Apartment life is changing, and COVID-19 has accelerated these deviations from the norm. More than ever before, property managers are utilizing the Internet of Things (IoT) to improve operational efficiencies, generate new sources of income and reduce expenses. Meanwhile the tenant experience is being enhanced through connected devices, unified access control and frictionless interactions with property staff.
Nearly 1 million smart apartments in 2020
The United States had 928,000 smart apartments in 2020, an increase of 1,460% relative to 2017, according to the latest multifamily smart home report from Omdia. This means about 4% of all apartments in the United States in 2020 had connected devices installed. By 2025, Omdia predicts 42% of all apartments in the United States will have connected devices.
Meanwhile, 3.4% of multifamily (rented) apartments globally will have connected devices. Omdia also predicts global hosting services and hardware revenue for smart resident units will generate more than $9.5 billion in annual revenue in 2025.
Pandemic accelerated apartment trends
COVID-19 had a moderate impact on the smart apartment market in 2020. For example, the coronavirus prompted many property managers to expedite plans to implement connected technology within their properties. Perhaps the most profound impact has been with self-guided tours. By embracing smart locks, chat bots, and other touchless experiences, apartments are reconsidering past strategies.
Although smart door locks and thermostats for apartments are becoming standard, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Through a complete ecosystem of connected device, from HVAC to security, occupancy sensors and building management systems (BMS), property managers are being presented with tools allowing them to become proactive rather than reactive to everyday tasks.
Remaining idle will be a risk
The United States has about 23 million apartments housing about 40 million people. Adding connectivity to these buildings can solve countless problems, from affordable housing shortages and remote working to climate change and sustainability.
While the concept of a smart apartment is still new, investors and property managers cannot afford to remain idle. Even if the benefits of connected solutions aren't enticing enough for key stakeholders, the risk of being a casualty of change is high because, for properties located in major metro areas, there is a good chance that a competing property is already in talks to incorporate the IoT into their complex.