Consumer Electronics Show Offers Hints of Forthcoming Multifamily Innovations

Smart Home Innovation

The tech world descended on Las Vegas earlier this month for the Consumer Electronics Show, and offered a sneak peek at the newest technological innovations.

While ultra-thin TVs, Bluetooth-sharing smart pillows and millennial vans stole the show, a few other technologies were more applicable to the multifamily industry. Among them were advancements in virtual reality, the next generation of Amazon’s Alexa, and new smart home technology.

  • Virtual Reality (VR): While the technology itself might not be hugely feasible for the apartment industry today, virtual walkthroughs (augmented reality) could become more common as consumer demand grows. This is especially valuable to prospects moving from out of state who cannot visit the community in person. VR lends itself perfectly to apartment tours for both the interior and exterior of the community.  RentPath research found that interior home features are the most important item for consideration when seeking an apartment home, even ranking higher than location in their importance. But if you’re only offering interior VR tours, you’re failing to connect with a large segment of prospective renters who favor the outdoor experience. Expect apartment owner/operators to find innovative ways to provide a VR look at the apartment interiors, as well as their exteriors and community grounds.
  • Amazon Echo: While Alexa can play and pause a song, order flowers and provide a traffic update, there are more practical applications for the multifamily industry. Now, prospective renters can utilize Alexa to search for apartment homes by saying “Alexa, open real estate.” Voice commands can be used to search by price, size and location rather than scrolling on a phone, tablet or laptop. Alexa will email users a list of properties that meet specified criteria. Look for progressive owner/operators to find a way to utilize this technology to broaden their reach.
  • Smart Home Technology: Smart home technology is  expected to generate the sale of 600M units in 2017. Technology can cover a wide range of uses from automated lighting, programmable thermostats, keyless entry, and consumer firewalls. Expect this technology to make its way into apartment homes that seek to provide top amenities to its residents.

As the pace of technological advancement continues to speed up, savvy apartment owner/operators will keep abreast of these emerging trends and stay ahead of the curve.