How the Internet of Things will Simplify & Increase Profits in the Rental Housing Industry

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The future of the rental property market is not distant. It is here, and it is unlike anything we’ve ever seen. The Internet of Things (IoT), or the connectivity of smart devices that share data with the outside world, is paving this exciting future. From smart thermostats to smart door locks, these new inventions are gaining ground and excitement rapidly. In this article, we will share a vision of the future using smart devices within the rental property market.

As with any change there are those that will disagree with or fear the new direction in the property management process. Our goal is to prove that these new technologies should not be feared, but embraced for their potential of earning extra profit as well as simplifying the management of properties.  To show this, we will describe a day in the life of an IoT property including the property owner, leasing agents, tenants, and maintenance personnel.

The leasing process begins with the leasing agent showing the potential tenants a unit for rent.  The leasing agent, while showing the property, introduces the potential tenant to the devices making up the smart device package.The leasing agent describes how the smart thermostat, smoke alarm, door lock, air monitors and lights can be controlled from the tenants’ smart phone, tablet, or computer.  The leasing agent then gives them a brief demonstration using their iPad by controlling the devices in the apartment.  The leasing agent will share with the potential tenant that they can have access to all these devices for a fixed monthly fee of $20.00 per month.  If the tenant chooses not to sign up for the smart device package, the thermostat and the other devices will act like normal smoke alarms, thermostats etc.  However, it is explained that by using the Nest Thermostat along with the other smart devices, their electricity bill can be reduced, therefore paying for the package itself.

Once the leasing agent has signed up the tenant for the package, they will use their property management software to create the username for all the smart devices in the apartment.  An email will be sent to the tenant that includes the username along with details on how to download and use the software. Links with online tutorials will also be provided in the email.

By using their provided username and password, the tenant downloads the software to their smart phone/tablet, watches the online tutorials, and starts utilizing their smart devices.

As smart devices are installed they provide a treasure trove of data that maintenance personnel along with property managers can monitor and analyze.  As an example, in-house software is used to monitor the data collected from smoke alarms, humidity detection devices, thermostats, air monitoring and door monitoring devices.  If anything is out of the ordinary, such as humidity being high in a unit, or a door being open for too long, the maintenance personnel is sent a text describing which unit the issue is coming from. They are also alerted when it is time to replace the batteries in the smoke alarms.

As the owner of a rental property, these smart devices, or Internet of Things, provide an opportunity to increase revenue as well as detect issues early that might be happening within the apartment complex. It also increases the potential of attracting a high-end tenant looking to use these types of technologies.

As different types of smart devices are manufactured they can be integrated into the existing packages and software of the property.  They can also be tailored to specific problems that certain properties are experiencing.

Because of the Internet of Things, the future of the rental housing market, will be impressive, as exemplified in this article. We, at JDI, are excited to be a part of this future. As we progress in learning more about the Internet of Things as it pertains to properties, we will keep you updated on our findings. We’re excited, and we hope you are too.

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By Michael Schreiber and Leila Ettachfini. Michael and Leila are partners in JDI, a software development and consulting company specializing in IoT devices for the rental housing industry.  Michael can be reached at (303-513-9995) and michael@jdiapps.com. Leila can be reached at leila@jdiapps.com. Visit http://www.JDIapps.com for more information.

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