By Amanda Parrilli
On a property manager’s long list of responsibilities, perhaps the most important is helping to ensure the safety of residents. The rise of smart home products is enabling property managers to tap into new technology to improve onsite safety and minimize risk—from smoke alarms and doorbells to security cameras and door locks.
Three out of five home fire deaths occur in homes where alarms either aren’t installed or don’t work. Update or replace dated fire safety equipment to minimize risk and give residents a peace of mind.
Smoke alarms with a 10-year lifespan have grown in popularity with property managers since they can decrease maintenance and product costs. These devices continue to become more advanced with the inclusion of smart technology.
For example, Kidde has a hardwired two-in-one smoke and carbon monoxide alarm with voice warning that saves time and money on installation for property owners. The alarm says, “Fire” or “Warning: Carbon Monoxide” when a threat is detected. The sealed-in backup battery reduces maintenance issues by ensuring that the alarm offers nonstop protection— even during a power outage. Kidde’s wireless version enables you to create a wireless interconnected system with up to 12 other alarms. When one sounds, they all sound.
Nest Protect also connects to a smartphone and will send an alert if dangerous smoke and carbon monoxide threats are detected.
Water damage protection
Help prevent or minimize expensive water damage by installing a water detection sensor. One example is a device from D-Link that can detect the slightest amount of moisture from common indoor water threats. The sensor sends out alerts via smartphone so property managers can catch and address problems early.
When analyzing indoor water threats, pay close attention to water heaters, one of the leading causes of water damage. Upgrade to a water heater that’s compliant with regulations that went into effect in 2015 but also incorporates smart technology. One Rheem product attaches to certain water heaters models and alerts of leaks and other potential maintenance issues.
Renters are 85 percent more likely to experience break-ins than homeowners. While property managers can’t completely prevent intruders, there are a few smart upgrades that may help deter potential crime.
Install video door bells so residents can see and speak to visitors from anywhere in the world using their smartphone or tablet.
Bluetooth-enabled door locks allow residents to manage doors, grant user access and monitor activity from their smartphone. They also dramatically reduce the cost of re-keying units
Improved lighting and security systems
Dark spaces are an intruder’s playground, so make sure common areas such as hallways and walkways have ample lighting. Install motion security lights that can be controlled from a smartphone or smart LED lighting that can be monitored or managed via smartphone or other device.
Place the Sengled Snap flood light over entryways and parking lots to keep an eye on the property day and night. Not only can the device send alerts to a smartphone when activity is detected, but it also has a built-in camera to capture high-quality video that can be viewed instantly or stored in the cloud.
Speak to residents or distribute a flyer educating them on how they can improve their security system, which reduces opportunities for break-ins. Also remind them about the importance of renters insurance to protect their space from fatalities such as vandalism, fire, extreme weather conditions and more depending on the type of insurance.
Encourage residents to install a smart security system that they can take with them even if they move, such as the Canary Single-Device Security System. This device can stream real-time video of their home from their smartphone and notify residents whenever motion is detected. The Canary security system can also monitor the unit’s humidity, air quality and temperature.
Smart home technology is part of the next generation of home improvement, and 91 percent of people who own smart home devices would recommend them to others. While convenience and personalization are just a few benefits of these devices, they also give property managers an opportunity to improve the overall security of their community.
Amanda Parrilli is director of strategic business development for The Home Depot. She is responsible for leading Connected Home strategy and strategic partnerships. Parrilli rejoined The Home Depot in July 2014 after holding roles in a Home Depot leadership program from 2002-2006.