Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Announcing ImageR: Your One-Step Package Solution

Fifteen years ago, BuildingLink revolutionized how buildings log and track packages, adding a powerful delivery solution to our robust suite of property-management services. Today, we’ve done it again by asking one simple question:

What if the package check-in process were one step? Who would do it any other way?

No one, that’s who! With BuildingLink’s ImageR™, your lightning-fast one-step package solution is here! You’ll never need to do it the old way again.

We named our invention ImageR because it uses Image Recognition, artificial intelligence, and Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology to make the check-in process effortless.

How effortless? Just take out your Android device (with the GEO® by BuildingLink app on it), tap the ImageR icon, and point the camera at the shipping label. When you hear the distinctive two-tone beep, that means you’ve logged the package successfully. Then, press “Save.” That’s it!

ImageR works like magic. It takes a multi-step process and reduces it to just one—snapping an image of the label. It’s fast, it’s easy, and it’s fun! Every time that app beeps, you and your staff will smile, knowing that you’re saving a ton of time. Let BuildingLink’s AI- and OCR-powered solution crush your tedious package-tracking workload.

What is ImageR?

ImageR is a new AI-powered feature within the GEO app that’ll save your building’s team tons of time by turning your Android device into a label reader, barcode scanner, data parser, and resident name matcher, all in one.

Is the package log-in process with ImageR really just one step?

Yes! Don’t take our word for it, check out this quick video and see for yourself. Go ahead, we’ll wait.

See? It’s so simple! Anytime you need to log in a package, click on the blue ImageR eye icon inside GEO and point your device’s camera at the package label. A distinctive pair of beeps tells you it’s successfully captured the information. You’ll be able to confirm that the correct resident and package info has populated into the various fields, and have the option to add a description. Hit “save”, and you’re done! The notification automatically goes to the resident and you move on to the next package, or the next task. ImageR works on dry-cleaning, florist, and pharmacy labels too!

How fast is it?

ImageR cuts your average package-handling and -entry time from 52 seconds down to about 8 seconds. Think of the hundreds of packages that your building staff checks in each week. Now think of all the time and mistakes that ImageR will save them. It brings you speed, accuracy, and friendly beeps in one package.

What data does ImageR actually capture?

ImageR uses powerful AI and OCR systems to pull in the writing on the address label, figure out who the right recipient is, find them in your building database, confirm the unit number, and create the notification that a package has arrived for them. Multiple barcodes on a label? No problem—ImageR figures out which one is the tracking number, who the carrier is, and selects the correct event type (i.e. FedEx, Amazon, etc.).

Does ImageR also speed up the step of closing out package deliveries? 

Yup. Just open up ImageR and scan the label of the package to be handed out to any resident. ImageR’s AI system automatically pulls up the right record, then the resident can enter their signature (right on the device), you click “close,” and it’s done!

Isn't this what a regular barcode scanner does?

Nope. It's much more! A barcode scanner just captures the barcode; ImageR  pulls in all the information on the label (name, unit, barcode, shipper) and matches it to your resident database and event type list at the same time.

Can I still use the full version of the site while using ImageR?

Of course! ImageR can be used in conjunction with the site or on its own.

Can I use ImageR for other purposes, like scanning visitor IDs?

Great question! Not yet. But we’re working on it!

How do I get ImageR?

If you’ve got an Android device, you’re just a click or two away from having ImageR. Download the latest GEO by BuildingLink app from the Google Play store, or update your existing GEO app to the current version (V2.0.0), then look for the ImageR icon when you open up the app.

Don't have an Android device and wondering which one you should pick up for best results with ImageR? 

We're recommending the Motorola G+, 5th Edition. Still have questions about devices? Email support@buildinglink.com and we'll be happy to help.

Can I get ImageR on my iOS device?

Unfortunately, not at this time. The unique computer vision technology powering ImageR is currently available only for Android. We’re busily seeking out a toolkit for iOS, and as soon as we have an iOS version of ImageR, we will let you know!

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.


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..

Monday, December 4, 2017

December 2017 Feature Releases

We're always working on new innovations to make life better for our customers. Here's a rundown of the latest feature updates that we've released!
  • New automation tool: ImageR computer-vision package check-in solution (more below)
  • New module: Resident Insurance Tracking (more below)
  • Resident Portal: Navigation improved (more below)
  • Amenity Reservations: New features added (more below)
    • Document/form attachments 
    • Concurrent reservations
  • GEO app: New design for iOS version now available
  • Maintenance photos entered by staff: Options added to show to residents (more below) 
  • Event Log: An “Internal Only” module has been added, for logging events that are not made visible to residents.
  • Recurring Maintenance requests: Added “6 weeks” as a recurrence option.
  • Pet Registry: Added option to export and/or print.
  • Autodialer: Resident phone numbers are optionally hidden on dialing screens; staff whose privacy settings do not allow them to see this info can still use the autodialer to contact these residents.
More details:
ImageR Package-Logging Module: Arriving just in time for the holidays, ImageR is an AI-powered, one-step, package-scanning solution. You can now enter packages in one simple step, using your Android device. All you need to do is download the GEO by BuildingLink app from the Google Play store (or update it to the current version, 2.0.0, if you’ve already been using it). ImageR is already included. Tap the ImageR icon, and start scanning! ImageR cuts package-logging time from 52 seconds to 8! Check out this video to see how fast and easy it is!

Resident Insurance Tracking: Managers can now record details of resident insurance certificates, upload PDFs of the actual policies, and allow residents to update their own information. Module also provides a range of automated email options for promoting compliance, tracking expired policies, and getting residents to submit renewal information.

Improved Resident Portal navigation: Features include new “Resident Services” section on the left-hand menu for all unit-related needs. More intuitive “My Profile” in the upper right-hand corner now replaces “Edit Profile” tab.

Amenity Reservations 
Attached Documents: Managers can attach amenity-specific documents or forms that are relevant to or required from residents. Residents wanting to place a reservation can then read whatever information is provided (rules, schedules, pricing options, etc.) or can be required to download, complete, sign, or submit forms (liability waivers, etc.).

- New Concurrent Amenities Reservations: Via our “concurrent limit” rule, in situations where your building has multiple identical instances available of an amenity (i.e. six guest parking spaces, two party rooms, etc.), you can now set a “maximum concurrent” rule, and define only one amenity, instead of defining multiple individual amenities.

Maintenance photos entered by staff: New functionality includes the option to share images and make them visible to residents. A default value for staff maintenance photos can be set to “share” or “do not share” with residents, and can be overridden on a per-photo basis.