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Smart tech comes standard in Orlando ‘apartment of the future’

Smart technology has proliferated so fast that more than half of the homes in the U.S. have at least one smart device, such as an Amazon Echo or Google Home Dot. A new tech partnership is looking to expand that reach even more in apartment communities.

Samsung this week announced a partnership to integrate smart devices with tech company CommScope’s Ruckus network, which allows landlords and property to have connected smart technology throughout their buildings.

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At the Oasis at Moss Park on the east side of Lake Nona, every unit comes standard with smart devices, managed through a single app for residents. Apartments also include WiFi access.

“Welcome to the apartment of the future,” said Anna Hoang, vice president of sales and client relations for iQuue, which developed the management software for the technology at Oasis.

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New residents to the complex, which opened in 2020, will notice a difference from the moment they sign a lease. “Any resident moving in won’t get physical keys,” Hoang said. Instead, door locks are managed through the app.

Door locks were one of the operational challenges to bringing smart tech to apartments, said Jonathan Rivera, co-founder of iQuue.

“How do you put a smart door lock on a door that has turnover?” he said. “You don’t want a system where, every time someone leaves, you have to send technicians in to reset everything.”

The answer, according to Rivera, was a single network for management and residents.

Mark Grodzinsky, vice president of technology at CommScope, said the issues with rolling this kind of tech out to multifamily is related to how developers have traditionally treated apartments.

The Oasis at Moss Park Preserve on Thursday, March 3, 2022. The tech-heavy apartment complex in Orlando includes built in smart technology that residents can control from their smart phones.

“The way the technology moved from single-family to multifamily treated multifamily as a bunch of single-family homes next to each other,” he said. “There’s great benefit to a much more broad management solution.”

Technology is a chief attractor for new residents, Grodzinsky said. “Residents [in typical apartments] set up their WiFi networks before they set up their beds,” he said. “The transition happening here is that you walk in, you look at your phone, it’s all already here.”

In addition to the locks, Oasis residents have temperature control and lights connected to the app, and apartments come with smart appliances like refrigerators that let you see what’s inside them on your phone and can send alerts about your milk or cheese running low or even about expiration dates approaching.

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The Oasis features 1, 2 and 3-bedroom apartments, running between $1,698 and $2,430 per month. Rivera said developers are able to charge $20-$50 more per unit with integrated smart technology, at a cost of around $1,000 per unit installation.

Residents are also able to purchase more smart devices and integrate them into the complex’s network.

While residents may enjoy convenient technology, the system also aids the management company.

“It’s more than lights and locks,” Grodzinsky said. Property managers, for example, will be able to set thermostats in unoccupied apartments to keep energy costs low.

Matt Mercado, a maintenance worker at the Oasis, said the network has made his job easier.

“It will send out alerts and notifications when some things need attention,” he said. “It really helps with the preventative maintenance we do.”

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Want to reach out? Email tfraser@orlandosentinel.com. Follow TIFraserOS on Twitter.


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