How Dwelo and ProdataKey are Providing the Smart Community Experience

BLUFFDALE,UT/SOUTH JORDAN,UT, April 16 - Dwelo, the industry-leading provider of simple, seamless, smart apartments, and ProdataKey (PDK), an innovator of cloud-based networked/wireless access control products and services, have entered into an integration partnership. This partnership will offer owners, managers, and residents a more complete smart community experience by connecting in-unit device management with smart access control for every door in the community. The Dwelo platform currently allows apartment dwellers and managers the ability to control lighting, thermostats, and door locks in the units. With the PDK integration, residents and managers will now be able to control common area access points for entry gates, clubhouses, gyms, and laundry facilities with the same app they use to control and manage their smart apartment.

With the PDK integration every door is internet-connected to Dwelo’s cloud, enabling benefits that enhance security and convenience:

  • Managers can instantly grant and revoke access to residents and vendors from anywhere via the Dwelo app. No special desktop terminal or visits to the lock are necessary.
  • Staff and residents can use the Dwelo app to open doors, which streamlines their access and provides a backup in case they forget their credential.
  • Staff and residents can remotely unlock doors (“buzz” people in) right from the Dwelo app, for easy access to trusted vendors or guest, no convoluted call box required.
  • Managers have access to real-time activity logs in the cloud. No more visiting the lock or downloading a report from the desktop terminal to resolve disputes or identify bad actors.
  • Cloud-to-cloud integration via Dwelo with your property management system keeps your resident rolls in sync.
Dwelo is thrilled to be partnering with such an innovative company as PDK. PDK is a technology leader in the electronic access control space, and Dwelo and its customers are already benefiting from their forward-looking approach to access. The consolidation of smart home control and perimeter and common area access control in one platform is a powerful marriage for multifamily owners. We look forward, with PDK, to crafting more solutions that address the specific needs of multifamily customers.
— Mike Rovito, CEO at Dwelo
PDKs solution has been embraced by customers in the commercial sector for its simple ease of use and platform flexibility. Our wireless and PoE options allow for a cost-effective takeover of legacy equipment while supporting new construction projects with all the benefits derived from leveraging the network. Our mantra, simplicity without compromise, dovetails perfectly with Dwelo’s corporate mission to enhance apartment living through easily accessible IoT technology. Our partnership will bring tangible benefits to all stakeholders involved within the multi-family residential market sector.
— Evan Tree, CEO at ProdataKey

About Dwelo

Dwelo provides simple, seamless, smart apartments to the owners and managers of multifamily communities. Dwelo connects popular smart devices from Z-Wave, Nest, Kwikset, Yale, and others to proprietary mobile and web applications as well as voice platforms like Amazon Echo and Google Home. Dwelo's platform enables residents to enjoy the benefits of a smart home in a rental setting while helping managers run their communities more efficiently.

About ProdataKey

ProdataKey (PDK) is a leading innovator of cloud-based access control products and services. The company’s pdkio cloud platform allows for complete system management and control through any web connected device, with the flexibility of networked, PoE, and its WiMACTM (Wireless Mesh Access Control) technology that communicates wirelessly between doors for up to one mile, saving up to 75% over traditional wired systems. For more information, visit www.prodatakey.com

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Dwelo + Yardi: A Manager’s Best Friend

Dwelo is now better for property managers! At Dwelo, we are dedicated to improving the experience that owners, property managers, and residents have with our smart apartments. As we listened to feedback from our customers, we knew we could offer them a more streamlined dwelo management experience. With that focus, we are excited to announce the Dwelo + Yardi integration!  

Streamlining resident turnover in Dwelo

With Dwelo smart apartments, residents get a simpler, higher standard of living. But now with our Yardi integration, so do property managers. Yardi + Dwelo allows you to simplify your operations by automatically syncing residents as they move in and out. This eliminates the need for double entering resident information and ensures that residents have the right access at the right time.

Not a Yardi user?

Don't worry! Dwelo is committed to simplifying operations at every community and is working on full integrations with every major property management software.

“Alexa, make my apartment smarter.”

Dwelo + Alexa: A magical pair

At Dwelo, our mission is to make living and working in rental housing more magical, efficient, and connected. We are excited to announce another step towards that mission. Dwelo is now integrated with Amazon Alexa!

Dwelo residents can now pair their Alexa devices, such as the Amazon Echo and Amazon Show, with the Dwelo platform. After a quick set up, residents can control lights, locks and temperature simply with their voice. Talk about a magical experience!

Abracadabra, here is some magic residents can do with Alexa and Dwelo:

  • "Lock the front door."
  • "Turn on the kitchen light."
  • "Set the thermostat to 72 degrees."
  • "What's the temperature in here?"
  • "What's my thermostat set to?"
  • "Is the front door locked?"

A full list of commands that Alexa understands can be found on Amazon.com

A leasing opportunity

Dwelo + Alexa not only benefits residents but gives communities a competitive edge in attracting those residents.

