Top 10 Smart Apartment Questions

Researching and implementing smart technology can be a daunting task. That process usually begins with a number of questions regarding hardware, software, vendors, devices, and so much more. To help with your navigation of the new smart technology process, we rounded up Dwelo’s most frequently asked questions and provided answers for you below.

Need help understanding what a “smart apartment” is? Read our guide here.

How do we know that what we install today won’t be obsolete tomorrow?

There will always be an obsolescence time-frame with tech-enabled devices. However, with the types of devices installed for smart apartments, that time-frame will be long. This is due to the nature of the hardware. Unlike most consumer electronics, door locks, lights and thermostats have a single, consistent function that won’t change over time. Look at the hospitality industry as an example. Hospitality has been using electronics locks for well over a decade and many hotels, even high-end hotels, are using the same electronics locks they were using 15 year ago - they aren’t obsolete. That’s because the functionality of a lock hasn’t changed nor will it change. Are there new versions of electronic locks? Yes. But their differences are minor and won’t impact the user experience or guest perceptions. The same applies to apartments. Stick with core devices whose functionality doesn’t change and they won’t quickly become obsolete.  

Because many of the devices Dwelo uses are connected to the cloud via WiFi or our hubs, we can send updates over time that ensures the software operating many devices continues to evolve as the industry evolves.

You can read a full breakdown of how to future proof your smart apartment here.

What kind of wiring/infrastructure is required to make my community smart?

The technology used today in hardware connects with the internet over wireless signals like Zwave, Bluetooth and Wifi. This means that there are not any additional wiring requirements. Newer assets likely don’t have to make any modifications to infrastructure. Older assets may lack some requisite infrastructure but your smart technology provider should act as a resource to determine what is and is not feasible in your community.

How does smart apartment technology help my maintenance and management staff?

  • With the use of digital credentials enabled by smart locks and a platform like Dwelo, lockouts happen less frequently and when they do happen, they can be resolved remotely.

  • Managers can grant and manage access for vendors remotely and in real-time.

  • Maintenance can get in and out of units with a single, secure credential. Thus reducing the need for checking keys in and out.

  • Manage vacant unit thermostat settings.

  • The ability to offer a “Smart Home” to residents without a do it yourself set up.

What demographics are responding well to smart apartments?

All types! The biggest hurdle with smart homes has been the set-up requirements. With apartments, devices are preconfigured with a smooth on-boarding process. This expands the demographics to all types, including seniors. With Dwelo, our software and product are extremely user-friendly. We understand that when a multifamily operator adds Dwelo to their community, it will affect the lives of more than just their most tech savvy resident base. We want to make the utility and convenience of the smart home accessible to all.

What are the highest value devices to have in your smart apartment?

Lights, locks, and thermostats. No matter who you are, interaction with these devices happens on a daily basis.

How do smart devices communicate with each other?

Via wireless protocols like Zwave. This often involves the use of a gateway or hub that acts as the bridge between the devices back to the internet.

What kind of rent premiums are being proved with Smart Apartments?

Depending on a number of factors, Dwelo’s customers have realized a range of rent premiums between $20-$75. On average, $35 per unit per month.

What kind of projects are best suited for smart apartments? (New Development or Retrofits)

Both. For new developments, we can specify smart hardware during the planning process and have it installed as part of the construction. For retrofits, we simply remove old hardware and install new on a schedule that works best for the property. Dwelo’s current customer mix is a strong mix of new development and retrofit, about 50/50.

What should I look for when selecting a smart apartment provider?

  • Experience!

    • How many communities do they serve? And how much of each community have they implemented? 5 units or full properties?

  • Service model

    • How do they handle the operational challenge of implementation and service requests?

  • Connectivity

    • How do they connect the hardware and keep it connected?

  • Hardware focus

    • Are they focused on devices that provide daily value or do they introduce ‘bells and whistles’ hardware that don’t proportionately contribute to your ROI?

  • Open platform

    • Do they work with third-party hardware and can their platform adapt to new tech?

  • Security

    • Do they have high-security standards?

  • Data privacy

    • Are they sharing or selling data or do they keep it private and secure?

  • Trust

    • Can they provide lists of references that can speak to others’ experiences of working with them?

How is a smart apartment different than a smart community?

The difference between a smart apartment and smart community is the beneficiary. The resident benefits from the unit itself, but the secondary thinking of what smart devices can do for maintenance and management teams is a smart community. For example, smart perimeter access and smart utility metering expand the benefits of a smart platform to Owners, Managers, maintenance, and Residents alike.

Did we miss any? Please reach out with any other questions you might have. Our team is standing by here!