The notion of a smart home may sound futuristic; however, home automation is becoming more common and already improving the homeowner experience by enabling access control, climate management, lighting, and the emerging benefits of the Internet of Things (IoT) that automate tasks normally handled by humans.
Today’s smart home trend may become tomorrow’s expectation for renters across housing associations, private rented sector and the build to rent markets.
A smart home is made possible through the power of the IoT. British computer scientist, Kevin Ashton, is known as “the father of the Internet of Things”. He named the computer revolution from his cubicle at Proctor & Gamble in Staines in 1999 to describe a system where the internet is connected to the physical world via sensors. Ten years later he wrote using these sensors to gather data without any help from us—we would be able to track and count everything, and greatly reduce waste, loss and cost.
Twenty years on from coining the phrase, the world of IoT is exploding with estimates of more than 64 billion IoT devices by 2025, up from about 10 billion in 2018.
IoT sensors have evolved to become IoT smart devices – a tool we can interact with to do work on our behalf – by voice command, using automated sensors or from our mobiles. Just think of how you interact with a Smart Home Digital Assistant (Amazon Alexa, Apple Siri or Google Home) or your mobile phone using mapping apps.
Smart technology platforms have evolved to enhance the way we live. SmartRent.com was conceived as a way to bring the Smart Home experience to the renter using an enterprise technology platform connected to z-wave IoT devices, while bringing economic and operational benefits to the landlord and property managers.
The benefits of smart home technology for renters include:
The benefits of smart home technology far outweigh the cost of its implementation. In a social housing context, the payback is under three years and in private rented with increased rental for a smart home the payback is under 2 years.
As social landlords and build to rent operators consider which solution will deliver the most value, they should also consider the risks of a smart home investment. Landlords will inevitably raise information security concerns. The two most common concerns are cybersecurity vulnerabilities and obsolescence. These valid concerns are best addressed by a high-quality solution provider with a vigorous information security program. Sensible information security protocols and a sound technology foundation are critical to the home automation decision.
It’s also important to select established technology providers that have created an IoT ecosystem that is robust, open and secure. If good choices are made early in the adoption cycle, there is an opportunity to drive increased revenue, decreased costs, and substantial value.
Housing landlords and property managers have an opportunity to create value by adopting these technologies earlier than their competitors. Home automation is here to stay, and renters will enjoy the significant benefits that will increase over time.
SmartRent is an enterprise home automation company developing software and hardware to help landlords, property managers and renters, now available in UK residential housing. Our technology platform provides landlords and managers a single view to better monitor and protect their assets, and create operational efficiencies all while enabling their tenants access to a smart home experience.