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You’ve probably been hearing about how the Internet of Things (IoT), an ‘ecosystem’ that is constantly monitoring the environment and communicating data across networks, is going to transform the average person’s home and the property management industry for a few years now. Back in 2013, TechCrunch wrote, “with the emergence of connected devices, the entire home is being reinvented as a data product, opening great opportunities to entrepreneurs.”

Three years later, and with no major changes to speak of, maybe you’ve grown skeptical about the immediacy of the changes promised by futurists and tech experts.

But big changes tend to be gradual rather than immediate. For example, look at the slow adoption rate of the Internet, which was intended by its creator Tim Berners-Lee to be a collaborative platform. It took about three decades for its intended purpose to be realized.

Device connectivity graph representing the internet of things

The good news for believers in the IoT ecosystem and the positive impact it can have on the property management industry is that many experts believe we’re getting close to an explosion of mass-adoption that will lead to rapid, big changes.

Compared to expectations for 2020, the IoT ecosystem currently is fragmented and relatively small. However, Bala Iyer, Professor of Information Technology Management at Babson College, predicts that by 2020 there will be 50 billion connected devices. If the prediction holds, 2020 is the year the IoT ecosystem really starts to shape the way businesses are run, including property management companies.

Businesses, expected to be the top adopter of IoT solutions, will drive these big changes because of the positive impact on the bottom line. According to a recent report published by Business Intelligence, there are three ways the IoT can improve a business’s bottom line:

➀ Lowering operating costs

➁ Increasing productivity

➂ Expanding to new markets or developing new product offerings

 

smart home with device connectivity

In 2016, most people only use smart devices like thermostats, carbon monoxide and smoke detectors, and cameras to monitor their children, pets or home entryways. But the IoT ecosystem is expected to grow quickly.

In fact, 43 percent of building managers in the U.S. believe the IoT will affect how they run their building within the next two to three years. Multi-Family Executive calls the current state of IoT “a big and growing-bigger soup of potential.”

As the IoT ecosystem grows, all these devices will “learn” to work with each other, creating smarter, more comfortable properties. One aspect of property management set to be improved by an IoT ecosystem is energy control. Fifty-nine percent of property managers surveyed by Daintree Networks“believe building energy control/management is a critical component of the Internet of Things.”

In addition to lowering energy costs, about 70 percent of property management professionals believe an IoT ecosystem help future proof their buildings. For example, an IoT ecosystem monitor their resident population’s habits. By studying residents’ habits, property management companies are better suited to staying on top of resident trends, adapting to those trends and therefore creating more desirable living spaces and improving the bottom line.

With all these big predictions about the IoT, it will be fun to see what 2020 holds for the property management industry.

 

  • Anthony Ragland

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