People have a growing appetite for innovative technology in all aspects of their lives that is influencing decisions ranging from the phones and cars they buy to where they choose to live. Demand from a more tech-centric consumer has launched a new generation of “smart” apartments. Some of the common smart devices popping up in apartments include smart lighting, thermostats, appliances, outlets, and door locks. Voice-activated systems allow you to dim the lights, adjust the AC and turn on the dishwasher – all without leaving the comfort of your sofa.
Smart apartments are more than just cool gadgets. Property owners and managers are integrating a variety of smart devices, in units and throughout a community, with a property’s building automation systems into one connected building system. Managed Wi-Fi networks facilitate the use of smart tech for both residents and staff. The result is a growing menu of internet-connected devices that enable the convenience and efficiency of remote monitoring and management of equipment, systems, and property.
Smart home features have the potential to change the landscape of “must have” amenities. According to the 2022 NMHC/Grace Hill Renter Preferences Survey, some of the key characteristics driving choices for future renters are flexibility, smarter amenities and connectivity. Survey results show that the most popular smart home features for more than two-thirds of renters are smart thermostats, leak detection systems and water-saving features. Managed Wi-Fi networks also provide the seamless connectivity that renters demand both inside and outside of units. In fact, the NMHC/Grace Hill Survey found that internet connectivity ranked as the number one amenity for 90% of survey respondents and reliable cell phone service followed close behind as a top amenity for 86% of respondents.
Smart apartments can provide a competitive edge in attracting and retaining tenants, and some owners have found that smart apartment amenities allow them to charge an added premium. According to the NMHC/Grace Hill Survey, renters are willing to pay an average premium of $47.93 for high-speed internet. Owners are also taking advantage of their own smart building systems to create greater operating efficiencies. Smart building systems automate a variety of property management tasks ranging from security and keyless entry to rent collection and maintenance requests. In addition, internet-connected devices give managers efficient oversight and control of unoccupied units. For example, sensors help manage energy efficiency and monitor water flows to identify potential leaks around sinks, showers, and appliances and send alerts that can help to avoid property damage.
“The adoption rate of smart apartment technology is growing tremendously — both in terms of multifamily professionals implementing it in their buildings and residents seeking it out,” says Cyrus Claffey, founder of ButterflyMX®, a company that specializes in smart access solutions. “In fact, our unified smart access control solution now serves more than 7,500 properties and 750,000 apartments with no signs of slowing down. Of course, as more and more apartments adopt smart technology, we can’t understate the importance of ensuring that buildings have a strong managed Wi-Fi network,” says Claffey.
In the new era of smart apartment living, connectivity is more important than ever. Powering these current and future smart apartments requires a strong infrastructure backbone, and property owners and managers will need to put managed Wi-Fi networks in place that offer high-speed, seamless connectivity. Networks need to be able to support IoT and increasing automation of building systems, as well as support a smarter living experience for residents within their personal units and throughout all common areas of a property.