Apartment hunting is never fun. Many apartment shoppers may find that the only apartments available are the size of a shoe box, are missing major appliances or are too far from any form of transportation. Then of course, there are the apartments that are too close to the nearest train.
However, as more tech gadgets like home devices continue to enter the market, apartment shoppers may want to add one more thing to their must-have wish list — a smart apartment.
We have all heard of the Internet- and smartphone-connected devices like smart locks that allow the user to remotely lock and unlock their doors. Home owners can also remotely adjust the temperature in their house, letting their pets cool off on a hot summer day, and turn the lights on and off while they are away to prevent potential vandalism to the house while they are away on vacation.
However, integrating tech into the home is just a dream for some apartment owners, mostly because they need permission from the building owner to change the locks at their place or they don't bother playing around with wires when their lease is about to expire.
However, smart metering and billing company NWP might be able to make smart apartments a reality — well, at least sometime in the near future. The company is about to start testing smart technology to be integrated in apartments such as connected lights, smart locks and thermostats throughout some of its apartment complexes in California and Florida.
There are two reasons why apartment complex owners may want to feature smart devices in their units: one being that they can potentially cut costs when it comes to utility bills and secondly because the technology may be in such a high demand in the future that owners will be able to charge renters more for these luxury amenities.
While renters would be able to lower the temperature on the thermostats via a smartphone app, integrating the technology will save apartment building owners money, too, since they can also lower or turn off thermostats when tenants move out.
No longer will a landlord have to be disturbed in the middle of the night after a tenant rings the bell or calls them to let them in since they lost a key. Smart locks would not only be more convenient, but they would also save them money in costs to repair or change locks or make a spare key.
Sure, connected lights that turn on automatically at night might increase electric bills, but NWP is still trying to find a cost effective reason for equipping apartment units with them.
There is also talk for connected smoke alarms and moisture sensors that would serve as extra safety measures so renters can rest without worry when they lay their heads on the pillow.
Of course, however, there will have to be technical support on call to help renters who encounter hiccups in the technology.
Creating these smart apartments is not too far off from the company's wheelhouse. Previously, it introduced utility meters for individual apartment units that landlords could use to see how much electricity, water and gas each individual unit uses so that they could charge appropriately.
As technology becomes more and more integrated into our everyday lives, it only makes sense that our homes — and apartments — become smart, too.
Photo: Scott Lewis | Flickr