housing estate

Property management and utility billing: how an OCR meter scanner can help

Ebin Thomas

Account Executive at Anyline

May 17, 2022

The workload of property management personnel is getting easier thanks to new mobile technologies. Tasks that were once labor-intensive can be simplified using digital automation. When chosen properly, these solutions can reduce and reallocate workloads, solve logistical problems, reduce stress, and help companies focus on their core business.

In property management, companies spend a lot of time ensuring that utility meters are read properly. That’s essential for an accurate utility billing. The good news is that today, mobile data capture can help eliminate this pain point, allowing property management staff to quickly read resident’s meters and transmit the data straight into your centralized system to calculate energy use.

In this blog, we offer guidance on how property management firms can use meter reading technology to their advantage.

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What kind of tasks are property management firms responsible for?

It might be easier to ask what types of tasks property management firms aren’t responsible for. Traditionally, property management companies carry out the daily oversight of residential, commercial, or industrial real estate, often on behalf of other firms.

Management companies are responsible for everyday repairs and ongoing maintenance, security, and upkeep of buildings and grounds. They’re also often responsible for rent collection, resident complaints and ensuring that energy meters are read, and the information is communicated with tenant billing entities. They may also be acting as agents for the buildings’ owners and utility companies.

Because they wear so many hats, property management firms are good candidates for solutions that can automate tasks and leave employees more time for other tasks.

Collecting utility money: an eternal headache

What was once an ordinary headache is now a super-sized migraine. With many people working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, utility bills have gone up commensurate with resident occupancy. Put simply, the utility bills are bigger today. For this reason, flat rate utility billing may be a costly mistake for building owners. It makes more sense to bill residents for the energy they actually consume – this also helps residents become more mindful about how much energy they use — and that means reading the meters regularly. Of course, because of the ongoing pandemic and the resulting worker shortages, this is a complicated venture when done via traditional means.

How Mobile Meter Scanning is Integrated

Chances are that your property management company already has a software platform and/or mobile app to manage residents’ tenancy. Anyline’s OCR technology can be easily implemented into this platform, eliminating the need for more tools in the collection of assets.

By integrating Anyline’s OCR technology using its software development kit (SDK), property management companies can save resources while simultaneously making it easier for staff by allowing them to use their own mobile devices. It works with both Android and iOS devices and offers support for common integration frameworks including Xamarin, React Native, Flutter and Cordova.

To learn more about mobile meter reading technology, download Anyline’s Energy & Water Demo App to test its capabilities.