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INSIGHTS

Smart apartments: Leveraging home tech to drive new value

Smart apartments: Leveraging home tech to drive new value
Building on advanced connectivity services, MDU property managers and owners can leverage the benefits of smart home devices and smart property solutions to drive revenue and increase net operating income.
A robust network is the foundation for modern living. This is as true for residents of multi-dwelling units (MDUs) like apartments, condominiums, and dormitories as it is for single-family residences. Building on advanced connectivity services, MDU property managers and owners can leverage the benefits of smart home devices and smart property solutions to drive revenue and increase net operating income.
 
MDUs are designed to house multiple families contained in a single building or several buildings within one complex. Building types typically include apartments/condominiums, duplexes, quadruplexes, townhomes, dormitories, military bases, boat slips, and mobile home parks. MDU residents are a significant segment of the US population, as Parks Associates research indicates that 31 percent of US broadband households or 34 million households live in MDUs.
 
Consumers need broadband to live, work, learn, shop, and connect to healthcare, banking, and more. Social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic has made it abundantly clear that consumer lifestyles are dependent on reliable connectivity and high-speed access. MDU residents have relied on new connected services like telehealth, video conferencing, and online fitness solutions to meet their daily needs.
 
Consumers depend on their homes broadband to participate in daily activities that require high download speeds, high upload speeds, and a reliable internet connection. Parks Associates' research shows that as of September 2020, 59 percent of workers reported a household member working remotely, and 63 percent of parents reported a child schooling remotely.
 
Reliable, high-speed broadband is now a must-have for MDU residents. While most MDU residents acquire broadband service for their units directly through providers via a retail service model, a growing number of properties offer managed high-speed internet access (HSIA) as an amenity.
 
Building on managed HSIA services, properties can offer community-wide Wi-Fi available upon move-in for residents and allows seamless Wi-Fi coverage across the community. These solutions may also offer a superior cost/benefit ratio. MDUs provide service providers the ability to scale services across their tenant population, meaning residents may enjoy speeds of up to 1Gpbs at lower prices than they could acquire on their own. Of course, a fast and dependable network is the critical foundation to scalable Wi-Fi solutions. Internet service providers have an opportunity to provide both bulk broadband services and property Wi-Fi solutions, delivering an end-to-end, seamless experience for property managers and residents.
 
 

 
Taken together, managed high-speed internet services provide MDU properties with the advanced and flexible networking backbone needed to meet both operational needs and resident expectations for connectivity services. Yet, even beyond internet access itself, ubiquitous broadband and managed networking become the foundation for operational efficiencies for property owners and more enhanced living experiences for MDU residents. 40 percent of MDU renters in broadband households are interested in bulk broadband internet bundled with their rent. In addition, 77 percent of those interested are willing to pay higher rent for the service.
 
The expanded use of technology in and around MDU properties is evident in residents’ use of connected devices. The adoption of smart home devices like smart thermostats, video doorbells, smart lights, and smart door locks among MDU residents has grown dramatically since 2018. In 2020, MDU resident adoption of smart home devices surpassed adoption among residents of single-family homes: 41 percent of MDU broadband households report owning at least one smart home device, compared to 34 percent of single-family households.


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