Over the last five years, the multifamily industry has been adapting to an increasingly digital world. Multifamily proptech solutions, including modern access control, have made massive advances. Prior to COVID, adoption rates for new technologies that entered the multifamily market were often slowed by budget concerns and a lack of interoperability with other systems. Developers and property managers often viewed these technologies and platforms as extraneous expenses and they were reserved only for high-end, luxury developments. As the pandemic took hold, the need for the implementation of contactless and virtual technologies in the sector was thrust forward.
Today, smart buildings (either new construction or retrofit) are commonplace, but an adoption gap has occurred in many multifamily communities. Adoption gaps occur when a property introduces a solution to solve a specific problem (e.g. main entrance access) but that solution is limited in its capabilities or is not implemented across the entire property.
Over time, these one-off solutions add up to a hodgepodge of apps, keys, devices, or credentials. Without in-house capabilities to plan, implement and manage systems integrations, property owners and managers often face significant hurdles. The challenges created by the adoption gap often impede the property from providing a seamless user experience at a time when resident expectations are higher than ever and evolving quickly.
Consider this scenario—Taylor, a discerning tenant, resides in an upscale downtown apartment. When she was choosing her apartment, security was a paramount consideration, and this building seemed to have it all. However, her daily reality is far from simple. To gain entrance, she must open a dedicated app, sign in, and swipe her screen to activate the main entry video intercom system. Once inside the building, she has to switch to a different app, activate digital keys, and tap her device to various readers as she moves through common areas, boards elevators, or accesses various amenities. Finally, to unlock her apartment door, she has a PIN pad.
Swipe. Tap. Pin. This cocktail of disparate systems leads to an inconvenient and inconsistent user experience, falling short of the seamless and smooth experience renters expect and deserve in our modern digital era.
Multifamily access control can become even more complicated when we look at mixing physical credentials with digital credentials. It can be a difficult challenge, if not impossible, for property managers to have the same keyfob work across different systems within the tech stack including video entry systems, interior access control, and unit smart locks.
I believe there is a better way to think about and plan for access control in multifamily, and it’s surprisingly simple—put the resident first.
If you shift the focus to streamlining and improving the resident experience, you will open new doors to tenant satisfaction and retention. Sorry for the pun, I couldn’t help myself. But, the simple truth is that easy-to-use, convenient, and most of all, consistent resident experiences are essential to delivering on the promise of smart communities.
To achieve this, property developers should opt for open access control platforms that allow property managers to tailor resident experiences based on the unique needs of their local tenants. The key here is to ensure that a single credential can unlock all doors within the property, including access to common areas, amenities, gates, garages, elevators, rentable spaces, and individual units. This credential should be versatile enough to be a keyfob, keycard, BLUEtooth digital key, a NFC-based credential in their phone’s wallet application or even a simple PIN code.
A consistent user experience not only elevates resident satisfaction but also simplifies building management, ultimately creating efficiencies that reduce operating costs creating a win-win situation for all. The path to higher tenant satisfaction and retention lies in streamlining and personalizing the resident experience, and maybe, just maybe, modern access control holds the key (yes, I did it again).