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Community-Wide Connectivity Powering Post-Modern Tech Stacks

Community-Wide Connectivity Powering Post-Modern Tech Stacks
A new era of apartment leasing and living is upon us. From self-service leasing and smart home technology to the industry-wide adoption of PropTech, technology is empowering residents, onsite teams and operators alike while creating operational efficiencies.  While these technology features and solutions can really take apartment communities to the next level, a lot of these tools need a robust internet foundation to run smoothly. Apartment communities probably have WiFi, but it’s typically isolated to certain parts of the building, whether it’s the leasing office or designated common area spaces. Unfortunately, a lot of smart home technology isn’t confined to these spaces and is present throughout the community. Here are some technologies that could be optimized with community-wide WiFi to run smoothly and the benefits for operators: PropTechThe majority of apartment tours used to be standard agent-led tours. The emergence of nontraditional tours, such as self-guided, virtual and video tours, has changed the technology needs for apartment communities. The industry has made it clear these various tour options are here to stay. Self-guided tours also integrate other types of proptech into the overall experience, like wayfinding technology, interactive maps, virtual viewing, access control, ID verification and chat functionality with leasing agents. Self-guided tour and access control technologies have become a foundational component of running agentless tours. Seamless connectivity can help power proptech and self-guided tours to work in all areas of the community. Otherwise the prospect will find themselves offline and in need of assistance. This causes issues for both the prosp......
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Form and Function: Top 5 Considerations When Selecting an Access Control System

Form and Function: Top 5 Considerations When Selecting an Access Control System
Property managers have a number of options when it comes to access control technology. But not every product fits every community, or every purpose. Operators need to consider the function and flexibility required for optimal access control, and to maintain the integrity of their property.  While every community has unique characteristics, we have assembled an essential list of options that need to be assessed when selecting the right access control system.  Hardware From readers to intercoms to Bluetooth low energy (BLE) locks – touchless locks that can be controlled remotely from a smartphone or tablet – operators have a range of access solutions to choose from.  Reliability and performance are key factors when it comes to access control decisions. Does the solution create a more efficient and connected community, or create its own set of problems? For example, over the past decade key fobs and key cards have presented as many headaches as benefits for apartment operators, including lost cards and easily cloned fobs. But modern, cloud-based solutions are largely replacing that outdated technology and providing more consistency, dependability and flexibility for property managers.  Solutions by location When selecting access control hardware, it’s important to assess how it will be used and how often it will be needed. Will the product be used at a perimeter entrance, an amenity, package room, garage, elevator or apartment door? Frequently used access points like garages and elevators might be better served by hands-free solutions, while employee-only areas may not require the same technology. Some opera......
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Bang for the Buck: Smart Home Technology with the Best ROI

Bang for the Buck: Smart Home Technology with the Best ROI
  The purpose of smart home technology is to create efficiencies, and ideally, those efficiencies should generate a substantial return on investment (ROI). However, that ROI comes in many forms, sometimes making it difficult to measure or quantify.While some smart home tech has a linear and tangible impact on bottom lines and operating budgets, other products produce their ROI through preventive capabilities or marketable features. So, which smart home devices deliver the biggest bang for the buck? We’ll review four smart home products with the greatest potential ROI in the multifamily space, regardless of how it is defined.Leak and Humidity SensorsOf all the various systems coursing through an apartment community, plumbing has the greatest potential for property damage. The source of a water leak can be tricky to locate and water is capable of carving out paths of destruction one would not expect. An undetected leak in an upper level apartment can result in tens of thousands of dollars in damage in mere minutes, leading to weeks of mitigation work and lost revenue. Leak sensors – placed under or near washing machines, dishwashers, toilets, sinks, water heaters and sump pumps -- are the first line of defense. When a leak is detected, automatic alerts are sent out to designated personnel enabling an immediate response. With water leaks or broken water lines, every second matters. A prompt response can mean the difference between deploying a mop, or flooring and drywall removal. Smart thermostats equipped with humidity monitors can also identify and report abn......
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An Ounce of Prevention: How Smart Home Technology Can Mitigate Disaster

