While drones -- also known as unmanned aircraft systems or UAS-- are already revolutionizing the way that the commercial real estate brokerage world markets properties, their benefits extend to tenants and users as well. The ability to get a view of your property and its surroundings from above enables you to manage, maintain and optimize your portfolio in new and exciting ways.
Better Eye on Maintenance
When you have a small camera that has three dimensions of movement, there is almost nothing that you cannot monitor. Anything that is hard to inspect -- like your roof or like crawl space areas -- becomes much easier to see when you can simply fly a drone up to it and view it on your monitor or smartphone. The small size of many UAS platforms also means that you can see parts of your building that you might never have seen. How often have you inspected every inch of an elevator shaft, or all of your ductwork? Drones make it easy.
Higher Perspective on HVAC
Drones equipped with infrared cameras allow you to take inspections to another level. Instead of going outside on the coldest or hottest day of the year to look for heat or cold air leakage, the UAS can do it for you. Instead of doing a rushed look, your drone can take its time and go over every possible area of heat loss, allowing you to truly seal up your building envelope.
Other sensors could let you go beyond just tracking heat and cold blooms. Drones can also test for gas leaks or even measure the strength of cellular or other radio coverage at different points around your space.
Clearer Understanding of the Area
An aerial view lets you understand an area on a much deeper level. Automobile flows, pedestrian traffic, access for delivery vehicles are all much easier to see with a proverbial eye in the sky. When combined with appropriate software, a drone can count cars, measure how long pedestrians stay in a given location or compare which locations receive more traffic. If privacy is a concern, UASs can even help with that, since you can fly them to see what another drone would see of your building.
Deeper Due Diligence
While all of these benefits of drones come into play with spaces that you own or occupy, they can also be helpful before you come into control of a space. The pre-acquisition and pre-lease due diligence process is always a balancing act. On one hand, you want to know as much as possible about a space or building before you occupy it. On the other hand, landlords and owners usually cap the amount of time that you have to do your inspections. All of the drone techniques mentioned here let you see more of a space in less time, with less effort and (hopefully) with less cost. Drones could be even more valuable as a due diligence than than as anything else.
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