By Mike Sloan

Smart Home technologies continue to expand in the multifamily space.  Lighting, heating and air conditioning, water usage and leak detection, and access control are all being adopted at increasing rates as reports describe improved ROI’s for property owners and expanded convenience for residents.

All of these technologies, as well as others yet to be developed, are powered by internet access.  Without it, these technologies are impossible. For both owners and residents, speed and reliability are key elements that contribute to robust access to the internet and support the continued increase of internet usage, including the access required by Smart Home technologies.  Service providers are responding to these factors in two ways:  by developing data handling hardware and software that combined utilize physical infrastructure efficiently, and by building fiber optic infrastructure closer to the property and their customer, your residents.

Service agreements for internet access can clarify to some degree the infrastructure (for example, coax vs. fiber) the service provider will use to provide internet access to or through a multifamily property.  This is a particularly important detail, as the selection of coax vs. fiber will have an impact on the maximum speed available for data transfer and consequently the responsiveness of smart home technologies.  In some cases, a Bill of Materials (“BOM”) could be included in the agreement to add a level of detail regarding other elements of the infrastructure.  The BOM can specify brands and model numbers of hardware and software to be utilized, particularly for equipment associated with internal Wi-Fi networks.  Much like a carburetor or fuel pump as an element of a car’s engine has an impact on an automobile’s performance, the type of wiring and other hardware or software can have an impact on the speed and reliability of access to the internet that smart home technologies rely upon to perform rapidly and consistently for property owners and residents.

Internet access has a number of elements to be considered from market availability and options of providers – to specific devices and how they connect and interact with your property’s management software.  A comprehensive analysis of current contract statuses, current available wiring, and what a rewire would require in terms of capex and construction are important factors to an individual property’s evaluation. There are multiple ways to access the internet now either via fiber or cable broadband systems, wirelessly and ever cellular and emerging technologies like CBRS signal.  The RealtyCom team is available to help advise our clients on the best solutions and find the best available options with you and your property teams. Contact us with your questions at