For decades, homeowners have been reaping benefits from smart home technology. As many as 30% of Americans have already installed smart home technology, and studies show these early adopters are saving an average of $1000 a year and as much as 30 minutes each day. However, the smart home industry’s early focus on homeowners has kept renters in the blind spot of these innovations. In many cases, homeowners’ deeper pockets and stronger desire to invest in their homes have made them the ideal market for a nascent industry, but times are changing.
Unprecedented growth in renting households continues to outpace homeownership; so it’s no surprise that smart home technology manufacturers are beginning to pay attention to the multifamily market. At the same time, renter expectations are shifting and demand is growing for units with basic home automation capabilities. While it’s easy to attribute this to the increased influence of millennial renters, demand for home automation is actually cross-generational; studies show a majority of even baby boomers say they would be willing to pay higher rents for features like keyless entry doors.
Renters in general look to home automation to add convenience and control to their daily lives and help with everything from energy efficiency to personal security and peace of mind. But the potential benefits of home automation reach beyond the perks of modern living for your residents and are poised to have a real impact on asset owners and property managers. Smart properties can use home automation to increase property values, decrease operating costs, and take advantage of energy and insurance rebates. These systems, properly deployed, will allow managers to optimize maintenance, streamline turn, decrease risks of serious property damage, boost lead conversions and renewals, and even create ancillary revenue streams.
While the time is right and the demand is high for the multifamily industry to fully embrace home automation technologies, early attempts to scale systems created for single-family homes have uncovered a number of challenges. Over the past two years, the multifamily industry started to dip their toes in the world of “IoT” (Internet of Things). Early adopters have attempted to implement a hodge-podge of technology with the vision of improving their competitive advantage and driving ancillary revenue.
Many of the efforts to adapt existing systems get as far as installing smart home hardware such as a Nest thermostat before realizing that the management systems for these devices were not created for a multi-tenant space, overwhelming both renters and property managers with multiple apps and interfaces that have to be separately and individually managed and create challenges when turning apartments. Rather than creating efficiencies, these early attempts to implement systems within multifamily only seem to create more work.
In the meantime, renters aren’t waiting for their properties to get on board with home automation and are attempting to fill the gap with plug and play devices instead. Surges in demand for products like Wemo plugs and Phillips Hue light bulbs show that renters are willing to invest in solutions that will improve their lives, but this BYOD trend offers no benefit for the properties they call home.
At Entrata, we believe that the potential benefits of a successful launch of property-wide home automation merit real attention and innovation. Scaling smart home technology to thousands (or millions) of renters is no easy feat to tackle alone. Effectively managing hardware procurement, installation, support, resident adoption, device maintenance, software and security is just the start. Providing an interface for all of the audiences who will interact with the smart home tech –starting with the renter and keeping the property manager top of mind– has become our mission.
Smart homes are not just for single-family or luxury properties. We’ve built a solution to bridge the gap between property management software and smart devices by facilitating a way for properties to connect hardware like thermostats, lights, locks, and water sensors for multiple units into Entrata’s central technology interface. A few weeks ago in Atlanta we introduced our home automation feature, Entratamation. Your response has been amazing.
Entrata’s platform helps owners, managers, and renters realize the maximum benefits from their smart home technologies, integrating devices and events seamlessly into current workflows and helping properties balance issues of access and security. For an Entratamation demo or to learn more about rolling out home automation systems in your properties, contact your Customer Success Manager or reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org today.