Enterprise Property Automation. Why Now?

Smart locks, thermostats, cameras, lights—all of these and more are rapidly being adopted by consumers, especially Millennials.

Rapid Market Adoption

The IoT (Internet of Things) smart home juggernaut sweeping across the U.S. is getting bigger and smarter. One of the most influential devices to impact the consumer IoT market is the smart speaker, which has an installed base of nearly 70 million in the U.S.—with 35 percent of those surveyed having multiple speakers in their home. In that market, Amazon dominates with 70 percent share.

The more comfortable consumers get with their voice assistants and smart phone apps, the more they use them and the more things they want to control. It’s no wonder that demand for smart home devices is increasing so rapidly, with the installed base estimated at 560 million worldwide through 2018. Forrester predicts 42 percent CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) for smart home devices from 2018 to 2022, which would bring the number of smart households to 66 million.

The New Normal

Smart locks, thermostats, cameras, lights—all of these and more are rapidly being adopted by consumers, especially Millennials. They are not only enjoying the safety and convenience of smart home where they live, they are also enjoying it where they visit—at hotels, resorts and vacation rentals. When is the last time you were handed a mechanical key at a hotel? Smart locks in the travel industry have become commonplace to the point where mechanical keys are the exception. This evolution is being mirrored in households. The expectation for smart home technology is quickly becoming the norm.

Wakefield Research in 2016 found that 86 percent of Millennial renters and 65 percent of Baby Boomer renters preferred properties with smart home devices and would be willing to pay more rent for a unit outfitted with smart technology—as much as 20 percent more. This has not gone unnoticed by multifamily property managers.

Property Management Operational Benefits

While a consumer smart home system is designed to automate a single property, an enterprise smart home system is designed to automate an entire enterprise—from 5 to 50,000+ properties, from a centralized location.

Installing smart home technology in multifamily properties not only helps to drive more rental revenue, create a competitive advantage, and increase resident satisfaction, it also delivers significant operational benefits.

Smart locks eliminate the need to manage keys, which are often lost, stolen or copied. With a smart lock and the right software, you can automate access for maintenance staff and vendors and track their entry and exit from a property, increasing transparency and decreasing time and money spent letting people in. Smart locks also enable unattended showings, providing automated access for a prospective renter to view a property on their schedule without needing to staff the appointment.

Smart thermostats provide automatic high and low limits, perfect for reducing costs associated with excessive HVAC use in a vacant property. Smart thermostats can reduce energy costs as much as 16 percent on heating and 23 percent on cooling.

Plus, with HVAC analytics, property managers can be automatically notified when an HVAC unit is not operating properly. This could mean the difference between routine maintenance and a more costly catastrophic failure.

When it comes to architecture, one smart home technology provider, PointCentral, uses an innovative approach—cellular instead of Wi-Fi. Not only is a cellular hub more reliable than Wi-Fi, which often requires a maintenance visit to reset a faulty router, a cellular-based smart home solution is more secure—no small issue for today’s savvy consumer.

Smart home technology brings safety and convenience to consumers and is rapidly evolving to become an expected norm, rather than a trendy exception. Property managers not adopting smart technology are being left behind while those that are will enjoy significant operational benefits and stay ahead of the demand curve.

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