When it comes to new developments like apartments, smart-home technology is at the top of that very list.
The rise of millennial renters is driving the desire for smart technology and the propensity to pay a premium for it. If Developers don't provide a solution, their residents will consider installing their own smart devices. Doing so creates a challenge for apartment operators who want full control of specific devices and don't want residents making changes to electrical wiring.
A recent Entrata survey showed that a basic technology package (high-speed internet, cable TV, etc.) is number one in premium pay, and smart-home features (smart thermostats, keyless entry, etc.) ranked sixth.
And it all starts with the hardwiring.
First thing, there needs to be a proper backbone to manage the technology from a property operations level. Providing connectivity to the resident is one challenge since you need to determine which devices should go on the building's network as opposed to the resident's internet. For instance, voice-activation and streaming devices should connect to the resident's network to ensure data privacy, while smart lighting, thermostats, and leak-detection systems are connected to the building's network so the on-site team can control and govern those appropriately. This allows the community to bridge the two networks through the internet to simplify the experience for the resident while keeping the resident's voice and video data off the community network.
Residents moving into upscale apartment communities are beginning to anticipate that their new home will be smart-home ready. Those electronic-locks, lighting, and water-leak detection features have arrived, and in the long-term, they possess the most considerable ROI benefit to the apartment operator because of added overall energy efficiency.
Measuring the hard- and soft-cost saving will always be the obstacle. These smart technology equipments are actual dollar savings. If a water pipe were to burst, there would be a fully automated process to help solve the issue. It would shut off water to that pipe, communicate with the AI system to call a plumber, notify the resident, and inform the operational site, maintenance team. It would search for the most reasonable plumber, provide access credentials to the property, elevator, and be able to enter specifically the room where the break is. The payment would be automatic and unit operational again for the renter.
Residents are aware of name brands such as Google, Amazon, and others. It's a wise strategy to attach these devices to the resident's network. Upon renting the apartment, they can purchase and select the device of their choice, which can plug into the community's back-end control of that particular unit. Properly implemented smart-home technology creates value on the back-end if an apartment operator ever chooses to sell the community.