Commercial real estate owners routinely know how many tenants are in their building, how much revenue they are collecting and how much square footage their property comprises. Something that’s not as easy to recognize however is how their building is operating from a mechanical standpoint—which makes a company like PointGuard Technology a valued partner in the commercial real estate industry.
Charlotte-based PointGuard provides a cloud-based software platform that helps commercial property teams increase their property’s value through significant increases in building comfort and helps lower their operating and capital costs. The company provides its customers with predictive insights and customized actions to help increase their knowledge about their building and portfolio. Facility management, mechanical and controls contractors, engineers and of course commercial building portfolio owners all use PointGuard’s platform, which is scalable, secure and works on commercial buildings of any size in any location.
“We say our technology plays offense better than defense,” PointGuard chief executive officer Shannon Smith said. “We provide the software to our customers, and then they can elect to have a managing service (as opposed to operating the platform on their own) on top of that.”
PointGuard initially started as Abundant Power Company in 2009. At the time, the company was looking to address commercial solutions for planetary problems. Abundant looked at the building environment and saw an opportunity for improved dependability, better performances, and lower greenhouse gas emissions. It had an energy finance platform it sold called CleanSense Capital, where it provided lower cost, innovative capital to real estate owners looking to add renewable energy to their structures.
While the company was doing this, it realized building owners did not have any transparency into how their buildings were operating or have any business data to justify investing in their building—environmentally or otherwise. That was when Abundant pivoted into finding a data solution service for its customers and where its software to service offering developed. The company opted to move this part of the business away from the Abundant name however and formed the product suite now known as PointGuard Technology.
The PointGuard platform operates in any building that is BACnet enabled as well as ones that are OEM (original equipment manufacturer) operated. In the case of the latter, PointGuard can provide a simple data point that will provide access, according to Smith. Once PointGuard’s software is “plugged in” to a building, the platform grabs datapoints coming from the building management system (BMS) data and uses customized algorithms to turn that data into meaningful information for the commercial building owner. The information received can help commercial building owners see how energy efficient their property is, how it’s performing in terms of ROI or even learn how to keep tenants happy and more productive.
“We’re able to both customize and amplify local knowledge as part of the flexibility of our platform,” Smith said. “Between that factor and the fact that we focus on asset help and comfort, our software generates little to no false positives, which has been a real advantage. We can recommend something very specific to our users within our system and that seems to be very attractive to our customer base using that platform.”
One of the biggest things Smith and the PointGuard team has noticed in terms of the data they’re looking at for building owners is how tenants’ in-building comfort is being viewed in the future.
“We’re moving toward an era where comfort can be optimized and people-centric versus building-centric,” Smith said. “We’re able to get down to the zone-level with additional employment of sensors and apps that allow people to interact with building teams as far as hot and cold. We’re going to be into what I call the ‘customized comfort’ building in the future, and I think that’s going to be good for productivity. Seventy-two degrees means something different for everybody in a multi-ethnic, multi-gender workforce. So it’s time for that to change.”