The ABC’s of Apartment Automation
The word “automation” alone evokes a future yet-to-be realized—one of robot homes that take care of you without your constant guidance or input. If you’ve been following along with our blog series, you already know what our stance on this is: a certain time has arrived, and it’s growing fast. And yet that word, automation, also brings with it an overwhelming sense of complexity, which can lead to frustration. It can often preclude businesses and individuals adopt, share, and enjoy the very real luxury of a tech-driven future.
The uninformed don’t know or don’t understand the benefits and value of smart apartment automation. It’s complicated. We get it. The process for setting up automated environments is seemingly difficult and, at times, confusing. Device selection is tricky, wireless protocols are hard to discern between, and product manuals end up leaving the smartest of engineers scratching their heads. But even though it’s a little bit complex, doesn’t mean it can’t be easy when you have a solution provider guiding your way.
Devices: The Building Blocks
To automate, you’ll need devices capable of sending and receiving information from the internet because a constant connection is required for everything to work harmoniously. With that simple criteria alone, the possibilities for automation are endless—as you might imagine. To make things easy, let’s just pair it down to the very basic necessities behind any functioning smart home or apartment.
Hubs are the central command centers for automated environments. They connect to the internet typically via a WiFi or cellular connection. For apartment buildings, you seldom want to piggyback hubs off of a resident’s personal WiFi connection, as you’re taking away from their own dedicated channel, while they may intrude on personal things of your own as well.
The Smart Lock:
Smart door locks that run on a Zigbee, Z-Wave, or Bluetooth protocol can still be wirelessly operated when the hub’s WiFi or cell connectivity goes down. Pretty cool, huh? Batteries will need to be replaced about once a year, but other than that they operate as reliably as a physical lock and key with the added benefit of remote access and automation.
The Smart Thermostat:
Nothing changes the feel of a room more than temperature (with the exception of a rude guest). Sure, it’s a minor inconvenience remembering to manually change the thermostat however many times a day it’s necessary, but it’s inefficient and at times easy to forget. A smart temperature offers elegance and peace of mind.
Smart Bulbs or Switches:
The debate between which route for implementation, bulbs or switches, is better is for another day. Having connected lighting is a powerful visual indicator of automation’s value.
The Voice Assistant:
The big two, Amazon’s Alexa and the Google Home, are the most popular choices. Something we’ve noticed here is that as automations become more seamless, users begin to rely more and more on voice commands.
The other week, we talked about integrating voice assistants into your Smart Apartment suite. Building on the concepts of a previous post, a robust feature is in their ability to customize. Whether it’s a custom Amazon Alexa “skill” or Google Assistant’s “intents,” managers and residents alike can, over time, create commands that suit their needs, wishes, and desires.
Community apps can come with preset commands that cater to the amenities and local surroundings of the apartment building. For instance, a new resident could ask their voice assistant FAQs about community rules like how late the pool stays open or amenity availability like whether or not the recreation room is open. The voice assistant can act as a sort of “automated concierge” that’s reachable 24/7.
Scenes & Routines
Last month we talked about the exciting benefits an automated system can bring into the flow of a WFH schedule, but it obviously doesn’t start there. Automating scenes for personal activities like movie night or a tapas party is a walk in the park with the right software at your fingertips.
What will be more powerful over time, however, is the ability to create automated routines. Within the Episense app, users can edit when they want certain devices to turn on or off, go up or down in temperature, or adjust in brightness or even pigment in the case of smart bulbs. Residents are only limited by their own imaginations when interacting with the same elegant UX interface that they already control the rest of their apartment with.
AI & ML
A mark of true service among smart apartment providers is the overall robustness of their Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML). With Episense’s AI capabilities, the resident’s smart apartment, over time, will learn their preferences and gently start implementing automations to accommodate.
In-Home Automations—Made Easy!
Setting up automated environments in apartment homes is not a simple task, but we hope that with the right direction, software, and devices, it can be easy enough for anyone to operate and automate on their own. After all, this is what we do. Consider this article a primer on what it takes to make automated smart apartments, but it is by no means a full guide or roadmap.
When you’re serious about implementing smart apartment technology at your multifamily properties, we can help.
Interested in offering your residents’ the ability to work, play, live from a smart home? Episense provides developers, owners and operators with smart home solutions and tech-driven amenities that enhance the resident experience and unlock asset value. Schedule a demo today to learn more.