Charging forward

I have to admit to a longtime envy of the amenities offered to many apartment dwellers.

Editorial Director Suzann D. Silverman
Editorial Director Suzann D. Silverman

I have to admit to a longtime envy of the amenities offered to many apartment dwellers. When I was an apartment resident, I never had much in the way of extra services. In fact, the biggest benefit I ever had, besides the ubiquitous laundry room, was a small community center with an outdoor pool teeming with kids in summer and a tiny indoor pool and gym enjoyed by a small number of us the rest of the year. And there were no organized community activities. From there I shifted to single-family rentals and eventually homeownership, with more space and my own yard but certainly no amenities—unless I created them myself.

So writing about pool tanning platforms, dog-washing stations and movie nights has tended to leave me a tad envious (not that I tan easily or own a dog, but it all sounds great!). However, that’s nothing compared to the jealousy I’ve been feeling with the advent of keyless locks that can be released via your phone, smart thermostats that can be managed remotely, and refrigerated delivery boxes that store your groceries and notify you when they arrive. Far from extras, these features can make a significant difference in the way you live—contributing to security, efficiency, cost savings and convenience. This is real value unlocked by technology, and the options and opportunities keep coming.

The list of benefits for the property manager is similar. Smart locks, for instance, provide easier management of entry and egress from specific doors, alleyways or restricted areas, which can be particularly helpful in increasingly popular mixed-use communities, which combine publicly accessible retail, entertainment, office and even hotel space with apartments, making it tough to maintain a safe and secure environment. And those grocery boxes not only keep refrigerated goods cold but in the frequent event there is no doorman, delivery people can be given access to specific areas—electronically, of course.

Owners’ and managers’ benefits from technological advances extend even further. One perhaps less obvious advantage is the greater ability to collect accurate data regarding which services are most used and how they are best accessed. That allows for smarter decision making when it comes to selecting and marketing amenities, with a greater likelihood they will be appreciated.

Hence, technology is providing the combination of benefits it generally does: the wow factor mixed with the eminently practical. And the way technology evolves, new iterations are likely to offer an increased array of options while expanding the number of price points. Meanwhile, more ideas are sure to emerge. I have a feeling that green-eyed monster is going to be visiting me regularly.

Originally appearing in the November 2017 issue of MHN.