In recent years, smart home technology has entered the multifamily landscape. Initially exclusive to single-family homes, smart home devices now streamline daily living for apartment residents, too. These smart apartment buildings are outfitted with the latest technology, such as smart locks, mobile access control, and automated thermostats.
As a multifamily property owner, manager, or developer, you’ll want to invest in smart property technology (proptech) to attract prospects and retain current residents. Read on to learn more about smart apartment technology, its benefits, and the best devices to invest in for your property.
In this post, we’ll cover:
- What is smart apartment technology?
- How to set up an apartment with smart home technology
- Benefits of creating smart home apartments
- Top five smart devices for apartments
- The future of smart apartments
What is smart apartment technology?
Smart apartment technology refers to multifamily property technology (proptech) that automates residential life. More frequently referred to as smart home technology, these devices were once exclusive to single-family homes. But the multifamily industry realized that apartments could also benefit from smart proptech solutions.
What is a smart apartment?
A smart apartment utilizes internet-powered devices within individual units to create a tech-powered environment. Its technology is also tied to a central platform that property managers can control. In other words, the devices in smart apartments enhance residents’ living experiences while automating property management tasks, such as package deliveries, work orders, self-guided tours, and HVAC monitoring.
Apartments with smart home technology are not exclusive to modern or new developments. Existing multifamily buildings can easily be retrofitted for smart technology without investing in hefty infrastructure. All the building needs is a robust and property-wide WiFi connection that all smart devices can wirelessly connect to with limited interruption.
How to set up an apartment with smart home technology
The first step to setting up an intelligent apartment building is knowing which type of smart devices your community wants. Today, renters want amenities that provide them safety and convenience. For example, an access control system empowers residents to conveniently grant building access to guests while having peace of mind that their home is safe from unauthorized visitors.
Steps to setting up and managing a smart apartment building:
- Identify the smart systems best suited for your residents. Be sure the devices you select are compatible with the Internet of Things so that they can easily communicate with each other.
- Establish a strong WiFi connection that runs through the whole building. You might want to get WiFi extension hubs, especially if your building is large. If WiFi is not an option, you may want to consider investing in 5G small cells that can be installed throughout your property. 5G is quickly becoming the standard for wireless infrastructure in many smart buildings being developed today.
- Install proptech devices in each apartment unit and throughout the building.
- Inform residents of how to use these smart home devices.
- Analyze the data from your building’s proptech and use the findings to make necessary changes or adjustments.
Benefits of creating smart home apartments
There are countless benefits of creating a smart apartment ecosystem, both for residents and property management. The proptech amenity space is increasingly growing. And the sooner a property can integrate smart technology in rental units, the sooner it can gain a competitive advantage.
The four biggest benefits of creating smart apartments are:
- Enhanced resident experience
- Remote property management
- Improved resident safety
- Lower operating costs
1. Enhanced resident experience
Millennials and Gen Z constitute the vast majority of the renter population. And they have either grown up during the dot-com boom or have been surrounded by technology from a young age. So, many of today’s renters crave tech-powered amenities in their living spaces. By implementing technology into your building, you can significantly improve the resident experience.
Additionally, the invention of smartphones has led to a simplified life. The smartphone has become the only thing people need to carry — they can serve as car keys, credit cards, and even as identification. So, make sure one of the proptech solutions you include is a mobile access control system. That way, residents no longer have to carry keys, key fobs, or access fobs. Instead, they use their phones to open the doors to their homes.
2. Remote property management
When investing in proptech, choose smart apartment devices that integrate with your property management software. That way, your property staff can view and manage resident information, maintenance requests, and building automation settings all in one place.
Even more, enabling home automation for apartments allows you to immediately detect a device malfunctioning and fix it in real-time. You won’t have to come on-site each time a system needs to be updated or provide in-person assistance when a resident gets locked out. With cloud-based technology, almost anything can be managed remotely and in a much faster fashion than in person.
3. Improved resident safety
Residents’ safety will significantly increase when you implement smart intercoms, smart locks, and sensors. Proptech solutions such as video cameras and keyless entry systems allow residents to visually confirm who enters and leaves their property without any face-to-face interactions.
Invest in proptech solutions that also include features such as amenity space reservation platforms and occupancy data. That way, residents can safely use those spaces without overcrowding them. This can help keep residents healthy during the flu season by maintaining proper social distancing.
4. Lower operating costs
You know that it costs more to attract new residents than to retain existing ones. And proptech not only lowers operation costs by streamlining building management but also makes residents more likely to renew their leases. So, you’ll cut down on marketing and turnover costs and avoid potentially lost rent payments.
Top five smart devices for apartments
While the world is full of endless smart devices for apartments, not all proptech is created equal. While it’s easy to go for the bells and whistles, don’t forget that most residents crave security and convenience above all else.
The five best smart home devices for apartments are:
- Video intercom systems
- Keypad access control
- Smart lights and outlets
- Self-guided tour platforms
- Smart thermostats and blinds
1. Video intercom systems
Installing a video intercom system facilitates convenient keyless entry into the building. Residents can either use their smartphones or unique PIN codes to enter the property.
A video intercom also enhances security. Residents enjoy knowing they can visually confirm who’s requesting access to their building. Additionally, an intercom system can prevent package theft and other unwanted activities. Choose an intercom that takes a photo every time someone accesses the property so that you have an audit trail to review if needed.
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2. Keypad access control
Installing keypad access control systems for amenity spaces within the building and auxiliary entrances further eliminates the need for residents to carry anything other than their smartphones. With keypads, residents can either enter a PIN code or tap on their smartphone to open doors to spaces within the building. Residents can also open keypad-controlled doors remotely for guests.
3. Smart lights and outlets
Automated smart lights and outlets enable residents to control plugged-in appliances and lights from anywhere. Residents can also program when those appliances turn on or off so that the light is never on in an empty room, maximizing energy efficiency. In addition, many smart controllers also offer features like voice commands and energy usage alerts.
4. Self-guided tour platform
Self-guided tour platforms empower prospective residents to view the property and units on their own time. Providing self-guided tours increases the efficiency of touring and the number of tours provided each day because property staff doesn’t have to be physically present.
You can enable self-guided tours by using a couple of proptech devices. First, invest in an online reservation system so that prospective residents can book tours on your property’s website. That way, there’s no need to try to coordinate a time with the leasing agent or property staff. Next, install smart locks on amenity spaces and model units so prospects can open doors with a PIN code or their smartphones.
5. Smart thermostats and blinds
Smart thermostats and blinds address a common problem modern residents face: controlling the temperature in their apartments when they’re not home.
These devices ensure the apartment maintains a comfortable temperature for pets during the day and adjusts the temperature before residents come home. Smart thermostats control the AC or heating, and smart blinds control how much sunlight comes into the unit.
The future of smart apartments is now
The truth is that today’s apartment residents expect their homes to be equipped with smart home technology for apartments. Over time, smart apartments will become the expectation, not the exception. Smart apartment technology fosters a secure and energy-efficient building that does good for the environment while ensuring resident safety.
It’s time to embrace technology in your multifamily property. Technology is only advancing. And as a property manager, you’ll want to stand out from the competition by simplifying and streamlining apartment living with smart home technology.