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Why Retrofitting Single-Family Smart Home IoT Solutions Doesn't Work for Multifamily
Written by: Cade McNelly
Yes, it’s 2022, and yes lots of retro style from the 70s, 80s, and 90s is back and better than ever. But, that does not mean we should keep using retro technology systems to retrofit smart home automation systems into apartments. Yes, there are ways to make smart apartment solutions with single-family home hardware but you and I both know how clunky and expensive that is.
First, let’s cover what is necessary to install and invest in a smart apartment solution. At a basic hardware level, most residents and property owners are interested in features like smart thermostats and locks. For an IoT system with smart thermostats and locks, the hardware needs a community distributing signals like WiFi or LoRaWAN, and an in-unit hub that receives and distributes that signal out to the smart hardware. Single-family retrofitted solutions and multifamily-specific solutions differ in system layout, mainly by the amount of hardware needed, but we’ll jump into that later.
In a retrofitted solution, since an entire property of technology needs to be connected to a single network like WiFi, an extra piece of hardware is needed to distribute that connection to all individual hardware in a unit. While this particular piece of hardware is necessary for any kind of solution to work, in multifamily-specific systems like Quext, it is built into the thermostat. This means less hardware to purchase up front and less hardware needed in an apartment.
Now, let’s break this down simply. When retrofitting an apartment property with single-family home smart tech it means more hardware to purchase and put into a resident’s unit, more upfront cost, less reliable connection type (like separate, interfering WiFi signals), and unintegrated technology. But, with apartment-specific smart home solutions, property staff and residents deal with less hardware, more reliable connection through non-conflicting wireless signals like LoRaWAN, and make it easy with online management tools.
The moral of the story is smart home automation is a special thing for property owners to put inside peoples’ homes. Don’t use a solution that has used duct tape to piece together something that wasn’t made for apartments!
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