Forecast: 2017 Student Housing Technology Trends

by Katie Sloan
The team at Campus Technologies routinely looks at global and national industry trends so it can predict what will become popular in the near future. What will phase out? What innovations will be coming down the pipeline in 2017?

Increased Emphasis On Wireless Density
Student residents are currently breaking records for the number of internet-connected devices they own, including not only the more traditional smartphones, tablets and laptops, but increasingly video and streaming appliances and Internet of Things (IoT) devices. Previously, wireless internet connection services emphasized capacity, or bandwidth; now connection services need to emphasize wireless density to support the immense number of connected devices. This is mostly because student housing owners and operators need to provide a wi-fi service that answers the demand for always available, always fast wi-fi connections, and understanding how to provide enough access points to satisfy that demand is a key part of meeting it.
We refer to density as the number of resident devices in use compared to the number of Wireless Access Points (AP’s) provided at the property, and more specifically, the actual number of devices that will connect (‘associate’) with an AP at any one particular time. It’s important to understand that the density is driven not by the number of residents, units or beds to each Access Point, but the number of devices to an Access Point. To operate at high density, an Enterprise grade managed wi-fi platform is mandatory, so when you are selecting a technology partner, make sure you don’t just settle for a legacy provider. Look for a next generation student housing managed network service provider.
More student residents are consuming video programming via streaming and are watching less traditional television and cable than ever before. Campus Technologies is actively planning for when cable becomes marginalized and irrelevant to most residents. That isn’t in 2017, but Campus Technologies is laying a lot of groundwork for further down the road.
If you are in student housing and have a service provider managing your internet or cable, you are used to discussing service by the unit or by the bed. As we have mentioned earlier, this by the unit or by the bed categorization is very common with legacy providers. Next generation providers such as Campus Technologies are focused on by-the-device service levels rather than a slice or share of service allocated to the unit. This, in turn, supports the resident desire for theinternet “to just work” and not to be constrained in any way, sometimes referred to as a “frictionless user experience.”
Our recommended best practice is for all new construction to be designed for appropriate density, by the device management and with fully managed enterprise grade technology.
Enterprise Grade Equipment For The Fully Managed Network
In an Enterprise grade, managed wi-fi environment for student housing, we take wi-fi management to mean the capability of the wi-fi at a property to act as a single, concerted system, with the system having knowledge of the capability, status and activity of every connected client and wireless access point. It controls the overall wi-fi system to ensure that clients can connect, stay connected, and that they have the best possible user experience.
Using the same great technology that powers the world’s most successful companies, we recommend that you bring world class next generation internet access to your student housing residents. Although legacy providers are struggling with their aging hybrid fiber coax networks and are acting to protect their more traditional cable TV revenue streams, it is possible to deploy next generation enterprise grade capability, often at a lower price point than the ongoing cost of legacy providers. It’s well worth considering, and your residents (and your NOI) will thank you for it.

Campus Technologies Inc. is a next generation student housing managed network service provider, active in thought leadership in anticipating, designing and deploying the very best technology facilities that today’s student residents demand.

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