoT sensors can be applied is in the warehouse sector. There are some areas within facilities to which not every individual should have access, while other parts of the premises should be protected constantly (for example, server rooms and archives). By using a presence detection IoT sensor integrated with the FM system, it is possible to quickly receive a notification if someone is in the room. It simplifies security and keeps a record of when exactly the door was opened, therefore heightening your facility’s security.

a man in a helmet at the warehouse
Presence IoT Sensors can be installed at various facilities, including warehouse real estate

Example 5 - Monitoring of Doors and Windows Opening/Closing (Distance Sensors)

Finally, IoT sensors can also apply to commercial real estate, such as office buildings. IoT sensors offer a great deal of advantage for non-financial reporting. A combination of IoT sensors with FM software that supports ESG reporting is a win-win situation for everyone!

Without an integrated Building Management System or Facility Management Software in your property, you cannot fully control whether the windows at night, during storms, or hot weather are closed. In this case, distance IoT sensors can alert staff when doors and windows are not closed after tenants have finished work.

opened glass door
Distance IoT sensors that helps with monitoring of doors/windows opening/closing

Example 6 - Crucial Parameters for Tenants

A special software for occupiers, for example, Singu Tenant App, can provide tenants with vital information about the environmental parameters of the spaces they rent. The IoT sensors allow tenants to compare, for instance, available conference rooms in real time and book the right meeting room based on the temperature or sunlight.

tenant experience mobile application
Singu Tenant App - example of tenant experience app

6. What are the Benefits of Singu FM Integration with IoT Sensors?

Preventive And Predictive Maintenance

Cyclic inspections are just regular checks to make sure the equipment is functioning properly. Unfortunately, we are not aware of what happens to the equipment between inspections during its regular operation. By integrating IoT sensors with Singu FM, we can continuously collect and monitor equipment operation data, which allows us to perform real-time analysis based on actual measurements. Therefore, we stay constantly informed.

Energy Savings

We can also use IOT sensors to identify areas where we can continuously improve results in terms of electricity consumption and heat loss. In the event a tenant does not turn off the air conditioning when leaving the office for the weekend, it will generate an alert to the maintenance staff, who will be able to enter the room and turn off the AC, which the tenant will greatly appreciate.

Remote Meter Readings

Thanks to permanent access to the cloud, we can check the monitored parameter from anywhere and be informed about every anomaly. Remote meter readings generate some key benefits:

• Quick access to current readings of different utilities (e.g., energy, water, gas)

• Easier control and data analysis; more efficient property management

• Key technological requirement for achieving high ESG certification score


The big advantage of using the Singu platform and integrating IoT sensors is that it provides an integrated solution. Because of the universal standards applied, you do not have to use dozens of applications or order a custom-made BMS system. By choosing Singu FM integrated with IoT sensors, Tenant App, ESG reporting, and other fully functional modules, you can access data across different departments and systems for a holistic view of your real estate operations—a comprehensive user-friendly solution. Our software does the heavy lifting for you!

Would you like to learn how to utilize IoT sensors in your real estate to generate savings and other benefits? Feel free to contact us for a free consultation. Get a free ebook to discover more examples how you can leverage IoT sensors in real estate!

iot in real estate ebook banner
Written by:
Kacper Troć
Team Lead at Velis Real Estate Tech

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