The pandemic forced us all to reset a lot. Our expectations. Our daily habits. Our way of life. And one of the problems this reset is likely going to solve (at least partially) is our unsustainable way of working. Before the pandemic, millions of people climbed into their cars, endured a daily commute lasting from minutes to – in some cases – hours, and then sat in an office with their coworkers, going about their daily duties. That’s all gone out the window. Now, we sit in our sweats (from the waist down) in front of our screens and work from our homes, doing much the same work with much the same people and customers, but in a completely different way.
The effects have been profound. In dozens of major cities around the globe, the air is clearer than it has been in decades. Traffic jams are almost non-existent (OK, there’s always L.A. – stop-and-go at 3AM? Been there.) Now the place we call home is more important than ever. Employers large and small have made work-from-home a permanent status for employees who choose it. The way we collaborate, meet and conduct business has changed forever.
To many, this great reset feels more like a permanent change than temporary and has made connectivity in our homes and apartments more important than ever. We all need faster, more reliable bandwidth to support online work, online learning, online streaming, online shopping and more. Before the pandemic, home internet usage peaked in the early evenings when most residents were at home streaming bandwidth-consuming video. Now, that bandwidth usage is up at all times of the day. With nearly two in ten Americans living in some sort of multi-family setting – usually an apartment or condo – the need for better connectivity in this environment has never been greater.
Not only do residents want better connectivity to be able to do and watch more; they also want their homes to do more for them. App-based environmental and lighting control, better access control, a “smarter” apartment. And apartment building owners need to drive more efficiencies and functionality out of their infrastructure. Better monitoring, enhanced security, a ‘smarter” building.
This is driving a paradigm shift in the way bandwidth gets delivered and distributed to multi-family residential communities. Just a few short years ago, the dominant scenario had each individual resident installing and paying for their own in-apartment Wi-Fi with a separate bill from their internet service provider (ISP). Residents were pretty much on their own. “Bulk Wi-Fi,” where a building owner brought in bandwidth in bulk and then installed a managed Wi-Fi service to cover the entire property, was in the minority. It had slowly begun to change as forward-thinking owners and managers saw the opportunity to not only monetize their offerings but also run more efficient and profitable buildings by leveraging the power of managed Wi-Fi.
The pandemic and resultant work-from-home revolution have accelerated that process. Building owners are now scrambling to improve their Wi-Fi offerings, many for the first time ever. The biggest obstacle has not been technical, but financial, as already stressed building owners and operators search for ways to make the necessary tech investments to not only survive but grow in the face of economic uncertainty. Innovative service providers and equipment manufacturers are finding ways to capitalize their business and solutions to take advantage of the booming market for better connectivity in the multi-family space.
The end result? Better service and experiences for residents. Greater efficiencies for building operators. And higher asset values when it comes to selling or borrowing against their holdings with the new revenues from managed Wi-Fi going straight to net operating income (NOI).
2021 is going to be a year for the books. A year that will see more change in twelve months in this industry than we have seen in the past twelve years.
Dean Compoginis as Vice President of Business Development at Nomadix, leading strategic growth opportunities in the multi-dwelling unit (MDU) and hospitality markets worldwide. He is an accomplished global sales and marketing executive, having most recently served as Director of MDU Business Development & Sales at Ruckus Networks. Before that, he was the Director of the Hospitality Business Unit at Meru Networks. Compoginis has a proven track record in multiple industries, including networking, hospitality, MDU, software, telecommunications, broadcast, major retail, marine products, computer hardware. He attended UC Berkeley and is a member of the American Marketing Association.