ON THE HORIZON
Lucas Haldeman, CEO of SmartRent, weighed in on a few trends he sees coming to multifamily living spaces.
‘ROLL UP STRATEGY’ One trend Haldeman sees is a “roll up strategy” of consolidating products into one company, rather than each “new whiz bang thing” existing on its own. The end result will be fewer vendors providing more functionality to owners, he said. COWORKING + LIVING As the gig economy changes how people work, Haldeman sees coworking becoming integrated with living spaces. For example, a developer might turn an unused building near multifamily living into a coworking space — keeping it within walking distance adds to the appeal of the living units. Another way property managers might integrate coworking is by adapting underutilized spaces within their complexes. Say a complex’s common area has comfy seating, WiFi and a TV, and it’s often empty. The space could be used for coworking during the day, allowing users to collaborate in the space and give presentations on the big screen — and, using SmartRent access controls, building managers would be able to control and monitor access to the space. GIG ECONOMY INFLUENCE The current model for property maintenance, Haldeman said, is to have a few people on staff to handle general problems and hire for large or specialized work. However, as platforms like SmartRent allow property managers to monitor and preemptively fix problems, it could be possible to outsource jobs as needed “versus just having more bodies on staff driving golf carts around.” INSURANCE The future of insuring multifamily properties could be on the verge of change, Haldeman predicted. New technology allows owners to better protect both residents and property. He said both startups and insurance industry incumbents will have “new, disruptive insurance technology coming down the pike.” POWER CONSUMPTION Haldeman noted that new battery technology is changing the way property owners see the grid. Some are beginning to consider integrating power storage, which could change the way they buy and use power in their buildings. “There are some innovative owners out there and innovative companies that are looking to build that into the base offering,” he said.
apartments introduced him to the multifamily industry. “I really fell in love with it,” he said. In fact, he left the tech scene to become a real estate investor. He owned apartments and self-stor- age, and he managed other peo- ple’s property. “That’s what really gave me the operations experience,” he said. “When you’re the head of leasing and the head of maintenance be- cause you’re the only guy on staff, you certainly get an appreciation for what people are doing every day at apartment communities.” Haldeman moved back into cor- porate roles as chief information and marketing officer for Beazer Pre-Owned Rental Homes before becoming chief technology and marketing officer at Colony Star- wood Homes, which rented sin- gle-family homes — 44,000 of them. Now, as CEO of SmartRent, he ended up with exactly the right mix of skills to bring SmartRent to a market in need of solutions. “As the CTO, the operations team looked to me and said, ‘We real- ly need these homes to be smart homes,’” he said. But at the time, (2014), no solu- tion fit the company’s needs. The platforms weren’t built for man- agers of many properties. One particular pain point was showing properties. In a sprawling city with single-family rentals throughout the metro, Haldeman said leasing consultants were at times driving an hour each way — or more — to show a home to potential renters. “There was no good company that really understood what we did as operators, that understood our business. They were approaching smart homes from the consumer side. … There was no good enter- prise control of smart homes.”
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