As the world adapts to a strange new reality, hands-free technology is proving to be more useful than ever. We pay for our groceries, order deliveries, monitor our homes, and deposit checks, all through apps on our phones. By doing these things through mobile devices, we reduce the many public surfaces we would otherwise come into contact with.

At home we feel safer. But hands-free technology can be helpful there, too—especially in multi-family properties where many people are coming and going.

Management of multi-family properties must now consider how residents cross paths and touch surfaces, and many are exploring new ways to keep their buildings clean and safe. Smart home technology was already seeing a surge in popularity; residents love the convenience of hands-free home devices that can be controlled through an app on their phone. But now, both residents and management are finding even more to love about going “hands-free.”

Reduce contact between management and residents.

It’s important to limit the number of people who enter and exit residential buildings right now. If property staff doesn’t absolutely have to be there, they probably shouldn’t be.

Smart lights, thermostats, and other system-connected devices in vacant units can be adjusted remotely. And when it comes to filling those units, hands-free options are even more important, as it reduces the number of surfaces people come into contact with that need to be disinfected post contact.. The need for social distancing has made it difficult for some buildings to offer tours to potential residents, causing properties to suffer losses via extended vacancies. But smart locks paired with self-guided tours make it possible for anyone to tour buildings and units independently, without the need for a staff member to let prospects in and show them around.

IOTAS recently introduced Prospect Tour, a self-guided apartment tour solution for multifamily properties, to streamline building and unit-level access for prospective renters. Prospects are given a code to access the building at a designated time, and they can view the spaces independently. With in-unit smart devices, like smart lights and thermostats, management can use timers to set up comfortable environments for the kind of tour that turns prospects into new members of the community. This hands-free upgrade not only decreases contact but also offers the freedom that potential residents appreciate when touring what could be their home.

Increase peace of mind when residents are away.

There’s already too much to worry about these days. Wondering if you turned off the coffee pot or forgot to turn off your heater/AC shouldn’t be added to the list when you’re away from home.

Hands-free technology comes to the rescue: Any smart plug or switch can be turned off remotely through a mobile device. When residents connect the IOTAS app to Alexa voice commands, it’s even easier to control smart devices from anywhere.

Management teams enjoy more peace of mind, too. When residents have the ability to control these aspects of their home remotely, staff are less likely to be called on for non-emergencies.

Limit contact with common surfaces.

These days we think about everything we touch, and the serious ramifications of touching too much. Most people have gotten used to avoiding contact in public, but limiting contact with common surfaces in our homes makes sense, too.

Light switches are touched many times a day, often as soon as we walk in the door—and maybe, accidentally, before we’ve washed our hands. But smart switches, dimmers, and plugs make it easy for residents to turn on lights and other appliances with just their phone. Smart home technology devices eliminate the need to touch some of the germiest surfaces in our homes. The whole family might take turns touching the remote control when trying to pick a movie, in between using their hands to eat popcorn and pet the dog—and then someone touches the dimmer for that perfect movie lighting.

Smart switches, dimmers, and plugs make it easy for everyone to turn on lights, control the TV, and access other appliances with just their phone, minimizing the transmission of germs across multiple surfaces.

IOTAS scenes and routines can even reduce or eliminate the need to touch your phone. If you want the lights to come on when you get home, or at 7 pm when it starts to get dark, simply schedule and save these adjustments for your customized home environment—hands-free.