Fact vs. Fiction: Offline Smart Lock Capabilities in Multifamily Homes
According to a Rent survey from earlier this year, 82% of renters want at least one smart device in their home, with smart locks being a top goal for 40% of apartment residents. Additionally, an Allegion survey of millennial renters found that the majority of renters (60%) would be more likely to live somewhere that offers mobile credentials. These statistics highlight the fact that many residents expect smart locks in their home, creating an opportunity for building operators to attract and retain more residents.
Despite the growing demand for smart apartment entry, there still seems to be some hesitancy in the market to adopt electronic door locks. With costs, capabilities and security top of mind— it’s important to understand how offline locks work and how they fit into building operations.
Let’s separate the misconceptions from the facts.
Assumption: Property Managers and building owners will have to buy an entire smart apartment hub system.
The Facts: Smart wireless locks can be installed to resident’s apartment doors without having a smart apartment hub in the unit. In fact, offline smart wireless locks are an easy way to begin building your technology offering. Smart wireless locks can be installed on any door, whether it’s communal areas like the front entrance, parking garage and amenity areas, or each resident’s front door. It’s important to keep interoperability and flexibility top of mind when evaluating lock partners.
Assumption: Community Wi-Fi is required to keep doors secure and to have access. If Wi-Fi is down, residents will have no access to the apartment.
The Facts: Those who are not familiar with the capabilities of smart wireless lock systems often worry that they will be locked out if the Wi-Fi goes down. Thankfully, that’s not the case. Smart wireless locks can operate in offline mode without Wi-Fi. In fact, most of the smart wireless locks we sell today are offline battery-powered, but still allow residents to gain access via a fob or more recently, a mobile credential.
Assumption: You must use online locks to leverage mobile credentials.
The Facts: With the right technology, residents can leverage mobile credentials for seamless access and convenience. For apartment managers this opens the door to operational efficiencies and enhanced experiences to increase net operating income.
Assumption: Residents must have cell service to use mobile credentials.
The Facts: Once a credential is downloaded to a device it will work without cell service or data. This is especially important for areas like underground parking garages and multilevel complexes, where service can get spotty.
Key Benefits to Keyless Systems
Smart wireless locks offer an array of benefits for residents. Beyond convenience, they can offer additional security, audit capabilities, and visitor credential capabilities. For property managers you can also include the benefits of not having to rekey their locks, strong credential management and the ability to integrate the mobile credential into additional applications or experiences.
Smart wireless locks do not require a person to have a key for them to access their apartment or buildings. This is beneficial when you take into consideration the various doors and locks that are throughout a residential building, including a gym, mailroom, community space, etc.
Smart systems simplify their experience while providing a greater sense of layered security.
The pandemic has raised concerns for all community dwellers, including the usage of shared space. With keyless systems, property managers have access to data. Managers can better control the flow of people through crowded areas such as building entrance, mailroom, and gyms/pools. This improves perimeter security and helps monitor capacity in certain areas.
In a recent Solving for Multifamily episode I had with Livly, a resident experience application company, we discussed how the labor shortage in the U.S has impacted all industries, including the multifamily space. With a tight workforce, smart systems create efficiencies and ensure security. This technology can reduce the number of staff needed to manage entry and exit points and frees up work hours to focus on operating your building and delighting your residents.
Debatably the greatest benefit of keyless systems is the value that they bring to the building. Improving security and exceeding expectations of user experience will create resident loyalty. Renewal rates tend to increase when residents feel that they have a good deal and that their complex doesn’t need improving. I also had a recent conversation while on a Multifamily Matters episode with Brian Duggan, co-founder & co-CEO, Livly. He has found that there is a “10-20% renewal rate by residents with these systems.”
Smart locks are a great first step that building owners can take to providing the advanced technology that residents are expecting and desiring. Gen Z are becoming the primary target of multifamily homes and have an expectation of connectivity. Technology connects so much of their world, and many Gen Z and millennials have already experienced keyless doors while living and studying on college campuses. Smart security upgrades might just be how apartment managers can continue to attract renters and retain residents.