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Smart Technologies Help Property Managers Give Tenants The Connectivity And Support They Need Right Now


Over the course of just a few months, our homes have morphed into offices, schools, restaurants, movie theaters and gyms in response to the coronavirus pandemic. While the pandemic has everyone rethinking what they can do inside their homes, residents of multifamily buildings, in particular, are re-examining what amenities are most important to them.

Even before the current public health crisis, technology was one of the top factors residents used to judge their living experience as a whole, and the emphasis on tech has only increased in recent months.

Research shows that residents have come to expect seamless internet and WiFi connectivity throughout their multifamily communities, and smart home and smart building technologies are quickly becoming the amenities of choice for both residents and property managers.

“Property managers tell us that technology is one of the top priorities for residents, especially now,” said David Lizak, regional senior director of Xfinity Communities. “This is why we’ve created a platform that fully integrates with the most common property manager software, which helps property managers achieve financial and productivity efficiencies while delivering the technology residents are demanding.”

Last year, Comcast announced that two Chicago rental properties managed by Kass Management Services would be home to the nation’s first commercial deployment of the Xfinity Communities’ “Smart Community” platform. 

Through the partnership, 50 units in the two Kass properties were outfitted with smart devices, including smart thermostats and smart lighting, which renters can control via the Smart Community app. Combined with Xfinity’s internet service, the devices create a technology platform that property managers can expand over time to include additional smart features, such as security cameras and smart locks.

“Our residents have been eager to learn more about the Xfinity Smart technologies since the beginning,” said Mark Durakovic, principal of Kass Management Services Inc. “They especially love being able to control their devices on their phones, particularly the lights. We spoke to one resident who works late and loves that the tech ensures she won’t come home to a dark apartment and have to worry about finding the light switch as well as making her feel safer overall. It’s also in my opinion going to become more important in the marketing of the buildings and available apartments.”

Property managers can control the entire platform via Xfinity Communities’ Smart Community Portal, which gives them the ability to manage automation technology in administrative and public areas. The system can also help reduce energy usage by controlling temperatures in vacant units and common areas, and when a unit is rented, property managers can prep it and turn over control of the smart devices to the new tenant via the portal.

Lizak said that now that more than 40% of Americans are working from home, it’s a great time for property owners to consider adopting these smart technologies.

“People are spending more time at home than ever before,” Lizak said. “Property owners are looking to do everything they can to make that time as comfortable as possible for tenants, and Smart Community tools can help them do that.” 

Xfinity Communities also worked with Becovic Management Group to install this technology at The Lakeside Terrace in Chicago. Becovic Management owner Sal Becovic said residents have responded very well to the Xfinity Smart features, and they love that they can control everything from their mobile device and how easy it is to use the application. Along with that, his staff appreciates being able to control vacant units with just a touch of a button, which will especially come in handy in the winter when temperatures in those units need to be adjusted regularly. 

Becovic added that the smart features have been a draw for potential tenants, even in today's market. 

“Having the Xfinity Smart Technology at The Lakeside Terrace has been one of the reasons we’ve been able to lease up so quickly in the midst of this pandemic," Becovic said.

As part of a project to bring its advanced network infrastructure to Veridian, a 225-acre mixed-use campus under development in Schaumburg, Illinois, Xfinity Communities announced that it will be providing high-speed Internet service at Element at Veridian, a 260-unit residential building on the campus. 

Element will offer the Smart Community platform, with smart home devices ranging from smart locks to lights that can be programmed to turn on and off at certain times to thermostats that can be programmed to change the temperature throughout the day. All of the devices can be controlled via the Smart Community app from both inside and outside a unit.

Similar to the Kass properties, property managers at Element can control the entire platform via the Xfinity Smart Community Portal, which lets them manage automation technology in vacant units, administrative and public areas, helping increase the property’s overall operational efficiency.  

Property staff can provide remote access to a specific unit, control and monitor the temperature in public areas throughout the property, and, with a single click, change the energy settings in all vacant units so that regardless of how the unit was left, the HVAC and lighting systems are within property guidelines.  

Lizak said that for property owners, providing the reliable, high-speed high-capacity internet service necessary to support all the connected devices that deliver smart technologies is just part of the equation. The other part is finding a partner that can address issues and offer specialized customer service that can help property managers reach their overall customer experience goals.

Xfinity Communities has a team of community account representatives who provide around-the-clock support for properties, as well as hands-on assistance during and after the move-in process.  

“It is imperative to deliver on both sides of the equation,” Lizak said. “At the end of the day, if you want to deliver a great overall living experience, the customer service that supports the platform has to be as good as the platform itself.”

This feature was produced in collaboration between Bisnow Branded Content and Xfinity Communities. Bisnow news staff was not involved in the production of this content.