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Previously posted in Multifamily Insider
It seems everything is "Smart" these days. Smart....locks, speakers, thermostats, lights, TVs, register-vents, refrigerators, faucets, security systems, cameras....the list goes on!
It seems there are plenty of options in the market for multifamily apartment operators to offer "smart" amenities. So should you start adding gadgets to your units in hopes of attracting new residents?
For a short-term spike, maybe. But what happens next year when when Google, Amazon, Nest, Apple, Iris, etc. push out new models, features and functionality and all of a sudden your tech is more of a deterrent than an attraction? Do you throw out everything you bought last year and get the next new thing?
The real question here is how do you get ahead, and stay ahead with tech in apartments. And, how to you get Residents to consider your brand "tech-forward"?
You might consider changing the lens of how you look at the problem. Said another way, how can your multifamily brand leverage consumer technology in a way that enables your Residents to have fast & easy digital access to apartment services from devices they already own. Things like:
- leveraging SMS to communicate with residents (95% of all text messages are read by the recipient)
- enabling Residents to voice-create service requests using their SmartSpeaker
- mobile-enable your multifamily apartment maintenance staff to speed up service-response-times and get better metrics on how your service teams are performing
- use chat-bots to auto-notify Residents when they have packages waiting for them at the office
- installing LTE-boosters to low-signal areas on your properties to improve resident connectivity (there is nothing worse than living in an apartment with bad LTE!)
These are just a few examples - there are many others to be sure! The gist here is that you don't have to deploy smart-home tech to every unit in your portfolio to be considered "tech-forward".
At the end of the day, consumer technology is fickle and next new gadget is literally a Christmas-shopping-season away. Software interfaces on the other hand (or API's as application vendors call them) are literal digital bridges to your Residents. They can be leveraged to technologically-empower your multifamily brand in all sorts of unique ways. Just deploying a mobile maintenance operations apps to your technicians can have a huge impact on resident experience!
So, where do you start? A great place would be to empower a trusted employee to spearhead the effort - a Chief Innovation Officer, if you will. The best-suited candidates have both marketing and property operations experience. They should also be technology-forward in their personal use of technology.
Then start doing research - talk to site-operations team members. Survey Residents; talk to the marketing department; talk to IT. Then talk to your existing software vendors - chances are they already have some of the capabilities you are looking for. If they don't, seek out ones that do - you will learn a lot in a 30 minute demo!
Certainly none of us have a crystal-ball regarding what smart-home types/brands/accessories are going to be a home-run with residents long-term, but recent resident survey results indicate that residents want a "smart-tech" experience associated with their stay in your apartments. As long as you keep the focus utilizing this tech to show real value to residents, you will be on the right track!
If you are interested in learning more about how ServusConnect can technology-enable your maintenance operations teams and improve Resident Experience, use the button below to schedule a call - we'd love to show you!