Whether you’re a developer or a property manager, you’re ready to take advantage of the benefits proptech can offer you. If you’re planning to invest in proptech solutions such as a building entry system, you’ll need to do your homework to find the right solution for your needs. Proptech has saved time and money for millions of developers and property managers worldwide. But you know that adding anything to your building — proptech or otherwise — always comes with certain considerations.

Failing to consider your budget, your building’s infrastructure, and future developments can lead to a poor return on your investment. Here are four key pitfalls of proptech to avoid when investing in a new solution.

The four most common proptech pitfalls are:

  1. Choosing a proptech solution that isn’t user friendly
  2. Investing in proptech that your building’s existing wiring can’t support
  3. Forgetting to keep an eye on the future
  4. Failing to properly assess your installer and proptech provider

 

1. Choosing a proptech solution that isn’t user friendly

A thoughtfully designed, user-focused solution with a simple registration process will increase resident adoption. If it takes too long to learn, residents (and staff) will be less likely to use it, and your investment could be largely wasted.

Ask your provider for buildings in your area where their product is installed and check it out yourself. Property staff and residents who love a proptech product will tell you — and they’ll surely tell you if they don’t. It’s a win-win.

 

2. Investing in proptech that your building’s existing wiring can’t support

One of the biggest — and most common — mistakes is investing in proptech that your building’s current wiring cannot support. If you’re retrofitting an existing building, check your system’s requirements and confirm that your wiring can support the necessary data bandwidth.

For new developments, consider fiber optic cables. Fiber optics may seem expensive compared to other options, but they carry higher loads of data with less energy consumption. And with 29 billion internet-connected devices expected to be online by 2022, you’ll be thankful you made the investment.

Without the wiring to support the necessary data transfer, your proptech investment probably won’t perform as intended. What’s more, improving internet connectivity can help building owners increase rent and revenue.

 

3. Forgetting to keep an eye on the future

With 5G and WiFi 6 right around the corner, you may not need to upgrade your building’s wiring. Instead, installing repeaters within your property may be enough to boost the signal and achieve the results you’re seeking.

Remember that the reason for adding any amenity is to improve tenant satisfaction, operational efficiency, or both to positively impact NOI. However, if the upfront or ongoing investment is too large, it may not make fiscal sense to invest in an otherwise desirable amenity.

 

 

4. Assessing your installer and proptech provider

Proptech is a relatively new field, and many traditional installers and integrators in the industry are still catching up. With more than 5,000 products installed, ButterflyMX knows there’s nothing worse than committing to a proptech investment only for it to go south because of an inexperienced installer.

The wrong installer can:

  • Damage the hardware
  • Overcomplicate the installation, resulting in unnecessary costs
  • Charge for unnecessary services
  • Miss deadlines

Now that you know an inefficient installer is one of the most common pitfalls of proptech, let’s lay out some strategies that will help you determine if a certain installer is right for you.

Here’s a list of questions you should ask potential proptech installers and providers to see if they’re the right fit:

 

Five questions to ask your installer and provider:

  1. How long does the installation process usually take?
  2. How many people are typically involved in the installation process?
  3. Can your building’s infrastructure support new technologies?
  4. How many wiring touchpoints or connections are required for the system?
  5. What are the ongoing maintenance costs? 

 

1. How long does the installation process usually take?

Regardless of your budget, the right proptech must meet your deadlines. New developments have strict timetables that need to be followed, and retrofits can quickly become installation nightmares. So, develop new properties with your desired technology in mind to save days or weeks of unforeseen changes.

Ask your proptech provider for references, particularly for buildings that have a similar size, location, or date of construction. This way, you can get a sense of how long the installation will take and how much it will cost.

Your property is a multi-million dollar asset. Don’t let one of the most common pitfalls of proptech stop that asset from producing returns because of missed deadlines or Certificate of Occupancy delays.

 

2. How many people are typically involved in the installation process?

Answer: one.

The best proptech solutions are designed so that one person can install them on top of existing building infrastructure or with few modifications.

 

3. Can your building’s infrastructure support new technologies?

Many new property technologies require either additional power, bandwidth, or both. Before you purchase new technology, make sure your current infrastructure can support it. Familiarize yourself with the system’s wiring diagram and confirm that it’s compatible with your building.

 

 

4. How many wiring touchpoints or connections are required for the system?

Let’s use property access technology as an example. Soon, you’ll be able to easily install access points at each door you want to control. These access points will run on battery power and connect wirelessly to your building’s internet, sending a signal to smart locks to open doors. But until then, you’ll have to do some planning, because adding these access points can be time-consuming and expensive.

Once you’ve determined which doors need to be locked, you’ll need to consider your system hardware’s wiring requirements: Can it be powered over Ethernet (PoE) or does it require a dedicated power source? Is this power source AC or DC? This can make the difference between building inspectors coming to visit or not.

 

5. What are the ongoing maintenance costs?

After purchase, your system will need additional maintenance. Some proptech solutions have high maintenance costs, some have low maintenance costs, and some have none (well, sort of).

High maintenance costs are common with providers that sell several pieces of hardware. In the same way your smartphone becomes obsolete as software requirements change, proptech hardware gets old, too. It can also cost a lot to update your systems if someone needs to enter the premises.

Low maintenance providers are typically those that sell you little to no hardware and remotely transmit their software updates to improve functionality and security. You might have to pay a small fee to a low-maintenance provider, but remote software updates ensure that your systems are always up to date without any of the hassles of an in-person installer.

But what about providers that claim no maintenance costs? Unfortunately, you’ll pay for that in the form of hardware and software that quickly becomes obsolete. Technology changes fast, and if you purchase solutions that don’t adapt, you’ll have to make regular investments to stay current.

 
 

Proptech takeaways

If you’re here learning about the pitfalls of proptech, then you already know the benefits far outweigh any complications that might arise during installation or maintenance. With these tips and tricks, you’ll be able to get your proptech up and running in no time. You’ll also enhance the lives of property staff and guests sooner.

For a more in-depth discussion about making sure your proptech investment pays off, check out our free guide below!

 

Ensuring your proptech investment pays off

Jon Tamn

Author

Jon Tamn

I enjoy writing about real estate, property management, and proptech. I live and work in New York City.

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