Tuesday, November 19, 2013
According to statistics put forth by MC Marketing Charts, college students own, on average, seven tech devices. Nine out of ten say they use their wireless devices while watching TV, almost half of which say they do so daily. The way that people use their televisions, computers, and phones is changing. This is especially true for college students, and even more so for students living in multi-family housing. In today’s world, entertainment, learning, collaboration, communication, and organization can all happen through wireless devices. These devices all require the internet, and students want their internet to be wireless.
College students living in today’s world have grown up experiencing the extraordinarily fast paced technology evolution that has now become mainstream. So, they see technology as a tool to be used, and they expect it to work. Having a dependable Wi-Fi connection throughout a residence is crucial.
From laptops and tablets to cell phones and iPods, today’s students are connected in virtually every way. Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking sites like LinkedIn, Google+ and Pinterest keep them in touch, and almost all of those sites are accessible on wireless devices. So, it would not be uncommon for one student to be checking Instagram on his or her smart phone, doing research on the internet, Facebook chatting with a friend and streaming Spotify on a laptop or iPad all at the same time.
In addition, people are changing the way they watch television. According to Statistic Brain, there are 29.2 million Netflix subscribers, and 2 billion hours have been logged streaming Netflix over high speed internet connections. Students especially love Netflix. This creates another demand for a wireless network to be available. It is feasible in a student housing scenario to expect any one of the occupants renting the unit to be streaming video in the living room while the other roommates are streaming video on their laptops.
The bottom line is that students want dependable Wi-Fi, and in multi-family student housing, the Wi-Fi needs are multiplied. Imagine if a five story building with 100 beds per floor was at 100% occupancy, and every student was streaming video on their laptop while surfing the web on their iPad at the same time. That would add up to be 1,000 wireless devices pulling from the available Wi-Fi network simultaneously. Engineering the network to be able to handle the demands of the residents for today and also tomorrow is where InfiniSys comes in.
Students have a lot to do, and they use their wireless devices to get it done. The engineers and designers at InfiniSys are diligent in designing each property to be technologically functional. Wi-Fi is a big part of that because students consider it to be more of a necessity than a luxury, and having it means that more students will be interested in renting. Every property owner wants to have 100% occupancy of their buildings, and InfiniSys has the expertise, foresight, and reputation to design the technology systems that the potential residents want. That’s what they do best, now and in the future.
Tuesday, November 05, 2013
SkyBell™ (formerly known as iDoorCam) and SKYCAM let you keep an eye on your home from your mobile devices.
With SkyBell, the doorbell is finally getting an upgrade. As the lifestyles’ of many people become more and more mobile, SkyBell caters to the travelling masses by letting them answer the front door from almost anywhere in the world.
SkyBell works by connecting to your home’s WiFi, so that when somebody rings your doorbell, you can answer the door from any of your WiFi enabled mobile devices. You can then choose to see, hear or speak to whoever is at your door from your mobile device. Or, if you are busy, you can simply choose to ignore the call. The device also offers a unique “Do Not Disturb Mode” that will mute the sound of your home’s doorbell in the event that you are home, but do not wish to be bothered. Maybe you work from home and do not wish to be disturbed; perhaps the baby is sleeping; or maybe you’re deep into a nostalgic Breaking Bad Netflix marathon.
Whether or not you are at home, SkyBell gives you the ability to answer the front door from wherever you are. It is fully equipped with both a day and night vision camera. It also has a speaker, microphone and motion sensor.
The motion sensor is an especially interesting feature, because it provides the ability to receive front-door alerts on your mobile devices, whether or not the person at your door actually rings the doorbell. If the motion detector picks up movement, then you will get an alert, and be able to see what’s happening at your front door. This could be useful whether you’re keeping an eye on things while your child is home alone or wondering if FedEx dropped off that package you’ve been waiting for. Or perhaps your friend is old-fashioned and still knocks on doors.
Your SkyBell feed can be received over WiFi, 3G and 4G and is compatible with both iOS and Android mobile devices. The SkyBell free mobile app is available for iOS and Android as well.
