the building to come visit you.” The system also includes facial recognition, which is “totally volun- tary,” he said. If activated, residents would only have to look at the camera to gain access and wouldn’t need a fob. Haldeman said he uses the facial recognition at his office. “It’s great. You can never forget your fob because if you’re wearing your head, you can get in,” he joked. SmartRent also has more deeply integrated common area access con- trol into its system. By making sure all aspects of the database are connect- ed, the system can better keep track of whose credentials should expire when they move out, rescinding access to pools, gyms, or parking. “It all works in harmony to really understand who and what is at your property,” Haldeman said. Pilot programs in university housing have allowed SmartRent to enter new a new market sector while challenging the team to inte- grate with systems already in place, such as using student IDs as entry

credentials. Haldeman said his goal is to play nicely with legacy systems rather than try to force institutions to change. “Since we have a really flexible platform and we’re really good at integrating, that opens up doors for us,” he said. A BADWORD Even as SmartRent rolls out new features, competitors across the country continue to pop up. Halde- man isn’t bothered in the least. “It’s flattering that people are following us. I think they see we’re getting traction. They understand what’s missing, but we’re still out ahead of that,” he said. “We feel peo- ple nipping at our heels, but we’re innovators at heart. We’re looking to solve more problems for people.” Its multifaceted solutions set SmartRent apart. Without the platform, residents might have to download five or six different apps to access the same smart home features that SmartRent offers.

“That just doesn’t seem smart to me — that seems crazy,” he said. Haldeman keeps an eye on emerging technologies with an aim to partner with or even acquire new tools. One of his driving principles is that tech solutions in the indus- try should work together. He sees standalone solutions causing “ven- dor fatigue.” “Our view is ‘proprietary’ is a bad word and doesn’t help the owners, so everything we do needs to be open and flexible,” he said. “You should win customers based on product innovation and customer service and not on locking someone into a proprietary system they can’t get out of.” To that end, SmartRent has inte- grated Amazon’s Ring doorbell into its platform. That means residents don’t have to visit a separate Ring ac- count — they can see visitors, unlock the door and review their video histo- ry all within SmartRent’s platform. CONSTANT INNOVATION Although SmartRent keeps its focus on the industry’s future, potential disruption to the business model is never far from Halde- man’s mind. “Being someone who loves tech- nology, if you’re not thinking about that, you should be,” he said. “I think there are a lot of new and innovative things coming. The way we insulate against being made obsolete is by continuing to innovate. We’re looking at a lot of interesting things launch- ing—if we weren’t embracing them, they could be very big threats to us, but we’re going to go the opposite route and embrace and adapt and change and constantly evolve to re- ally create the best platform and the best solution.” •

Katie Bean is a writer in Kansas City, Mo., who loves to tell the stories of businesses and leaders.

SmartRent installation team

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