An Ounce of Prevention: How Smart Home Technology Can Mitigate Disaster
If hindsight is 20/20, what value should be placed on the ability to peer into the future? What if an apartment community had the ability to prevent minor property issues from becoming costly disasters? How much money could be saved if a plumbing leak could be detected before it burst and caused extensive, not to mention expensive, flooding? That foresight, coupled with the capability to pre-emptively address future problems, would be invaluable. Fortunately, it’s also a reality. Smart home technology allows operators to identify problem areas before they develop into larger issues and pinpoint potential points of failure prior to catastrophic damage. This predictive technology is changing the way property management companies maintain their properties and rendering the traditional reactionary approach to maintenance obsolete.  Leak Sensors are the First Line of Defense Water damage is among the most common and costly issues that multifamily operators face. While minor leaks are typically easy fixes, major plumbing issues like main line breaks and drainage clogs can quickly translate into significant and time-consuming repair projects. Even relatively contained flooding has the potential to impact electrical systems, flooring and drywall, and requires fairly invasive measures to correct. Even consider the costs to potentially move a resident to a different unit or hotel as repairs are being made. That’s why early detection is so crucial. The difference in the damage caused by a water leak that has only been active for a few minutes, and one that has been ongoing for hours or days, is dramatic.  Con......
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When Supplier Partners Speak Multifamily’s Love Language

When Supplier Partners Speak Multifamily’s Love Language
The multifamily industry used to be lampooned as being way behind the curve when it came to technology. But in recent years, it’s been exciting to see apartment owners and operators embrace new technologies. Across the country, multifamily operators are implementing cutting-edge solutions that enhance the resident experience and improve operations. The pandemic - which has compelled many operators to begin offering self guided and virtual tours - has accelerated the growth of technology in multifamily. But as operators adopt new solutions and systems, they often come to realize that working with supplier partners without strong multifamily backgrounds can be a frustrating experience. It’s Not Me, It’s You One of the challenges of working with supplier partners that don’t come from multifamily is they don’t truly understand what goes into leasing and operating apartment communities. They don’t appreciate all the nuances of the industry and the day-to-day challenges faced by onsite associates. They don’t know the multifamily workflows. Smart home technology, self-guided tours and even package management solutions demand a deep, comprehensive understanding of the industry to operate effectively.  Just as important, these supplier partners may not understand the need for integration with other solutions. The lack of integration - those actually driven by open APIs and not just parallel interfaces - among multifamily technologies and systems has long been a sore spot for operators. The inability of many multifamily solutions to “play nice” with other technologies can result in redundant data entry, data loss or duplication of effort, creating inefficiencies across the board.......
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Why You Need to Make Your Millennial Tenants Feel Safe and How to Do It

Why You Need to Make Your Millennial Tenants Feel Safe and How to Do It
Seventy-four percent of Millennials don’t feel secure in their homes, according to a recent survey. Considering that 72% of Millennials live in apartment buildings, this statistic should be a wake-up call for those who own and manage long-term multifamily rental properties. It’s increasingly clear that the security measures most property managers have in place no longer cut it for a large portion of renters.   And it’s no wonder: Technology has advanced exponentially over the past decade, offering safer, more convenient options to old-school security methods. Physical keys and even slightly more advanced technologies such as key fobs and cards are no longer considered the secure option of choice when it comes to keys in multifamily buildings.   This might not be a big deal among Gen X or even Baby Boomer renters. But for younger, digital-first generations, it’s a different story. To keep tenants safe and ensure that Millennials and Gen Zers don’t look for other places to live, managers need to embrace more modern approaches to safety.   Why Safety Should Be a Top Priority for Managers   There’s no question that property owners and managers already know that tenant safety is important. After all, basic safety precautions such as deadbolts on doors, intercoms at building entrances, and working fire alarms have long been standard practice for rental properties. If this has been enough to keep tenants safe so far, is there really any benefit to changing things?   The answer is a resounding yes. It’s not enough for a landlord to think a place......
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A Community George Jetson Would Appreciate

A Community George Jetson Would Appreciate
Growing up, I spent my fair share of time watching "The Jetsons." Set in the year 2062, the cartoon imagined a world of incredible luxury and technology. The Jetsons traveled in a flying car. George Jetson worked a whopping nine hours a week, and the family had a robot maid and a machine that produced every conceivable kind of meal with the push of a button. The show also accurately predicted the emergence of video calls as a common way to connect with friends and family.  When I think of the future of smart home solutions and other technologies in the multifamily industry, George and his family aren't far from my thoughts. In many ways, we're headed for a world they would definitely recognize. With that in mind, here are five technology-related predictions I have for multifamily after gazing into my crystal ball - and maybe even watching a few old episodes featuring good ole George, Judy, Jane, Elroy, Rosie, Astro and Mr. Sprocket: 1) Apartment homes will feature more advanced appliances. I recently bought a smart washer and dryer. They may be smart, but I still have to put the clothes in the washer, fill the detergent tray, take the clothes out, put them in the dryer, fold them and put them away. I foresee a time when, à la "The Jetsons," appliances are able to eliminate many of the mundane chores in life. In the future, I think people will be able to literally throw clothes into an appliance ......
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Why Multifamily Can’t Ignore Smart Home – and How to Implement It Successfully