If SkyBell goes mainstream, it seems plausible, if not probable, that apartment buildings would forego the antiquated, Seinfeld-era buzzer system in favor of this modern alternative.
By expanding on the SkyBell platform, SKYCAM was born. SKYCAM is a wireless surveillance and monitoring video camera that uses Skype as the DNS server (which means no monthly DNS fees). The uses for SKYCAM are endless. You can monitor your home or office or keep an eye on your pet, use it as a baby monitor or a front door video phone, monitor any corner of the house, call your loved ones when you’re away from home or talk to parents, grandparents and other relatives even without a PC.
Like SkyBell, the user can access SKYCAM’s surveillance stream from their mobile device. SKYCAM is also equipped with night-vision capabilities, and is compatible with Android, Apple iOS, Windows, Linux and any other device that supports the Skype app.
Learn more about these products at:
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
How nice would it be to have the ability to recharge your mobile devices without all of the hassle of today’s “power hunt?” It is just that thought that lead Cota by Ossia [http://www.ossiainc.com] founder Hatem Zeine to put his background as a physicist to work to solve this problem. And, he actually may have done it.
In a recent article on TechCrunch (http://techcrunch.com/2013/09/09/cota-by-ossia-wireless-power/), Zeine discusses his work on the technology that will allow battery-powered devices to be charged —wirelessly — from a distance of 30 feet. He has successfully tested the concept that uses the same frequencies currently used by wifi communication.
The project has been in the works for over 10 years now, and Zeine has quietly raised $3.2 million to support his endeavor over the last decade. Now, Zeine is finally ready to reveal his brainchild to the world, which he showcased for the first time in a live demo at Disrupt.
TechCrunch Disrupt, which took place last month in San Francisco, is one of the most highly anticipated tech conferences of the year.
Commercial versions of Cota by Ossia’s technology will be shipping in a few months with consumer products scheduled to be available by 2015. Much like Ethernet cables gave way to wireless internet, it seems that Zeine’s new technology is poised to eventually eliminate outlet charging in favor of a wireless option.
The implications of this new technology for multifamily housing developers could be significant. In this age of hyper-convenience, having a dead battery bring your day to a halt is unacceptable. Creating a haven for power for residents who can go about their routines — never stopping to charge — means a change in lifestyle that is sure to get the attention of residents.
Zeine is endeavoring to “… eliminate the concept of ‘charging’ as a conscious act altogether.” With this lofty goal becoming a reality, developers and property managers need to begin to incorporate this technology into their low-voltage infrastructure and planning.
Friday, October 04, 2013
Cloud based VoIP services are becoming the new normative for leasing office and other business phone services at multifamily properties.
Over the past few years, phone companies have been slow to realize and accept that telephone service is no longer a mainstream product. As a result, obtaining and moving phone service from construction trailers and temporary leasing facilities to permanent leasing offices is more of a challenge for property owners than it needs to be. Telephone and cable companies now view Internet service as their primary product, followed by video with traditional voice phone service a very distant third. Alternatives for replacing traditional phone services are emerging though, as properties rely on the Internet more and more for operations. The size of the Internet pipe feeding properties for residential and office use is both increasing and becoming less costly. Property residents who now rely on their cell phones for voice communication rarely request traditional phone service. When they do, most select services from the cable company, some VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) service from a third party (Vonage or MagicJack), Google voice, Skype or another web based VoIP service.
Many of our customers ask: “How do we meet the requirement for POTS (copper) telephone lines for our fire system”? The NFPA (National Fire Protection Association), which sets the standards for the fire system communicator, has changed NFPA 72 to allow for both Internet and cellular connectivity. Security systems have had UL approval for years to use the Internet or cellular radio to communicate and monitor systems. Elevators and other 911 devices, like Blue Light poles, now have both VoIP and Cellular Radio connectivity.