“Adding an Alexa integration is a huge sales tool for us. It shows that as a property we are forward thinking.” Mike Caplovitz. Vp of Innovation at The Howard Hughes Corporation

Dwelo customers are also leveraging this integration for leasing incentives. Giving away an Amazon Echo can be a low cost alternative to campaigns like “first month free” or discounted rent, when engaging new prospects. Can you say “Alexa, sign more leases for me”?

Interested in Google Home or Apple Homepod voice assistants for your properties? We are working on those integrations as we speak!

5 Ways to Future Proof your Smart Apartment

Implementing smart technology in rental communities can be a bit nerve racking. The investment can be significant, and you are making a choice that must last at least a few years. How do you ensure that your investment won’t be obsolete by the time it is installed? You don’t want to end up like those hotels that installed iPhone chargers in their rooms, only to learn 18 months later that Apple was changing their charger connection.

Technology undoubtedly changes rapidly, but following a few simple rules can help you stay ahead of the game and ease your nerves. Here are 5 ways to future proof your investment.

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1. Lay a Good Connectivity Foundation

The backbone of all smart technology is connectivity. The devices you are installing need to talk to the internet. So before you even start thinking about the devices you’ll put in, you’ll want to think about how you will address connectivity. During new construction the opportunity is there to address this for today and the future. For example, if you’re pulling one CAT5 ethernet cable to a unit, you should pull multiple even if you’re not sure you’ll need them - the only cost difference is the wire itself. You might even, for more high-end projects, want to run fiber. " Every MDU and Commercial project we have in the development stage today is being architected with fiber optic based service delivery to every unit. Today’s fiber optic technology can scale up to 1 Terabit of throughput and is easily capable of delivering data, voice, and video services for decades into the future", says ave Carlson, CEO of Summit Technologies, a provider of connectivity infrastructure. 

Regardless, the number one thing you should absolutely positively do if you cannot justify pulling extra wires now: oversize your conduit and run it to every single unit. Pulling wires without conduit is extremely expensive, but simply putting conduit in place can make that a substantially less costly investment if you can’t get yourself to pull the trigger today on extra wires.

2. Invest in Open Platforms

Innovation and technology moves exceptionally fast. Buying into a proprietary or semi proprietary system leaves you tethered to the innovation capabilities and advances of one company. This is a dangerous place to be. You are better off partnering with an open platform that excels at integrating and adapting the best others. That platform will give you access to the full innovation of the market and allow you to build onto that platform. A hallmark of this is an open API and cloud-to-cloud integrations with a range of partners.“We’ve invested in an open API, which is unique in our line of work, because we believe our partners will do really interesting things with the data from our smart metering system. We make cutting edge hardware, but they’re better able to come up with user-facing software innovations because they are closest to their customers,” says Mike Clements, CEO of NextCentury Submetering. 

When it comes to consumer devices, an even greater level of openness is required around the communication protocols. Lutron has an open API AND makes top of the line lighting hardware, but they have their own proprietary communication protocols, which limits the devices that can connect to their hub. Going with a platform that is capable of speaking multiple protocols means you have access to a far larger universe of devices. Furthermore, you will be able to add devices over time that speak different protocols to the same units without having to replace the communications hub you already invested in or add a second hub.

3. Invest in Truly Connected Devices

Just as important as choosing an open platform is investing in truly connected devices. Some platforms or devices are semi-connected or more offline than online. Think about “data on card” lock solutions like those offered in hotels - the locks themselves are not connected to the internet, with the data carried on the card.This is often referred to as a “sneakernet” because your sneakers are moving the data! If your devices aren’t connected, you will miss out on some cool innovations. 

“Without real-time or connected locks, not only can software or firmware updates from the manufacturer not make it to the device very easily, but you are completely cut off from innovative integrations from third party software vendors,”
— Evan Tree, CEO of ProdataKey, a cloud-based commercial access provider.

Take for example Amazon Key. Amazon Key allows packages to be safely delivered by granting delivery personnel access into a home, but it only works with a connected lock. Unconnected or partially connected solutions, while often a great leap over “dumb” technology, will ultimately leave you stuck with last decade’s feature set.

4. Choose Timeless Designs

With all the changing tech in our homes and apartments we often miss that at the heart of these devices is mechanical or electrical functionality that doesn’t change that much. Devices primarily function to turn on or off, lock or unlock, and heat or cool. Look at Nest - the fundamental function of the actual hardware device has changed almost not at all since their first version nearly a decade ago; aside from software updates, they’ve really only changed the colors. And light switches are subject to even less change over time. The fact is that the innovation is in the software and in the cloud. Because of this, you should resist the temptation to make a statement with device designs. If you pick something that says “modern” today, it might say “dated” tomorrow. With a timeless design, a device that is open and connected will stay relevant for a much longer time.

