Hi-Tech Smart Apartment Development

15 Replies

Hey Everyone!

We're rehabbing a 54-unit building in Detroit and are planning to outfit the entire building with smart devices.  Some of these devices includes smart fuses, dimmers, locks, sensors, curtains, and thermostats.  Detroit is a very tech-forward/ 'first adopter' type of city and we believe that young career professionals will appreciate the comfort and convenience that is synonymous with smart home automation.  There are a few technical hurdles with managing nearly 1,000 devices in an apartment building, however we're pretty optimistic that it can be done.

I'm curious to know if anyone on this platform ever deployed smart devices in a large apartment building. Or, perhaps have experience with Tuya-powered smart devices and/or Leviton smart circuit breakers. I'm sure there are a few gotchas that we are overlooking. Thanks for sharing your experiences!

Best,

Ed

I have no experience in putting smart devices in apartment buildings, but I love what you are doing. We invest in Detroit and are excited for the future of the area, and you are on point with this project plan. 

I’ve deployed such devices personally but not at scale. One thing to remember is these devices (most of them) will require strong internet connections. If you’re providing them you’ll also need to maintain the connection. Also think about when someone moves out. How and who is resetting the devices so they previous tenet doesn’t still have control over them. This may have been solved with commercial grade equipment. 

Personally I would prefer to deploy my own smart devices as I would prefer to choose the brand and software used to control the devices. But that’s just me.

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Thanks for the awesome feedback Cody!  Great point about the network availability- we decided to wire the entire building with Cat6 and will be installing commercial-grade networking gear throughout the building.   For smart devices, we decided to go with Tuya because of their open API platform.  We're planning to roll-in a custom mobile app for the building to give tenants control of their own smart devices while allowing management to easily reset permissions and remove access on tenant move-out.

Have you ever tinkered with Tuya smart devices? 

@Lynn Milos thanks for the support! Detroit definitely has an exciting future ahead- earlier this month was the official grand opening of the Kahn Apartments downtown Detroit by the Fisher building- 206 units/ $70M. Would love to learn more about what your team is doing!

@Ed Fowler hi Ed. We are a turnkey company- we buy distressed homes, rehab, put a tenant in place and sell to REI who want cashflow and a solid investment. We work with great local teams. Great potential. Great upside. I am watching what is happening in Detroit and vicinity. The rebirth is very exciting! We are in 4 markets, this is our newest.

Originally posted by @Ed Fowler :

@Lynn Milos Nice! Sounds like a solid business model. Detroit definitely has a large inventory of distressed homes. I wish you guys continued success.  

Yes there are a lot!  Keeps our acquisitions team busy.  We are quite particular - we have a model that works well for us and we are more in the outskirts of the city.  Leaving downtown to companies like you.  Pls send pix when you are done. Love to see it!

Originally posted by @Drew Sygit :

@Ed Fowler it'd be cool to tour your building when it's just about done and see how all this works out for you:)

Sure thing @Drew Sygit! We're looking to be completed by Q2 2022.  Maybe we can invite @Lynn Milos also and schedule a tour :) It'll definitely be better than just seeing pictures!

I love to see other investors building up Detroit! I have not used smart devices beyond a home setting, but my boyfriend does live in a building that utilizes a service app called Alfred. It's not in the device use segment, but is another appealing possibility for your high-end tenants.

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Originally posted by @Ed Fowler :

@Alicia Marks thanks for the input! I remember when Alfred launched a few years back as a concierge service for renters. Looks like they picked-up a lot traction. Do you guys use the app daily/weekly/ monthly?  

He has only had it during Covid, so it's hard to tell. Many of their concierge services such as turn down or delivering packages into your apartment are on hold for now. He does use the door delivery service every other week or so. It is also linked to their Amazon pickup boxes, so he uses that more often. 

Originally posted by @Alicia Marks :
Originally posted by @Ed Fowler:

@Alicia Marks thanks for the input! I remember when Alfred launched a few years back as a concierge service for renters. Looks like they picked-up a lot traction. Do you guys use the app daily/weekly/ monthly?  

He has only had it during Covid, so it's hard to tell. Many of their concierge services such as turn down or delivering packages into your apartment are on hold for now. He does use the door delivery service every other week or so. It is also linked to their Amazon pickup boxes, so he uses that more often. 

@Alicia Marks that makes sense! The integration with Amazon pickup boxes sounds like a cool feature.