Student Housing Business

SEP-OCT 2018

Student Housing Business is the voice of the student housing industry.

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BANDWIDTH & CONNECTIVITY September/October 2018 68 The Bandwidth for IoT The industry is cautiously defining which smart features pay and which aren't worth the cost. By Lynn Peisner O Owners and internet providers are working together to deter- mine exactly how "smart" stu- dent apartments will become. The wow factor of fun IoT [Internet of Things] devices, like an Ama- zon Echo, can bump leasing when prospects see them (and talk to them) on property tours. But, for now, the smart features that work best for the student sector are those that will lead to operating expense reductions and staffing efficiencies. Regardless of where the smart apartment or IoT trend is headed, the architecture of a community's network is the foun- dation to support current and future technology. "There's no doubt we're going to see more IoT devices in stu- dent housing," says Andrew Mar- shall, CEO of Campus Technolo- gies. "How well we accommodate them will depend on how well we have architected and imple- mented our multi-service prop- erty networks." Owners remain most attracted to smart features that result in direct return on investments and increased net operating income. Other features haven't gotten full traction across larger portfolios en masse just yet. "I'm not convinced that our residents care about having an Alexa in their apartment," says Scott Casey, chief technology offi- cer and senior vice president of strategic business development with Greystar. Casey says he is more concerned with reducing costs and improving the back of the house processes with mainte- nance and operations teams. For example, the company installed smart thermostats for its 10 new developments this year and included this in the marketing for the properties. "Interestingly, resi- dents were excited that we were doing this and looked forward to using the devices," Casey says. Just how smart features will look, cost and work in the stu- dent space is a work in progress. Several companies are just now testing the waters. Peak Campus, for example, while not yet ready to release outcome data yet, is piloting 10 apartments each in two properties with features that include an Echo voice command for lighting, thermostat and work order generation. "Multiple internet service pro- viders and IoT vendors are col- laborating with student hous- ing and conventional apartment groups to determine revenue gen- erating and cost-saving scenarios for IoT device integration into the apartment," says Donna Preiss, founder and CEO of The Preiss Company. "It's not the typical smart home but more of a tailored approach that helps meet certain needs in our industry," she says. This means devices, and not just ther- mostats, that are connected to the internet that monitor water heater and toilet leakage, light usage, appliance energy usage and air conditioning monitoring and control. "The most intriguing thing to me is the ability to monitor water leakage from heaters and toilets," says Preiss. "There are a large percentage of maintenance work orders that are centered around requests to assist with these sce- narios. The idea is to cut back on work orders, streamline repair efficiency and increase custom- er service. I think this is very ELAUWIT IS NOW PART OF THE BOINGO FAMILY Put the world's leading Wi-Fi company to work for you! Connect with us to learn more: Voted World's Best Wi-Fi Service 8 YEARS and counting " "The most intriguing thing to me is the ability to monitor water leakage from heaters and toilets. The idea is to cut back on work orders, streamline repair efficiency and increase customer service. — Donna Preiss, founder and CEO of The Preiss Company SCOTT CASEY Chief Technology Officer and SVP of Strategic Business Development, Greystar

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