Monday, December 11, 2017

Integrating Leak-Detection Solutions with BuildingLink


Are you talking to a leak-detection solution provider for your building? If so, this blog post will help when the inevitable question comes up:  "Do you integrate with BuildingLink?"

Whole-Building Leak Detection, as a Service


Over the last year or two, we have become acquainted with several companies that offer leak-detection equipment and/or monitoring services for apartments in residential buildings. Leaks are a huge headachein our recent survey of 137 senior property managers covering use cases for BuildingLink’s Aware Sensor initiative, water leaks and the damage they cause were the #1 most universal pain point across nearly all management companies surveyed.


While BuildingLink’s Aware! sensors team is working on some exciting and highly-relevant water leak detection devices and technologies, we are happy to collaborate with any reputable outside vendor or solution provider offering leak-detection systems.

If you are talking with such a company, at some point either you (on behalf of your property) or the leak-detection vendor will ask each other, or us, some version of:   "Do you integrate with BuildingLink?" This blog post will make you sound very knowledgeable when you respond!


What does “integration” mean?


It’s important to define the phrase “integrate with BuildingLink.” Many people assume it means asking for a pop-up leak notification on their BuildingLink dashboard. But is that likely to be effective at 3 a.m. when nobody is looking at the computer?  And, what else can be integrated?  Here, we lay out some other integration options.


Importing the units, floors, lines, locations, and other physical layout details from BuildingLink into an external leak-detection database:


At some point, you’ll need to identify the different areas in your building where your leak sensors are located (e.g. fifth floor, study, east stairwell, etc) so that you can respond promptly to alerts. BuildingLink already knows the floors, lines and locations of your property. You should use that knowledge!


Accessing our "Physical Spaces" API  will allow you to pull in space and unit definitions and layouts from the BuildingLink database. Your solution will need you to define locations within your building . Connecting your solution to BuildingLink would eliminate the need to code and record each sensor locationmaking for faster and easier implementation, and more integrated systems.


Importing resident contact information from BuildingLink into an external leak detection database:


Taking your integration one step further, you can include resident information.


When the Smiths move out of apartment 2A, you will want any future leak alerts to be sent to the  new residents' emails or smartphones,  and not to the Smiths.  Integrating your contact info with BuildingLink's  saves you from having to also update your leak solution’s database, or from acting on outdated info and contact lists.


Recording all of  your “Alert: leak has been detected!” events  from your leak detection system into the BuildingLink Maintenance Module, as a searchable “repair request”.


To keep a running internal record of leak events that trigger your solution, you can access our Maintenance Requests API to write any leak occurrences to BuildingLink, under a specific category (e.g. “Leak Detected”)   - linked either to the management unit or to the specific apartment where the leak occurred. Whomever is set up to receive Maintenance notifications  (management, residents) would get an email and/or SMS, and a record of detected leaks preserves a useful history of problems and actions taken.


Adding  a  Central Station “live answer” service to your triggered “leak detected!” alerts:


When the bathroom in Penthouse A floods at 3 a.m. in December and the residents are away for the winter, a  one time email or text message can easily be overlooked while the damage continues to build up. If you want to make sure that a real person will actually and certainly be contacted and notified, and if your solution provider does not offer a Central Station option and call-list function, BuildingLink can help you implement this option, by relaying to such a service any alerts it receives.


Conclusion


We hope this answers your questions about how to knit together an external leak detection solution with your BuildingLink operations platform.


To learn more about BuildingLink’s API, visit developer.buildinglink.com. To speak with someone about potential integrations, please email support@buildinglink.com .   And make sure to stay up to date on BuildingLink’s own initiatives in the Aware! Sensor Solutions space, including as it relates to leak detection and automatic valve shutoffs..

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