The Golden Ticket: Master surging residential markets with integrated systems

By Deborah L. O’Mara | Feb 15, 2024
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Consumers are leaning into convenience, security and a connected lifestyle in the multifamily and proptech (property technology) markets.




Consumers are leaning into convenience, security and a connected lifestyle in the multifamily and proptech (property technology) markets. They want an array of systems and services—from video doorbells to environmental sensors—to make their homes and buildings smarter, safer and more comfortable. Systems integrators that can provide a total system that is easy to operate from a single platform will be well-positioned to take advantage of expected growth.

Safety and security are important for property owners and renters, as a third of survey respondents said they would be willing to pay more for smart doorbells with video, outdoor cameras and mobile access control, according to Allegion’s 2023 “Multifamily Living Trends Report.”

Robert Gaulden, Go to Market director, Zentra access at Allegion, Carmel, Ind., said tenants are looking for turnkey convenience and integrated solutions. 

Total building approach

“By creating a seamless access experience for renters and property staff—from package delivery solutions and self-guided tours to guest management and amenity and perimeter access—there’s a portfolio of solutions that help ease a property manager’s pain points while making life better for the residents,” Gaulden said.

He said systems integrators can address these trends and corresponding challenges by taking a total building approach: whole perimeter and unit control. 

“Additionally, there are adjacent technologies they can leverage, such as sensors, devices, along with a variety of technology partners to expand their offering. The more you can leverage your business and skillsets to bring a holistic building approach to the property, the better position you’ll be in,” Gaulden said.

The multifamily market will continue to evolve around a seamless access experience. 

“Renters want and expect all the convenience technology can provide, but it must be simple to adopt and easy to use. Single integrated user apps will become more commonplace, especially for properties looking to differentiate and appeal to high-quality, technology-tolerant residents,” Gaulden said. 

“An integrated user app can connect all property technology software and devices into one cloud-based app, creating a seamless experience for owners, managers, staff and residents,” he said. “A streamlined resident portal app is the most valuable amenity for future housing options, with over half of survey respondents saying it is a must-have.”

Anticipate and adjust

Erik Glassen, senior brand marketing manager for Kwikset, Lake Forest, Calif., said the profile of the proptech market is changing at a breakneck pace.

“There’s quite a diverse range of services available. Residents want smart home technology to control devices and systems within the home. Developers and investors are seeking services to provide data analytics and market insight, as well as various real estate investment platforms,” he said. “And for property managers and owners, payment solutions, tenant service packages and complete management systems are on their list.”

Each audience has its own unique transactional expectations. But there are three elements, Glassen said, sought after by all parties: simplicity, security and flexibility.

Regardless of whether it’s a comprehensive property management system, an individual device or investment platform, everyone wants it to be intuitive.

Security comes in many forms: for the resident and property owner, it’s protection of people and property. For investors, it means secure transactions and privacy of data.

Flexibility can be viewed in many ways. For entire systems or platforms, it means the ability to seamlessly grow and expand. For individual devices, they work on multiple home platforms, as well as interconnect with other smart products.

Glassen said the list of technologies underlying proptech systems and devices is almost endless. As a result, systems integrators would do well to understand and be able to work with as many of these technologies as possible.

“Within the smart home arena, for example, there are Bluetooth, Z-Wave, Control4, Apple HomeKit and many other protocols. Systems integrators who can handle all of them can make themselves highly marketable to a much wider residential audience,” he said. “Until there is a single, standard smart home protocol, the need for this type of expertise will be in high demand.”

Integrators will need to be comfortable working with all the technologies that form the foundation of turnkey proptech systems. But just as important, they need to be competent at tying all these systems together. 

“A complete property management system may interface with a system for residents to make secure rental payments, a maintenance system and an access control system that supports renters’ smart locks. Those integrators who can truly integrate multiple systems and processes will be worth their weight in gold,” Glassen said. / PlutusART

About The Author

O’MARA writes about security, life safety and systems integration and is managing director of DLO Communications. She can be reached at [email protected] or 773.414.3573.





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