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A Pool Is Nice, But A Smart Building Addresses Resident Concerns About Convenience And Security


In the war to attract and retain residents, multifamily landlords have a new weapon in their arsenal: smart building digital transformation. Building managers are discovering that smart technology is a cost-competitive way to improve the experience for tech-savvy residents who value technology as highly as traditional amenities such as gyms or pools. 

Despite the signs pointing to smart technology as the next resident must-have, some landlords remain wary about embracing the latest tools.

“Smart technology in multifamily is rapidly becoming a requirement, but some property owners and managers are hesitant to adopt smart hardware because they fear it will soon need to be replaced with the next new thing,” said Felicite Moorman, vice president and co-founder of STRATIS. “Others worry that technology providers solving for today’s demands may not be in business long enough for owners to realize the promised ROI.”

But as the first platform of its kind when it debuted in 2013, RealPage’s STRATIS Smart Building has a track record of providing smart solutions for multifamily and student housing, Moorman said. STRATIS has the staying power to continue to help customers meet resident expectations over the long term, she said.

She cited a survey that found that 86% of renters said they would pay extra for a unit outfitted with smart devices or home automation features. That ought to allay building owners’ concerns about the return on investment for smart technologies, she said, adding that there are numerous instances of smart technology benefiting both building managers and their residents.

The Miles, an apartment complex in Minneapolis, offered extensive physical amenities to residents, including a fully equipped gym, resident lounges and a resort-style pool deck. But with an app developed by STRATIS, The Miles was able to bring Internet of Things connectedness to residents, building management, and maintenance crew. 

The app gave residents greater control over access to the building and individual units. They now can allow visitors to enter the property with a QR code or one-time PIN code. 

Miles Property Management reported that it recovered 100% of its investment in less than two years. In fact, the rollout worked so well that building management credited it for increasing property values, Moorman said.

The managers of the 72-unit Archview Flats in Bayonne, New Jersey, credited STRATIS for the 86% leased and 69% occupancy levels it reached only three months after the complex opened. Smart tools available to residents include a geofencing function that automates apartment settings, such as lighting and HVAC, to turn on or off depending on a resident’s location. 

“Creating physical amenities is very expensive and very difficult to do,” Archview Flats manager Zach Aliberti said in a statement. “I can’t add a second gym or add a pool anywhere I want to. But installing smart tools to improve how residents interface with their buildings is a much more cost-effective approach to creating accretive value.”

Marianne Hahn, regional property manager for Archview Flats, said that these new tools are a game-changer for the multifamily market. Soon, she said, it will be more commonplace for people to use fobs and apps instead of traditional keys.

Moorman said building owners appreciate that STRATIS interfaces with a range of communication methods like WiFi, Bluetooth and other wireless technologies that are used to connect smart devices today.

STRATIS Smart Building, she said, is the only solution that can support all of the smart communication methods in use today, and upon which additional devices can be added or replaced without platform change-outs in the future. This, she said, will help ensure a property portfolio is ready to deliver on residents’ expectations well into the future.

This article was produced in collaboration between Studio B and RealPage. Bisnow news staff was not involved in the production of this content.

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