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How IoT and Smart Home Technology are Improving Multi-Family Housing

How smart home technology is changing multifamily housing phone selection

A few years ago, very few people would have imagined the impact of smart technologies and the internet of things (IoT) on the multi-family housing industry. However, the growing number of millennials and Gen Xers demanding more comfort and security has compelled real estate developers to adapt to the dynamic landscape and add IoT into their multi-family housing development plans. 

Today, many multi-family owners and facility managers are reaping the benefits of home automation. They are embracing advanced tech solutions to improve occupant experience and attain real-time monitoring of operational efficiency. 

Unsure how IoT and other next-gen tech systems are impacting the lives of multi-family housing residents? Learn about the true power of automation below. 

What is Smart Home Technology?

Smart home technology (more commonly known as home automation or domotics) is an inventive solution to connect your life with modern gadgets to the Internet. The system connects smartphones, applications, and conventional devices in the network to provide security and convenience to residents and tenants. 

Smart home automation involves monitoring and programming your home’s various utilities from several networked devices while you are away from home. Controlling your television sets and lights from your smartphones is one example. 

Related: What is a Smart Apartment?

How Does Smart Home Integration Fit into Multi-Family Housing?

Home automation is all about redefining holistic connectivity.

From the perspective of a multi-family business owner or manager, a smart home automation system means managing vacant units, improving security, cutting energy costs, and gathering useful data to better align their properties to the buyers’ or renters’ needs.

The International Data Corporation’s (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Smart Home Device Tracker forecasts that the global market of smart home devices will witness growth of 16.9%  compounded CAGR over 2019-2023; they also project roughly 1.6 billion devices to be shipped in 2023.

Smart technologies are impacting many facets of daily life like security, energy, and resource management. In fact, automated systems are contributing to healthy living experiences among residents of multi-family buildings. Though these investments are hardly cheap, they provide substantial benefits to multi-family building owners and property managers alike.

The data in the NHMC’s Disruption Report shows how demographic shifts and technological advances are affecting housing & its impact on our future. Numerous trends are bound to stand out as game-changers, and designers, developers, and facility managers should pay attention to them to stay ahead of the curve. 

Disruption report key takeaways:

1. Technology 

Technological advancements, such as property management tech tools, are expected to become a part of the core infrastructure of apartment communities. 

So much so, in fact, that the technology research firm Gartner predicts that 26 billion devices will be connected via cloud-based IoT.

Smart Home Technology and IoT solutions are a secure way to attract more tenants, decrease costs, and optimize the multifamily facility. These devices also allow the renters to live in their dream homes with high-tech gadgets optimizing their daily routines and lives. 

Here are some notable features of cutting-edge smart apartment solutions. 

Noteworthy Features

All-in-one Platforms

Smart platforms are specifically designed to make the life of occupants easier. This powerful technology aims to deliver a secure, reliable and easy to use management platform that helps owners and property managers detect operational issues during their initial stages.

Users can also remotely monitor and control every door of the property directly through their smartphone. From building entry and amenity space to the unit doors, these smart solutions offer residents a seamless, secure experience.

Efficient Property Utility Management

Smart devices like thermostats and lights take care of energy efficiency needs to provide tenants with comfort that is delivered more efficiently. These solutions also help minimize wasteful utility spending and avoid unnecessary staff requests at the property. 

To summarize, these smart solutions achieve

  • Energy and cost savings for tenants and property managers. 
  • Zero staff trips to manage climate control in vacant units. 
  • Improve tenant comfort, convenience, and satisfaction.

Community-Wide Access

IoT technology offers complete access control and security to tenants. 

Smart access allows the facility to remotely lock and unlock common area doors in addition to granting temporary access to guests, potential leads and maintenance workers. 

Smart Access technology solutions help multi-dwelling property managers: 

  • Conduct self-guided tours for prospective tenants. 
  • Avoid dealing with tenant-related lockouts. 
  • Eliminate staff key pulling and wasted time. 

Lowered Risk & Insurance Costs

Smart water, smoke detectors, and door sensors all play crucial roles in asset protection and risk management. Smart solutions offer added security to tenants, preventing them from turning into catastrophes. 

This smart risk management helps:

  • Prevent tens of thousands of dollars in property damage due to water leaks or fire. 
  • Ensure that the right people receive automated notifications to handle urgent issues. 
  • Provide added security for the property and its tenants.
  • Save thousands annually from reduced property insurance rates (due to smart sensors).
Top features of smart apartments for property managers and landlords

2. Marketplace

The digital age has accustomed consumers to the timely delivery of goods and services. As a result, consumers have begun placing greater emphasis on lifestyle as it relates to the communities they reside in.

In data gathered by the NHMC 2018 Consumer Housing Insights Survey, 63% of respondents said that their lives were so busy that they were looking for ways to make their lives easier. 

Of course, the internet is one major facilitator of this; by 2023, 90% of the U.S population will be connecting to the internet via smartphones  (according to experts). 

Younger generations, in particular, are both highly informed and empowered by personalized, networked data. This demographic, which expects immediate gratification, is also influenced by peers when it comes to on-demand consumption. 

The 2017 State of the Connected Customer Survey conducted by Salesforce.com revealed that 89% of business buyers and 72% of consumers expect companies to understand their unique needs and expectations.

In terms of property managers, early adopters of this smart home technology will be able to ask for increased rent premiums, and run more efficient properties while enjoying enhanced marketability; competing properties will be scrambling to catch up.

3. Demographics

A report from leading research organization Urban Institute suggests that millennials (people who were born between 1981-1997) are less likely to be homeowners than Gen Xers (1965-1980) and baby boomers (1946-1964).

The report highlighted several reasons why millennials may be choosing to rent apartments for a longer span instead of becoming homeowners.

The figure below shows homeownership rates among these three different demographics since 1990.

The millennial age group is split into two: 18 to 24 and 25 to 34.

The older of these two groups (25-34) can be directly compared with the two previous generations at the same age—baby boomers in 1990 and Gen Xers in 2000.

As shown in the figure above, when compared with previous generations, the millennial homeownership rate is 8 to 9% lower for the ages of 25 to 34.

This suggests that millennials (who tend to be more tech-savvy) will be a more prominent demographic of renters. This group prefers a lifestyle supported by technology. As such, it’s important for multi-family builders to construct homes that appeal to millennials. By adding smart features, they can do just that, boosting occupancy rates in the process. 

4. Employment

According to Gallup, 43% of workers in America telecommute. That number has and will grow exponentially even after the coronavirus pandemic has ended.

What this means is that wireless Internet and mobile technology are changing the way that people work. 

As Americans spend more time in their homes, it’s critical that property managers manage their needs in a more streamlined way.

5. Health 

Residents are looking for apartments that simplify their lives and improve their health.

According to the NMHC 2018, Consumer Housing Insights Survey, 92% of renters wished that their living environment promoted better sleep.

This is why 91% of the renters say soundproof walls are essential.  

Amenities like smart lights (that adjust based on the evening routines of tenants) are features that allow for greater marketability.

The stats above indicate that the world is already moving towards smart-housing. 

It, therefore, makes sense to adopt these modern automation systems to create a more marketable property for tenants. 

Find this article useful? Share your thoughts with us over social media!

And be sure to stay tuned for more industry insights.

Originally published May 18, 2020

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