The Internet of Things (IoT)—very simply, the network of physical devices, such as smartphones, laptops, HVAC systems, and cars, able to exchange data via the Internet—can create a competitive advantage for properties that adopt smart-home automation.
The current state of smart-home adoption in multifamily ranges from “just starting to explore” to partnerships between a handful of apartment managers/ownership groups and technology providers designed to maximize the potential of IoT to benefit residents and owners alike. In some ways, properties are playing catch-up to their early-adopter residents, one-third of whom already own five to nine Internet-connected devices, according to the nearly 250,000 residents who responded to the 2017 NMHC/Kingsley Renter Preferences Report.
So, as a property manager or head of operations, what do you need to know to get your soon-to-be newly minted smart apartment community in tip-top condition giving you (and ownership) the best ROI?!?
Internet, Internet, Internet
You need it, c’mon. This is late 2018. You can’t be smart without solid internet connectivity. While awesome internet service is not necessary for some aspects of smart tech if you want to future-proof your community with all the new tech coming, hotel-like internet connectivity is something you should seriously consider.
Resident Onboarding Guide
Having a fail-safe, step by step onboarding guide for leasing staff is something you should ask for and ensure your team is trained on. Smart technology can easily be a welcome amenity for all residents, but your communication and understanding of set-up is very important to get off on the right foot.
Leasing and Selling Tips!
Ensure the company you work with has in-person and/or online training for your teams. They need to perfect the best sales practices. There is typically turnover with leasing staff, so testing them is imperative. Your rental velocity and lease renewals depend on this…
Bias alert!! We’d recommend connecting with an IOTAS Training Director to learn the best tips for selling your smart apartments during lease-up and resident turn….so, we just wanted to throw that out there…and you can thank us later.
Marketing and Brand Strategy
Ensure your external marketing, brand strategy and messaging resonates online AND when renters walk through your door. How consistent are you showcasing what your technology offering is online and in person? How are your on-site teams embracing this and sharing consistent messaging to prospective renters? Ensure you ask what kind of help your smart tech provider can assist with.
Modernize your website (or at least update it). If you have smart technology at your property, your website should be modern as well, and promote the smart tech visibly as many renters have never experienced this before.
Maintenance Team Help
Your local feet on the ground should update your smart tech support specialist as often as they need to. Don’t let issues linger. You really don’t have to let it linger. We’re your best friend. Text me.
Be a Resident
Download the app and play around. Empower positive and educational conversation about the smart apartments. See what it can do, and perhaps, what else you’d like your experience to be (we always love input!).
Talk the Talk with Voice Control
From using Amazon Alexa to Google Assistant, learn about all the things you can ask them to do. It’s amazing what you can learn and share during the onboarding process and beyond!
Integrate with Resident Experience
Generate more excitement and buzz among your residents. Ensure you have, or allow, your provider to engage your residents with new features, etc. I promise that you, the property manager, will enjoy your residents contacting us directly instead of using you as a conduit. You’re busy enough.
Tutorials with Residents
Host technology happy hours with your provider. We enjoy meeting your community! Bring on a resident evangelist who is tech forward to assist with your other less tech-inclined renters.
Request Help if Needed
Devices fall down. Things break. Keep an inventory of your extra devices and if your maintenance team needs more, ensure you know where the warranty plans are…or call your tech partner for help (hello again).
That’s the coolest part of the smart apartment narrative!! Embrace automation! Have leasing agent competitions creating stories and share with the rest of the team what the story was, what she named it, why she named it that, what photo she chose, what were the time settings, devices used, and reasoning for the story!.
It’s fun to play with new trinkets, isn’t it?
So, don’t worry, be smart. Many people fear technology or think they can’t do it. Providing your team with the tools they need to increase product knowledge only benefits your team, the residents, the owners, and technology provider. So, yes, everyone is involved. There’s a little learning curve at the beginning but in very short order, this becomes second nature. Knowledge is power.
Courtesy of the IOTAS PC Team
Ashley Wakefield & Whitney Ramey
Project Coordinators @ IOTAS