Connected homes are all the rage, but connected hotels, dorms and even apartments have lagged despite offering some big advantages for property owners. This summer the Wynn is putting Amazon Echo units in its rooms and now apartment dwellers may soon experience the connected life, thanks to a startup called IOTAS.
I wrote about the company two years ago when the idea of connecting apartments led Sce Pike to create the company. Two years later her company has connected 286 apartments and learned several things about what makes a good product for property management services.
For example, IOTAS installations use Wi-Fi-, Bluetooth and Z-wave for all of the gadgets, and IOTAS now makes a hub for each unit. Pike says of all the different standards in the market, Z-wave suited the company the best because it’s mature, and the devices will work together without fussing with different profiles and whatnot.
IOTAS charges a monthly fee to the apartment communities, based on the number of units are installed.
It offers 12 different sensor types ranging from light switches to water sensors. It costs the apartment managers about $1 more per square foot to add the hub, sensors and service to apartments. REITs and property management companies can charge extra rent for the connected apartments (Pike says about $45 a month on average) or they can recoup the investment in energy savings. This could be a good investment for real estate investors and property management companies as they could be earning more income per month due to these extra rental charges. This Roofstock guide or something similar will be able to explain what is considered to be a good cap rate so that you have a better idea about whether this investment could be a worthwhile one.
Pike estimates that apartments can see a 27% reduction in utility costs after installing the sensors. Plus, residents like it. The IOTAS model fits in with the trend of smart homes coming more under some form of outside installation and management. In this case, it’s a necessary evil of apartment living, but given how tough it is to manage connected homes, having IOTAS in the loop may not be a bad thing.