Smart apartments aren’t scary…or are they? With the growing Internet of Things (IoT) market, the number of questions that people have about smart devices and smart apartments also continues to rise. There are various myths and mysteries floating around about IoT, so we don’t blame you if they frighten you. But as with any technology, you can banish your fears with some solid research and find out what exactly is the truth.
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Let’s explore some smart apartment myths together.
1. Smart apartments are easy to hack.
Every technology brings risks of badly-intentioned people manipulating system vulnerabilities. Cybersecurity must be a priority for all multifamily IoT solutions providers, as a careless attitude towards security can cause great harm. In 2021, hackers accessed the networks of Colonial Pipeline Co. through just one compromised password. This led to the largest fuel pipeline in the U.S. shutting operations down and causing gasoline shortages on the East Coast.
In multifamily, the technology touches sensitive user data about the daily lives of residents, property staff, and other stakeholders. Fortunately, there are audits and practices that access an organization’s systems to make sure they are secure. Companies have a choice to go through these audits, which will tell you two things about a company: 1) that they care about security and seek these audits out and 2) that they can share unbiased, third-party audits with prospective customers.
Prospective customers have every right to know about a company’s security practices. Before proceeding with smart apartments, take a look into the provider’s security measures, which can often be in the form of a Service Organization Controls 2 (SOC, pronounced as “sock”) report. (If the company is ISO compliant, read here about the differences between ISO and SOC) For more information, you can also ask whether the company is able to deliver third-party penetration testing results and static code reviews.
2. Smart apartments are expensive with no return on investment (ROI).
Smart apartments are an investment, and with the right technology, they bring a rapid return (some more quickly than others). Multifamily portfolio owners can benefit immensely from IoT platforms that can be adopted then expanded through smart devices all connected to one platform, or “fleet management.”
Be aware of the distinct differences between multifamily IoT solutions and single-family solutions hastily adapted to multifamily housing. Technology and practices catered to single-family homeowners can either leave out multifamily residents, staff, and/or owners from participating or provide limited impact (like resident unit based network hubs, which are not only inefficient but also pose major security concerns). The right solutions created for multifamily will reduce operating expenses and promote sustainability, which a majority of residents care about. Also, smart apartment infrastructure can future-proof your property, which can raise the property’s value and also provide a foundation for easy future upgrades, rather than a complete overhaul of technology every few years.
Learn more about the return on investment of IoT by downloading the white paper.
3. Smart apartments might improve each apartment unit, but provide no property-wide benefits.
Smart apartments can provide a more personalized living experience to each resident not only in their unit, but also across their apartment community. Within a resident’s unit, a smart apartment can customize their experiences with temperature, humidity, lighting, shades, and more with automation. Some of those same features in apartment units can regulate common areas too for building-wide water, energy, and waste efficiency as well as comfort.
For example, automated thermostat control, that takes into account a resident’s optimal temperature, can provide vacant unit control for property staff, so they don’t have to manually check and adjust thermostats. In addition, leak detection in units and across the property reduces risk and loss from water damages. This is crucial because water leaks can result in multi-unit damage without immediate attention (water leaks can waste about 9,400 gallons of water annually for the averages American family!). Every resident produces trash, and smart waste management can reduce costs for property owners and residents, as well as promote a more sustainable approach to trash across the property. According to the National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC)/Kinglsey Associates Apartment Resident Preferences Report for 2019, which surveyed 373,000 apartment residents from 5,336 professionally managed apartment communities, residents state they are interested in/won’t rent without a recycling program (79.3%) or community green initiatives (73.0%).
A holistic smart apartment approach recognizes that the resident’s living experience extends beyond the unit.
As with any developing technology, there’s misinformation and myths out there, which can be difficult for anyone to figure out. Do you have more questions after reading through the three myths above? Reach out to our team, and we’re happy to talk.
STRATIS®, a RealPage Company, creates smart apartments and intelligent buildings and is the only platform of its kind built for the complexities of multifamily and student housing. STRATIS is installed worldwide across the U.S., in Japan, the UK, EU, and Latin America. STRATIS now serves hospitality, retail, and small to mid-size commercial, as well. STRATIS is an Inc. Magazine “Fastest Growing Company in America” and a Top Ten Entrepreneur Magazine “Best Company in America.” STRATIS was recently acquired by RealPage to enable STRATIS Smart Building, a more connected lifestyle, and unleash hidden yield through new revenue streams.