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In the world of PropTech, IoT benefits go beyond financial

Desiree Carter, Director of IoT Smart Cities with Rogers, believes we need to expand what we think of as ROI

Top of buildings with gardens on top

How do you reimagine ROI for multifamily real estate investment in a changing world? When considering implementing new technologies in buildings, the top-of-mind questions are usually around return on investment (ROI). This tends to result in discussions focused on the sorts of efficiencies achieved by leveraging the Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI)-based analysis to gain better insights into things like energy, water and climate control.

To be sure, these are important discussions worth having. Owners of apartment buildings, condominiums and townhouses are already enjoying significant bottom-line gains from mainstream IoT technologies, like occupancy monitoring and air quality sensors. But for those willing to dip a little deeper into the connected technology well, more benefits await.

That was the message from Desiree Carter, Director of IoT Smart Cities with Rogers, who sat as a panelist at the second annual PropTech Summit, held virtually in November by Eddy Solutions. She argues  that traditional ROI is important, but there is also as return on innovation. And she outlined three fundamental factors that drive this kind of ROI.

#1 – Sustainability

Sustainability isn't just a checkbox to be ticked. In today's world, it's a fundamental responsibility assumed by everyone, including property owners, operators and tenants.

But it's also an opportunity.

"Connected technologies provide ways our industry can be impactful and provide support to scale effort around sustainability," said Desiree. IoT devices and AI can remotely monitor, analyze and even make decisions that will instantly improve a building's carbon footprint and conserve resources. And with buildings accounting for nearly 40 per cent of global C02 emissions, every bit helps.

"No matter what industry you're in these days, how you approach sustainability definitely influences how people view your business." In other words, sustainability is a means of improving the attractiveness of a property to potential tenants. Which leads to the next factor…

#2 – Striving to be better

IoT can provide the advantage your property needs to stand out. And being able to prove that your property as environmentally sustainable is just part of it.

"How do we beat the competition?" asked Desiree. "How do we improve efficiencies in our buildings? How do we improve efficiencies in our solutions, or whatever we're doing?"

Figuring out new ways to improve a building's immediate and long-term appeal is a crucial piece of the competitive puzzle, and connected technologies—such as Eddy's water monitoring solution, which detects building leaks almost instantly and can shut down flow just as quickly, potentially saving thousands of dollars in damages and avoiding tenant inconvenience—can provide meaningful benefits that may not be immediately apparent when simply looking at the books.

#3 – Digital Capability

The final factor in Desiree's return on innovation formula is how it all comes together. If you can get the various connected devices and technologies to communicate with each other and present a unified interface to users—both building operators and tenants—then you can truly unlock the full power of IoT in PropTech.

"Gone are the days of just one solution," she explained. "It's how we connect one solution into other platforms so that everything is on that one, single pane of glass." Doing this makes it much easier and more attractive to continue to add and take advantage of new innovations as they arrive, which in turn will continue to improve efficiencies and sustainability, drive down costs, and make for a better customer experience.

"When we're driving for return on an innovation, we have to look at things holistically, not just one specific technology, as we may have before."

For more insights from panels at the second annual PropTech Summit, check out our overview of the event as well as why 5G is providing the backbone for smart city development. In the meantime, contact a Rogers for Business representative to find out how we can help your organization become part of the property technology revolution.