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The Tech Path to Emergency Preparedness

March 05, 2019 | John Salustri

How effective is your emergency preparedness plan? A rock-solid, tech-enabled plan can not only save lives, it can also add to building value. That was the premise put forth by Ted Low in a recent IREM Accelerator Webinar.

Low, who is senior vice president of Growth and Development at Datawatch Systems in Atlanta, presented a live Accelerator webinar entitled “Technology Trends in Access & Security.” In it, he made the all-important link between building safety and asset value.

“Value in simple terms is defined by operating income,” he explained. And operating income is then defined “by attraction, occupancy and retention.”

Continuing to peel back this onion, he said that retention is largely a matter of tenant experience, and tenants today want to see, “technology, convenience and ease of mind. If you want me to pay top-of-market rate, then I want to know you have up-to-date technology. I also want ease of entry and access. And I want to know what kind of plan is in place that gives me a reasonable expectation of remaining safe. If you’re hitting those three points, you’re creating value.”

Low made the distinction between software systems manufactured by an OEM and installed by a systems integrator, and managed systems that are typically created, installed and managed by a single provider. While both can be cloud-based--a clear advantage--he pointed out that stand-alone systems offer training, servicing and upgrades on an ala carte basis, while the latter systems bundle these in as part of the overall package. This, he indicated, is also a factor in controlling operating costs.

Low brought out two essential elements of any preparedness plan: emergency lockdown and emergency notifications, both of which can be enabled through tech applications.

Emergency lockdowns and the need to shelter people in place can be caused by such threats as weather, domestic violence and active shooters, Low said: “You can save a lot of people. This is especially true if your tech-enabled security system has a one-touch lock-down capability.

“The next piece is letting people know what’s going on,” he continued. “Communication is key, and there are some companies that provide a comprehensive solution that includes lockdown and emergency communication with preset mailing groups. You select your mailing group and you message template, and in 30 seconds you’ve locked the building down and advised everyone inside and outside the building what to do to stay safe.”

Low also provided a breakdown of costs to help managers visualize the impact on operating expenses and value. In so doing, he drove home the point that a tech-enabled emergency preparedness plan can save in many ways.

(For a full list of live Accelerator Webinars, please click here, and to choose an on-demand Accelerator, click here.)

About the Author
John Salustri is editor-in-chief of Salustri Content Solutions, Inc., a consultancy focused on enhancing the web and print content of clients around the nation. He is a regular contributor to JPM Magazine and a frequent blogger for IREM. Prior to launching SCS, John was founding editor of, the industry’s premier real estate news website, where he managed the daily output of 25 international reporters, and prior to that, he was editor of Real Estate Forum Magazine. John is a four-time winner of the National Association of Real Estate Editors’ Award for Excellence in Journalism.

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