Best-practice rules of the multifamily business are evolving as connected devices continually change the way people live, work and play. Cord cutting, Amazon shipments, home-office careers and smart thermostats are just the beginning. Communities will soon rely on artificial intelligence—“Siri, lock the door,” the Internet of Things (IoT), cloud computing and more to secure and retain residents. And, it’s the job of property developers, owners and managers to adapt, compete and grow in the digital age.
For today’s resident, it’s all about wireless. Internet connectivity, once considered an amenity, is now a utility. For many, it’s the most important utility. A recent study, in fact, found that 40% of Gen Z prefer Wi-Fi connectivity over a working bathroom. It’s this incredible demand for internet access that has led to the rise of community network models.
A community network provides property-wide wireless to fuel every digital touchpoint within a housing community. Here are four reasons why a community network is the way to go:
1. Traditional Telecom and Cable Models Aren’t Built for Today’s Connected Resident
Connectivity is part of life. Residents count on great internet to power their mobile lifestyles. They want always-on, seamless connectivity from lobby to lounge to living room, making the entire property feel like home. Traditional models don’t cut it. For starters, they leave residents to fend for themselves with appointment-based installations, bundled packages and contractual commitments. On top of this, the internet service stays within the unit without coverage in public areas. Furthermore, there’s no cohesive strategy for using the same service for back-of-house operations for property staff.
2. Community Networks Boost Your Bottom Line
Blanketing multifamily communities with a single network can increase NOI and property value by providing greater, long-term participation in the revenue stream. It allows owners to better balance cost objectives and revenue goals thanks to bulk-billed and wholesale models. Bottom line? You’re leaving money on the table when you don’t have network ownership. And, you don’t have to choose between giving your residents award-winning, fast internet service or driving NOI and value for your property. You can have both.
3. 5G and IoT Ready
Buzz continues to build for 5G, the newest wireless standard that succeeds 4G. 5G is engineered for a new generation, where billions of connected things will power smart buildings, smart cities and smart homes. Without a community network, multifamily owners will find it difficult to reap the benefits of 5G and building automation powered by IoT. And if you’re not reaping the benefits, the competition will be.
4. Gamechanger for Short-Term Rentals
There’s money to earn with shorter-term occupants. The National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC) estimates that 65% of recent Airbnb bookings were in multifamily buildings. Meanwhile 43% of property managers have had short-term rentals occur without their approval. Forward-looking owners are changing that by taking a claim in this market. But how will seamless internet be provided if a community network isn’t established? Truck rolls and appointments with a cable provider aren’t realistic for short-term guests; the property wins when the wireless network is pre-installed and ready to handle a revolving door of visitors.