There are lots of words we could use to describe 2020 but by far I believe the most (over) used word of the year was unprecedented. (Insert all the reasons why here). Because of social distancing, remote school and office closures, people who were reluctant to adopt technology, were forced to adapt to the changing times. What was once “nice to have” became central to everyday life. Tech will only become increasingly essential in 2021.
Back in April, from our 2020 Revision Survey, we identified four important tech categories that were on the rise (Work/Learn from home, Play-at-home, Healthy Home, and Safe-at-Home) and will be top priorities for homebuyers and renters moving forward. Here are some trends we are seeing in those categories.
Reliable High-Speed Internet:
With entire families streaming zoom meetings for work and school last year, many homeowners struggled with bandwidth issues. Wireless routers allow for easy device connection but aren’t keeping up with the new demand, and occupants looking for their own workspaces within the home are experiencing structural interference. For homebuilders, consider standardizing mesh systems and expect to see increased requests for hardwired connections from those who plan to continue working-from-home.
Video streaming set-ups.
Video has become a primary form of communication for businesses, schools, and even for social gatherings. Man-caves and spare bedrooms were converted into “zoom rooms”. With many companies allowing for permanent work-from-home options, homebuyers are more interested in high-quality video, microphones, and even lighting for meetings. Multifamily communities should also see this as an opportunity to offer similar set-ups in their amenities.
Speaking of Multifamily communities, many property owners are installing touchless tech throughout common rooms and high-traffic areas to limit exposure to illness. Homebuyers are also interested in the touchless trend with touchless doorbells, appliances faucets, and even toilets increasing in demand.
Safe-at-home, age-in-place tech.
This is a category that is about to sharply increase in interest as Baby Boomers begin to reach 80. Sensors can connect adult children or caregivers to info like routine interruptions, missed medication, and fall detection for peace-of-mind and quick action to avoid major setbacks that involve long rehabilitation. Remote locks to allow access for at-home health workers or emergency services. More ways to facilitate senior independence with limited intrusion will continue to increase in demand and popularity over the next 5 years.
We are looking forward to the return of some normalcy in this coming year as the pandemic gets under control, but tech isn’t going to suddenly decrease in demand. The convenience and benefits to quality of life have become an expectation for homebuyers and renters. Builders and multifamily property owners will need to up their tech strategies to meet the ever-increasing tech demand.