Today, Multi Family property operators have many choices, each with their own pros and cons. InfiniSys has been transitioning its Customers to VoIP technologies over the last several years. Now, many of the voice services delivered by traditional telephone companies use VoIP technology. Cable companies have been offering their own versions of VoIP for several years as well. In the rebuilding of lower Manhattan after the devastation from Hurricane Sandy, Verizon did not restore copper cabling, electing to use its FiOS technology instead, and now offers its private branded version of VoIP.
So what are the economics of VoIP versus traditional business class telephone service and why do they make the most sense on a project that has bulk Internet service?
- · With conventional phone service, three to four components comprise the operating cost and a select few comprise the capital cost. Operating costs typically range $50 per line per month including taxes, and telephone answering services may add another $50 to $100 per month for the property. Voice and video conferencing may also increase the operating costs. The capital costs are typically a small switch and the cost of the phones. For example, 10 instruments and a switch installation costs under $5,000.
- · An on-property based VoIP switch, which offers all of the same features, may lower operating costs 10-20 percent, but may also have higher upfront costs and typically requires a special circuit.
- · A cloud-based VoIP service uses a small piece of the broadband service to the property and is not tied to the physical location, removing the issue of transferring a phone number from a temporary location to a permanent location. At a basic level, all of the same services as a traditional system are available at about a 50 percent savings per line per month. While the individual phones are more costly, when balancing against the added cost of a phone switch, the end cost is usually a wash. Feature sets such as conferencing, digital white boards, direct inward dialing, forward to cell with one button push, outlook integration, voicemail with forward to email and virtual switchboard may raise the cost as high as $35 per line per month, which still yields significant savings. Even when separate bandwidth is required for operational reasons the separate bandwidth is usually in the range of $5 to $10 per month per device.
Owners should explore and migrate to VoIP to both increase functionality and reduce operating costs at their properties, providing long-term cost savings.
Copyright 2013 InfiniSys, Inc. All rights reserved.
Thursday, September 26, 2013
If you rent, you do so because you can’t afford a home. Or, you are just too young, and have no desire to own a home at this point in your life. It is a misconception to think that these are the only – or even the most common – reasons for renting.
In a recent article picked up by the “Capital Business” section of The Washington Post, Tom Bozzuto, CEO of The Bozzuto Group, explains how the profile of today’s renter has changed along with the times.
“This is no longer the fifties,” Bozzuto says. “Many people rent in America as a matter of choice, not necessity. Many of these people love the flexibility renting provides. Many like that renting allows them to live in places where they couldn’t afford to buy. These people, these renters, are contributing members of the community who hold full-time jobs, spend money, volunteer in their community and vote.”
Bozzuto also points out how the apartment dweller is marginalized in the political realm. With the left focused only on subsidized housing and the right concentrating solely on the single-family home, little or no attention is given to the apartment renter. This political mindset inevitably bleeds over into the private sector and affects the assumptions of the general public, as well.
While renters receive little attention from politicians, they are no small segment of the population. Bozzuto estimates that between 30 and 40 percent of Americans rent.
For those in the industry of building, selling and managing apartments or multifamily housing developments, the “too young, too poor” assumption can be hugely detrimental to your marketing initiatives and can mislead your approach to interacting with potential and current clients. Renters want to be treated with the same respect that potential homeowners receive. And, what they really want is flexibility.
The need for flexibility of today’s renter tends to go beyond just their choice of housing. It is a basic desire for choices, options and possibilities. They want alternatives. They have preferences.
No doubt, this recent craving for choice has been largely fueled by the rapid advancements in personalized and mobile technology. And, for developers of multifamily housing units, no area offers greater opportunities or greater challenges.
It is essential that your development is capable of accommodating the various technological preferences of your renters. Can they choose their preferred service provider? Are your apartment amenities both Mac and PC compatible?
On the flip side, today’s technological capabilities provide an enormous range of ways to wow your potential clients. Between jumbotrons in the pool area, state of the art entertainment rooms and hallways equipped with scent technology and mood lighting, there is no shortage of chances to impress your tenants.
The renters of today are smart. And, they want to live in a Smart ApartmentTM.