Apartment operators can be a cautious group. They often are slow to embrace new technologies and new processes. But when it comes to smart home solutions, the time has come for multifamily owners and managers to embrace the new era. The reasons for doing so are powerful. Put simply, residents like them – and they can create valuable ancillary revenue. A recent report from the National Multifamily Housing Council and Kingsley Associates provides valuable insight into residents’ feelings about smart home technology. According to the study, they seem particularly interested in solutions that will lead to lower utility costs. For instance, the report says, 70.5 percent of residents say they are “interested” in smart thermostats while an additional 6.6 percent say they wouldn’t rent a home without one. Additionally, residents would expect to pay a monthly rent premium of $30 for the feature. Similarly, 66.9 percent of residents are interested in smart lighting, and another 5.3 percent indicate they wouldn’t rent an apartment that doesn’t have this technology. The monthly premium they expect to pay for smart lighting is $29. Still, even though smart home technology presents such a great opportunity for apartment operators, it’s something they should implement only after considerable due diligence and thoughtful planning. Below are five things any operator should do before installing smart home solutions in their communities. (The successful implementation of smart home features will be the subject of a session at the Multifamily Innovation Conference – Atlanta in early February.) 1) Make sure any potential smart home provider has sufficient cybers......
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Five Common Questions About Smart Home Technology

Five Common Questions About Smart Home Technology
The era of the smart apartment home is upon us.Like the owners of single-family homes, apartment residents have come to appreciate the convenience and lifestyle benefits of smart home devices. According to a recent report by the National Multifamily Housing Council and Kingsley Associates, more than 70 percent of apartment residents are interested in smart thermostats while 67 percent and 63 percent are interested in smart lighting and smart locks, respectively. Meanwhile, more than 56 percent are interested in smart/dynamic glass. The report also shows that residents are willing to pay for smart home technologies.But despite this general and growing enthusiasm for smart home solutions, apartment communities that implement them are bound to face a wide array of questions from residents. Below are some common questions and a framework for suggested responses.1) What are the benefits to me? Smart home devices can provide apartment residents with a level of convenience they haven’t experienced before. Emphasize to them how these technologies can allow them to control and monitor their homes remotely and can even help them save money. For example, smart thermostats can reduce energy bills by 10-23 percent.2) How much will it cost? This will vary, of course, depending on the solutions you’re implementing and the providers you’re using. But be direct and clear with your residents and explain to them that the cost is either incorporated into their monthly rent or that they will be charged a separate monthly fee.3) Do these technologies/devices come with security risks? Unfortunately, no technology is 10......
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How to Use Technology to Make Renters Feel at Home From Day One

How to Use Technology to Make Renters Feel at Home From Day One
For apartment owners and property managers, resident turnover is a constant challenge. Residents leave for a variety of factors, and every month a unit sits unoccupied means missed profits for owners and operators.   Sometimes, a new job takes them out of town. Other times, a change to their family dynamic means their current living situation doesn't work. While you can't control these factors, there are certain steps managers can take to provide safe, comfortable, and welcoming environments that will appeal to both existing and new residents. Exploring smart home accessories is a great place to start.   Smart technology not only helps landlords and asset owners manage their properties better, but it also delivers an amenity that attracts residents and — most importantly — keeps them there. Everyone wants to feel safe at home, and devices such as key-free connected locks, connected access control systems, and video doorbells can help residents keep an eye on their loved ones and feel secure in their surroundings. Other popular devices such as smart thermostats, meanwhile, can save renters up to nearly 25% on heating and cooling bills.   Industry research shows that about one-third of all households have smart-home connected devices in them today, while half of households currently lacking those devices plan to purchase them within a year. There’s also no reason to believe the trend will slow anytime soon.   With that in mind, here are three ways to use smart home tech to ensure your renters see the value of your property from the moment they turn the key: ......
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