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Proptech is making a significant impact on the way people rent, buy, sell and manage property, especially in the coliving sector. Major tech trends, such as the Internet of Things (IoT), cloud platforms and artificial intelligence (AI) have combined to transform the way the sector operates, and whether that’s enabling buildings to operate more efficiently, boost sustainability or improve the living experience in general, it’s bringing some important benefits.
Across the worldwide property sector, exciting new technologies are helping improve the quality of life, security and safety for individuals and families alike. Innovations such as smarter video surveillance, for instance, are playing an important role in building community cohesion, with the growing coliving movement becoming a prime example of how PropTech can deliver important benefits across society as it continues to evolve.
What is coliving?
Coliving combines private and communal living spaces that share resources and benefit from a supportive community. In doing so, it can address multiple needs, and is seen by advocates as affordable, convenient, and offering more flexibility than traditional forms of housing.
As the cost of accommodation continues to rise, many younger people are finding it prohibitively expensive to get onto the property ladder, particularly in the conventional sense. Of the available alternatives to buying, renting an apartment alone can feel isolating, and sharing with others can be challenging and unreliable. In contrast, coliving spaces provide a ready-made community. Key overheads – such as maintenance – are included in rent and taken care of by building owners.
For example, PropTech is enabling building entrance systems with touchless entryways and innovative ventilation systems to improve convenience and quality of life. And given the events of the past 18 months, people living in shared spaces are perhaps more focused than ever on their health and wellbeing, as well as their safety.
The rise of smart video surveillance
Once seen as an add-on to building design, video surveillance and access control are now becoming increasingly important elements of the PropTech movement. Cloud-based video surveillance services in particular are helping coliving locations improve communal spaces for their tenants beyond the limitations of traditional on-premises surveillance.
These smart technologies effectively act as super-sensors that can monitor activity and other important changes in a given environment. Analysing this data in real-time and exchanging the data via an open API – with, for instance, a facility management platform – allows users to react to circumstances right away. Video recordings can also be retained and evaluated at a later date.
In contrast, video surveillance data stored on-premises is typically only accessed after a security incident, such as a break-in. Beyond that, investments made in cameras and storage systems generally do not deliver additional benefits for the business owner.
Some much needed modernisation
Applying cloud technology to the video surveillance process has brought much-needed modernisation that more effectively meets the needs of people living in coliving environments and those managing the buildings overall. For instance, remote management delivers the ability to modify, adjust and manage the surveillance system without anyone needing to be present at the site. Remote monitoring automatically alerts operators to any problems, such as an equipment fault or failure.
What’s more, in a coliving environment, a cloud-based video surveillance system can help operators to understand how tenants use the shared space, and implement changes to benefit them. For example, it can show operators which communal spaces are frequented the most and at what times, including areas such as the laundry room or gym where space might be limited. By using AI to analyse the video, operators can understand the limitations – and benefits – of the way spaces are designed, which can then be used to design better coliving spaces in the future.
This data could potentially also be shared with third-party systems via seamless cloud-based integration like a Tenant Engagement platform to improve coliving tenants’ experiences. For instance, this platform enables tenants to check out public areas, such as a facility’s rooftop bar, to determine if it’s too busy – or not busy enough!
With personal well-being of particular concern at the moment, cameras can also play an important role by identifying, for instance, if someone is wearing a face mask as they enter a building. Similarly, thermal cameras are another tool to screen people for an elevated temperature before they even enter a communal space, providing initial screening, so that individuals with potentially adverse readings can be checked manually for other symptoms or possibly be recommended for a test.
While coliving is not a new phenomenon, what makes today’s growth different is the exciting range of rapidly developing technologies being implemented to improve shared environments for tenants. Property owners who can implement systems that optimise the safety, security and wellbeing of their tenants will be ideally placed to create the most desirable spaces for current and future generations.
Rishi Lodhia is the managing director EMEA of Eagle Eye Networks. Lodhia fosters the growth of Eagle Eye Networks across the world and is a strong believer in creating a fast-paced organizational culture where people are empowered to get the most out of themselves and the business. Prior to this role, Lodhia disrupted the industry when he co-founded and served as CEO of CameraManager, one of the world’s first cloud-based video surveillance platforms. In 2013, CameraManager was acquired by Panasonic.