The demand for advanced Internet of Things (IoT) technology has intensified over the past two years in the multifamily and student housing sectors. Many communities offer some form of smart home technology to enhance the resident experience. Owners and operators are seeing the value of these technologies within their communities for residents while making work easier and more efficient for their on-site teams. In fact, recent survey results from NMHC and Grace Hill showed 60 percent of residents prefer smart locks and 70 percent prefer smart thermostats in their communities.
What is IoT?
Let me break it down for those of you that may not be totally sure as to what Internet of Things (IoT) means. IoT is a network of physical objects that are embedded with sensors, software and other technologies for the purpose of connecting and exchanging data through commands over the internet, which can perform one or multiple sets of tasks with other devices and systems over the internet.
Owners and operators are looking for a Wi-Fi network with superior capacity and access for multiple devices per resident with optimization for in-unit and smart home IoT, including in shared amenity spaces. “Building owners are looking for operational efficiencies they can use,” says Brett Lindsey, CEO of Everstream and chairman and founder of Snip Internet. “They are going to be looking for ways to use IoT to drive efficiencies in the buildings, so it’s even more important to have quality bandwidth available.”
Is Smart Technology for New Buildings Only?
Leading industry smart tech service providers can install technology in new builds as well as retrofit existing buildings. While installing smart technology for apartments doesn’t require the building to be new or have a top tier technology infrastructure, it does require a strong, reliable Wi-Fi to keep the multiple devices operating at all times. Some communities provide hubs that run on cellular connectivity to help keep the devices connected when Wi-Fi isn’t reliable or available. A key to optimal performance that owners and operators should be aware of while making this significant investment in their communities is sufficient bandwidth circuit size, user speeds and having ample wireless access points in each unit.
Devices such as security cameras typically operate on the property’s network connection using fiber and ethernet, which typically will not impact a residents’ quality of experience when connected. Essentially, smart devices will not impact network performance as much as one may have originally thought. Owners and operators can rest assured that their residents are able to get the most out of the network performance while enjoying the many benefits of smart technology within their communities.
Expectations for the Future
As IoT continues to grow and smart home technology becomes more prevalent, property owners and operators will find it necessary to make sure their community’s network can accommodate these changes. The amount of data each smart device gathers and transmits will increase as innovation and technology continues to develop, which in turn contributes to the need for a robust and stable network. Statista reports that by 2026, the number of IoT-connected devices will increase by 6.58 billion at a total of 18.15 billion globally connected devices.
—Janis Rossi is the co-founder and senior vice president of marketing at ROVR Score, a software business leader with multiple years of industry business-to-business and SaaS marketing experience. She is a passionate advocate with an innate knowledge of the industry.