Property managers may want to consider investing in the right technologies to create smart communities as nearly half of prospective renters say smart building products increase their interest in a potential apartment, according to a 2021 study by Assurant. Renters are even willing to lose out on floor space if it means enhanced digital features.
By Dean Compoginis
VP of Business Development, Nomadix Inc.
Imagine controlling the lights, thermostat, security system and community gates all with a tap on your smartphone or through voice commands. After spending countless hours at home over the past 16+ months, we’ve learned new habits and shifted our preferences for comfort, efficiency and seamless connection while working, learning and relaxing in our homes.
With the promise of continued hybrid work options – as seen with the U.K. looking to make work-from-home the “default” choice, the new smart-home requirements will only continue to increase. In fact, 40 percent of all U.S. apartments are expected to have connected devices by 2025, with smart apartment revenue to exceed $9B.
Aligning with this new demand, multifamily property managers and owners should invest in internet-of-things (IoT) technologies and smart functionality to ensure higher tenant satisfaction and lease renewals. Let’s take a look at a few key areas that not only benefit the resident but also improve operational efficiencies and create higher values for the property.
Did you know that 61 percent of millennials are more likely to rent an apartment specifically because of its electronic access features? For individual apartments, property gates, fitness rooms, pools and more, connected entry and access controls make it easy for residents to let friends or service people in from a distance via mobile apps or digital-key technology.
For property managers, they can increase the security of the property by instant authorization and restriction of access as residents move in and out. It’s more efficient than changing locks, simple to manage, and eases the tension of onboarding during peak transitions times.
Smart thermostats, outlets, lighting and other energy-smart IoT solutions offer smart-home conveniences residents want. It provides joy to many to start cooling down their apartment 20 minutes before they arrive home on a sweltering day! It’s also easy to turn on lights with sensors or voice commands when walking into a room or sitting on the couch when the sun starts to go down.
Meanwhile, IoT energy-management systems can deliver significant savings. Many operators report that heating and cooling alone accounts for half or more of their monthly energy costs. Using IoT sensors to track and analyze energy consumption and air quality optimizes energy use and improves response times if any problems arise. Leak detection, for example, can instantly alert maintenance before catastrophic damage occurs.
Today’s residents want a home that offers comfort and community, and which eases their everyday lifestyle. Mobile apps provide the glue that pulls it all together. From staying in touch with other residents with messaging apps, to paying rent and utility bills, package notification, maintenance orders, and controlling the lighting and temperature, investing in an integrated, customized mobile app really helps build the community.
Owners and managers see substantial benefits from the adoption of a customized mobile app. From touring a property at lease-up, to staying in touch with residents over the course of their tenancy, and continuing the relationship after they move out, mobile apps deliver what all property owners and managers need: continuous engagement with their most important resource – their customers.
Connection via mobile apps can also allow residents to immediately notify property managers of a leaky faucet, faulty light switch or other maintenance issues. Open communication through the app can help property managers keep residents aware of important updates or community events. Property managers can also collect rent and notify residents about overdue payments digitally.
Wi-Fi as a Service
Managed Wi-Fi offers the support necessary for all these IoT devices and gives residents instant access to fast, high-quality connectivity. Residents can manage their own connections with individual network passwords and controls, and benefit from seamless access across the property. This powers all of the smart technologies across the community, not to mention the smart TVs, computers and other devices they use to work and relax in their homes.
Offering managed Wi-Fi also opens up many opportunities for property owners. It can be quite common to generate an additional $20-$30 per month per apartment for just internet services alone. Beyond generating additional monthly revenue, the managed Wi-Fi network will also provide outstanding opportunities to improve operational efficiencies and add ancillary revenue streams.
There is a wide range of IoT and smart technologies available today to support smart-apartment initiatives. Where you focus your resources depends entirely on your specific situation, competitive set, local market variables and portfolio management imperatives. For example, in some markets, a $20 monthly savings on electricity due to smart thermostats may be highly valued, while in another market, smart apps and access control for dog walkers and delivery people may be of higher interest.
Residents have shown they are willing to pay for the latest digital features in smart communities, with millennials paying about 20 percent more and staying longer in buildings that offer modern lifestyle conveniences. Now’s a great opportunity to build a solid foundation to align to the new expectation of residents. Happy residents create happy communities, and offering modern, smart conveniences will continue to create positive returns with resident satisfaction and increased revenue opportunities.
About Dean Compoginis
Dean is a global sales and marketing executive who most recently served as director of MDU business development & sales at Ruckus Networks. Before that, he was the director of the hospitality business unit at Meru Networks. Dean has a proven track record in multiple industries, including networking, hospitality, MDU, software, telecommunications, broadcast, major retail, marine products, computer hardware. He currently serves as VP of Business Development of Nomadix.