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The Top Amenity Trend in 2016 for Today’s Residents – Property-Wide WiFi – By Eric Markow

Posted on 01. Feb, 2016 by in all

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With widespread technology use by residents of all ages and the rise of the Millennial generation, property-wide WiFi, Gigabit speeds, WiFi calling and smart home features are what’s next in technology trends for apartments in 2015.

Rental properties have to provide the technology amenities the market demands starting with high-speed, remote internet service.  Apartment living is evolving because of shifting population dynamics.  With 77 million tech-savvy Millennials (ages 18-36) entering the apartment market, they are transforming the demand for technology-oriented amenities in both private and shared residential spaces.  It’s not hard to see why internet is the number one desired technology-based amenity today.  In addition to attracting droves of new residents, new technologies actually have the potential of opening up untapped ancillary income for owners.

High speed access to the internet for information and entertainment is an integral part of the lives of more and more Americans, but especially the millennials who grew up with such services.  Dense, bandwidth intensive content such as YouTube videos, movies and video games is a given for this market.   Millennials want to stay connected on their devices anywhere for social media and real-time interactions on platforms like Twitter and Snapchat.  Mid-life residents (36 – 55) are also increasingly heavy technology users.

With the growth of telecommuting, more workers are based at home and demand reliable Internet.  And seniors aren’t far behind as they want to use email, Netflix and other websites and Skype with their grandchildren.

To keep up with this societal trend, more and more properties have discovered that technology amenities have become a critical part of the mix of offerings required to attract and retain residents, especially the swelling ranks of younger residents who grew up computer literate and social media savvy.

Apartment hunting priorities for these residents still include affordable price and quality living conditions, but high-speed connectivity has risen to equal importance in and plays a key role in decision making.  Most apartment hunters want to know they’ll have powerful and reliable internet connectivity, delivered wirelessly and with some plug-and-play simplicity.  Smart home features such as USB port and smart phone docking and charging stations round out the complement of technology offerings that will let residents know that your apartment community is the right fit for them.

Whether building a new facility or upgrading existing buildings, including property-wide WiFi that offers high speed connectivity for both individual units and in common areas is a growing trend and is proving to be a “win” for residents and owners/managers at properties around the country.  New cutting edge technologies have finally made it easy and affordable to offer WiFi solutions at a high level. 

Community Space Technology

One of the major trends in apartment, MDU and condo development in 1015 has been the focus on campus-like spaces, especially for urban communities where per-unit footprint has been shrinking.  Designers and builders are creating more upscale lounges, club rooms, technology, fitness, business centers, media room and play spaces so residents can gather socially while remaining connected to the Internet.  Millennials in particular use these public spaces for socializing with other residents and guests or as an extension of their own living space.  Implementing the newest technology trends like property-wide WiFi and smart home features allows residents to use these spaces as an extension of their home.  Residents can print property wide, turn off their lights from anywhere, adjust their AC on the go and much more.

The perfect solution for a growing number of property owners has been to offer high-speed community-wide Internet service, which a recent survey by the National Multi Housing Council calls “one of the most desired amenities.”  More than 70 percent of respondents said that fast, reliable broadband connectivity was either “important” or “very important” in their decision making.

Increasingly, apartment communities are installing “bulk Wi-Fi” services and marketing this in-demand amenity as an option to create a new profit center.  By eliminating the “big Box” cable or DSL Internet companies from the equation, residents receive a superior service at a fraction of the market cost and MDU owners can establish a new revenue source. 

Modernizing In-Unit Technology Amenities

To keep up with tech-savvy residents, modernizing rental units to include additional technology features are a key trend for 2016 and beyond.  Simple steps like installing wall outlet covers with USB ports can be a great starting point.  Adding the latest technology amenities converts quickly into increased revenue and retention.  And while quality Internet service may not be the only factor in a resident’s choice to move in, your bad Internet service can definitely be a reason they choose a competing property. 

Conclusion

Of all the latest amenities that a property can include, technology access is becoming increasingly crucial in today’s competitive rental marketplace.  High-speed Internet service options that extend from apartment units to community spaces can help set you apart, and don’t have to be an expensive solution to implement; in fact they can bring you untapped profit opportunities.  If done right, Property-Wide WiFi, amongst other technologies are a distinguishing factor for resident loyalty, retention and increased per door revenue. 

Eric Markow is Chief Technology Officer of Dual Path, a provider of high speed property-wide WiFi services.  For more information, call (800) 468-6851. 

Reprinted with permission of the Rental Housing Journal Arizona.

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