5. Give Your Residents Choice

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There is a constant battle being waged by consumer tech giants and smart tech is a front in that war. Don’t pick sides where you can avoid it. If something is in the walls, well, you’re forced to make a choice. “Luckily, very few people have brand preferences for light switches and locks - after all, they have pretty basic functionality when you think about it,” says Mike Rovito, CEO of Dwelo, “but certain devices, such as virtual personal assistance or voice controllers essentially dictate which tech world someone is living in.” Google Home, Amazon Echo, and Apple Homepod are all devices that work better if you are personally invested in the associated ecosystem, such as iPhones if you have a Homepod, or Android devices if you have a Google Home. Invest in platforms that allow your residents to choose the products that they want in a category like voice controllers. Avoid pre-installing devices that make that choice for them. This doesn’t mean you can’t buy and advertise the latest in voice controller tech; if you want to provide a voice controller for residents, offer it to them as a move-in gift or a leasing incentive and let them choose, which one.

Not so scary after all, right? Implementing a smart apartment doesn’t have to be hard, and it won’t be, as long as you start with a good plan and the right tools. The key takeaway? Choose devices and platforms that are open and connected. Do that and you will stay nimble and avoid the iPhone charger trap.

What is a Smart Apartment?

As a rental housing professional, you’ve probably heard the term Smart Apartment by now. The concept earned an entire segment at the strategy sessions at this year’s National Multifamily Housing Council Annual Meeting. And the National Apartment Association ran an article this January touting the smart home as a top technology priority in 2018. Owners have, for awhile now, leveraged smart technology to manage rentals more efficiently. What is novel about this recent push around Smart Apartments is that it is primarily driven by resident interest and is signaling a new era of tech-enabled amenities.

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According to PlumChoice’s IoT Adoption Benchmark Report, 86% of all renters have at least one smart device, which is up from less than 20% in just 2015.

Resident’s rapid adoption of smart home technology is forcing owners’ hands. A huge driver of that has been the adoption of voice controllers such as Amazon Echo and Google Home. Those voice controllers work best when they control smart home devices such as light switches, thermostats, and locks to simplify everyday tasks. With most of the most common smart home devices being installed right in the wall, owners are increasingly responsible for providing a technology layer to their residents that complements their already connected lifestyle.

What is a smart apartment?

A Smart Apartment is a rental unit that is outfitted with common smart home technology such that it can be easily connected to a resident’s preferred mobile phone or voice controller upon move in and disconnected upon move out. The most common smart home devices employed by consumers today are:

  • Smart locks that allow residents to remotely lock and unlock the door, monitor door status and activity history, and receive notifications about lock activity

  • Smart thermostats that allow residents to remotely control comfort settings and save energy through automations

  • Smart lights and outlets that enable residents to enjoy convenience

There are of course a thousand other devices from smart TVs to smart blinds to connected cameras. The above represent the core of any smart home, with an emphasis on those devices that have to come with the unit because they are built into the walls.

There are a few key additional concepts that that make a smart home into a Smart Apartment. First, a Smart Apartment must be able to unify the devices that come with the unit with those devices such as voice controllers that a resident commonly brings themselves. Second, a Smart Apartment requires enterprise features that facilitate the relatively rapid turnover of rental housing and the many stakeholders, such as maintenance teams, who have a need for the control and data provided by smart home devices. Finally, a Smart Apartment must cater to the wide range of technological capabilities that will walk through the door of a leasing office: a dead simple solution is critical.

The value for residents

Residents value Smart Apartments for a number of reasons. First, residents value the security and peace of mind offered by smart homes. Connected locks provide the ability to lock the door remotely, see who is coming and going, and ensure that the people who should be able to get in such as visitors and vendors can do so with ease. Finally, smart locks provide redundant forms of entry beyond a simple keyed lock, which has led to a 40% reduction in lockouts according to a survey of 50 managers at our communities.

Smart homes also provide the ability to manage comfort while minimizing utility costs. Nest claims that owners see on average a 10-15% drop in utility costs across both their heating and cooling bills. Perhaps equally as valuable to some: the ability to ensure comfort by having the air conditioning or heating running before they come home or roll out of bed.

In that same vein, convenience is another major driver. While lights and outlets might not pack quite the same energy-saving punch (though they do save at the margins), they can provide a more satisfying and exciting response to remote commands. Residents are able to move about the house verbalizing light on and off commands and watch the space respond to their whims. Lights are the most used technology device in the entire house, providing a frequent point of engagement for residents with their Smart Apartment.

The value for owners

That all sounds fun, right? But what’s it matter for the bottom line?

Smart Apartments create an opportunity for forward-thinking owners to capture premiums and to position their product in the marketplace. A resident survey Dwelo performed puts this in perspective: residents prefer Smart Apartments to gyms and pools and put Smart Apartments on par with updated kitchens. If a unit has these features and its comps don’t, it creates a strong differentiator for an owner’s product. For new construction it seems like a near no-brainer; furthermore, our retrofit communities have seen consistent premiums and many have seen enhanced lease rates from putting in these devices on turn. And while this discussion focuses on Smart Apartments as an amenity, if deployed properly, owners can see significant operational savings and risk reduction from these rollouts, as well.

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Technology continues to evolve and disrupt industries; rental housing is no different. With residents living increasingly connected lifestyles and rapidly adopting smart devices, owners need to facilitate their residents choices by employing complimentary technology in the walls of their communities. This creates opportunities and challenges, but owners are increasingly faced with the inevitable reality that they are technology providers, too, now.