The Internet of Things was a hot topic last week at the Apartmentalize conference hosted by the National Apartment Association in Denver. Industry experts Garin Hamburger of Pinnacle Property Management Services, Taylor Wiederkehr of BH Management Services and Esther Bonardi of Yardi Systems shared their insights on how the internet of things is changing the multifamily industry.
The internet of things or IoT is the technology connecting everyday devices to the internet allowing them to send and receive information. There are numerous benefits to smart tech for both the resident and the property owner.
According to Wiederkehr, residents enjoy smart home technology because it can save them time and it’s a luxurious feature that offers better quality of life. “It’s hard to explain all of the little benefits that come with living in a smart home, but once our residents experience it, they never want to live without it.” This can help improve renewal rates as smart home residents are reluctant to give up these features.
The benefits of IoT devices go beyond resident enjoyment. Property managers can expect reductions in maintenance and utility costs, increases in energy efficiency and potentially even a reduced need for onsite personnel.
Implementation of smart tech is modular and customizable for every property. A basic implementation including a smart hub, thermostat, and connected outlets is easily adapted to an existing property. According to Bonardi, these improvements pay for themselves in 20-24 months. Residents are willing to pay a premium for these features as they offer quality of life improvements that were previously only available to homeowners. These features can be installed quickly with minimal intrusion and are possible to implement on turn or when a resident is still occupying.
Larger property wide implementations can protect and enhance NOI. Smart plumbing can detect leaks, shut off water and notify the maintenance staff that a repair is needed preventing expensive water damage. Digital entry systems can be set up to allow self-touring which may result in a reduced need for onsite leasing staff. Smart irrigation systems have been shown to reduce water usage by as much as 35 percent. Systems like these are less expensive to implement in new property construction however retrofits of existing properties are not uncommon.
Internet of things integration offers benefits for properties of all types and is improving every year. Residents, owners and managers all stand to gain from the new technology. As Wiederkehr concludes, “IoT will be the foundation for the future of multifamily.”