One of the latest trends that’s receiving a lot of attention in the media is the Internet of Things (IoT). IoT is a term used to describe the ability to connect a device to the Internet to collect data on things like temperature, lighting and the presence of people.
The idea is to make everyday devices “smart.” For example, a smart refrigerator can notify you via a smartphone or tablet that you’re running out of milk, and a smart dishwasher can be programmed to run overnight when energy costs are lower.
While many of these devices are still in their infancy stage and come with a premium price tag, there are some modestly priced IoT devices designed to save users money. For example, home automation systems can be programmed to dim the lights and lower the temperature when you’re at work.
The IOT can help rental property owners who are looking for new ways to provide value to their tenants and stay ahead of the competition with little associated cost.
Security without monthly fees
Since security is a chief concern of both tenants and building owners, it’s logical to start there.
Wireless sensors are available today that allow property owners to offer tenants enhanced security without a recurring monthly fee. These sensors are inexpensive and can be installed in individual rental units.
Tenants can easily program the sensor through an app, which allows them to customize their security. For example, if the tenant is gone from 8 am to 6 pm weekdays, they can program the security or motion sensor to automatically turn on during this time.
If the device senses that something is awry, it connects through the building’s existing Wi-Fi and notifies the tenant via phone call, text message, email or Twitter. Early notification can help thwart other break-ins in the same building.
Once the sensor is purchased, property owners benefit from providing tenants enhanced security without the need for monthly monitoring fees or for false alarm charges from the police.
Since sensors are portable, property managers can move them from one unit to the next, as needed.
Security of restricted areas
Wireless sensors also can be used to secure and monitor other areas that should be restricted, such as equipment closets and the rental office, notifying managers and building owners if an area is accessed.
Since wireless sensors run on batteries, they can be used in areas without electrical outlets, such as pool areas.
The sensors can be programmed specifically to provide notification during non-office hours or other “closed” hours, limiting the property’s liability.
Other uses for wireless sensors
In addition to security, wireless sensors are available that can monitor for the presence of water and then notify the building manager so damage is minimized.
Since water damage can be expensive to repair if not detected early, this is a valuable benefit to building owners.
Wireless sensors also can play an important role in keeping energy prices down, both in common areas and in individual rental units. Sensors can be used to monitor temperature swings, which gives property owners better control over heating and cooling bills.
Additional offerings and services
IoT also provides a huge opportunity to better serve renters, as well as offer other streams of revenue for property managers. The use of sensors can allow property managers to be more aware of what is going on in their properties and provide a better experience for their tenants. Services like monitoring and adding security to a unit can be used as new revenue streams or upgrades for renters, which can be obtained without recurring costs to the property manager. This provides services that renters want and new ways for property managers to differentiate themselves and make more money. In the end, everyone wins.