Student Housing Business

JAN-FEB 2018

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

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SMARTER OPERATIONS January/February 2018 StudentHousingBusiness.com 84 RFID electronic hardware sets. In addition to unit locks, dormaka- ba offers systems that cover ame- nity spaces, elevator controls and perimeter access points. "dormakaba is a single com- pany that ties in comprehensive, low-cost stand-alone systems that do not require Touring units to update locks when credentials are lost," explains national sales manager Dan Doyle, who is based in dormakaba's Winston-Salem, North Carolina, office. While smart technologies are gaining traction across student housing properties, not all opera- tors are utilizing them yet. As a third-party management company, Cardinal Group uses several plat- forms, including Signal 88, United Protective Services and United Security Specialists, across its port- folio with the majority of proper- ties using FOB systems. The Selection Process Selecting security products and providers can be a daunting task, but there a few key factors to look for when vetting companies and solutions. While it's nothing new to industry veterans, zeroing in on products and vendors with expe- rience and a proven track record in the student housing industry is critical. Doyle notes that many products coming into the space are devel- oped for single-family and com- mercial markets so it's imperative to find a vendor that has substan- tiated experience working with security and access control for stu- dent housing requirements. "What's important to guarantee success is to understand your com- pany's goals and make sure you partner with a company that shares in your vision," says Doyle. Beyond shared goals and a prov- en track record in the student hous- ing industry, Doyle suggests zero- ing in on products and vendors that have experience as a supplier/ manufacturer of electronic locks and access systems, and taking into consideration how the potential partner is set up to service proper- ties after the sale. Devine's two top tips for select- ing security and access solutions and providers are to consider the expense in the same light that you would an amenity, like a pool or clubroom. The ROI, he adds, will be two-fold in comparison to the traditional amenity expenses. Also important is to invest in a system that shows the ability to upgrade in the future — much like Wi-Fi speed, the best investment is big- ger, faster and more secure in the future. Being forward thinking is a major aspect to selecting the best partner and solutions for security and access, and Ali Hussain, chief operating officer of New York City- based Latch, encourages operators to think to the future of e-com- merce when selecting an access system. "We typically think of locks as things that keep people out, but we're moving quickly to a world where we'll need products that seamlessly let the right people in," Hussain explains. "This is what tomorrow's consumers will demand, especially young peo- ple. Choosing an access system that focuses on enabling this user experience, while simultaneously offering a robust and comprehen- sive security system for all of your doors is critical." Challenges & Successes One of the big challenges with security is the constant need to keep solutions up-to-date against the latest tech-security threats. Compounding the challenge is the possible financial cost of updating equipment on a regular basis. Latch addresses many of these challenges with the design and price point of its products. The company spent three years design- ing and creating solutions with the input of large real estate owners, like Rudin Management and The LeFrak Organization, to develop a product that was a fit for their properties. The company's products offer residents keyless access to build- ings, common spaces and living spaces; simple access sharing to guests, third-party service provid- ers and delivery personnel; and added security via wide-angled lenses and a visual audit trail. "Latch is the only company that offers a complete, building-wide smart access system that enables the future of on-demand servic- es and e-commerce," explains Hussain. "Our three products work seamlessly together on every type of door or access point throughout a building to create a convenient modern living experience." The company's pricing model is different from other companies that offer smart locks for $1,000- plus per door. Latch sells most of its hardware for $299 and collects a monthly subscription fee for soft- ware management. "This is right in the middle of the price range of traditional locks and provides a recurring revenue stream not commonly associated with traditional hardware busi- nesses," notes Hussain. Selecting a product and compa- ny that focuses on the future of the industry is one way to reduce challenges and ensure success for student housing properties. "Working with providers that engineer their solutions to be 'future-proof' can, however, dra- matically offset expenses and any disruption to operations," explains Popova. "This is because such solu- tions can often be updated with minimal additions to hardware and without having to replace any- thing that is already installed." Last year, ASSA ABLOY final- ized a successful installation with Bristol, United Kingdom-based Urban Creation, a property devel- oper, at two of its student com- plexes — The Manor House and Charlotte's Rise. Urban Creation wanted to create an innovative and unique experience for its stu- dent residents, so it selected ASSA ABLOY's Mobile Access solution, making it the first company in the market to launch such technologies in student housing residences. The product allows the management staff to add the convenience of immediate check-in upon the start of a student's lease through the mobile app, as well as reduce costs by removing the need for physical keys. Cardinal's Devine notes that it's important to remember that "no matter the sophistication of the technology, students often try to circumnavigate the system for any number of reasons, and therefore it weakens the effectiveness of the security." And Devine adds, "Over a decade ago, we'd hear from par- ents, 'They sure didn't have this when I was going to school,' ref- erencing the resort-style pool or amenities-laden clubhouses. Now, in 2018, we hear from students, 'But my parents' house has (insert any and every Wi-Fi-connected item available). The next frontier of student housing will be the tech- nology upgrades within the units." SHB BRIAN MILLER EVP, Haven Campus Communities SCOTT BUEHRLE Director of MDU Market Sales, Single Digits SEAN DEVINE Director of Operations, Cardinal Group

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