How to set up a smart home in rented accommodation

In today’s day and age of continual technological advances, the world is becoming more interconnected than ever before. Whether it be because of the rise of the internet, the impact of smartphones, or the influence of social media, there are so many ways in which technology has continually advanced as time has moved on.

About our guest blogger:
Dakota Murphey has experience in property management with her portfolio of properties expanding in the South of England. Her passion for renovation and home improvement projects is shared through her writing to help educate and inspire others.

One particular area where advances are frequently being honed is smart technology. ‘Smart’ devices, like those powered by Alexa, Siri or Google Assistant, utilise artificial intelligence (AI) to connect consumers with the latest news and goings on without even needing to press a button. The interconnectivity of these devices has, in turn, led to the introduction of smart homes – houses capable of controlling lighting, heating and electronics remotely using only a smartphone.Not only has this added a certain ‘cool’ factor to properties, but it has also helped homeowners save money and have better control over their energy usage. This, in turn, has enabled them to save on energy bills, while helping preventing climate change. Talk about a win-win.But, while it may be all well and good creating a smart home when you actually own the property, what if you rent? Often landlords will have rules in place which restrict how much a tenant can alter within the home, so is it possible for tenants to set up smart homes of their own? And, if so, how?

Well, the good news is yes, you can. There are many smart devices available out there which won’t alter the property in any way, but will give you more control over how the house is run. Join us as we take a look at some of the best devices to think about investing in if you live in rented accommodation.

1. Hub & Smart Speaker.

First things first, you’re going to need some sort of smart hub to control everything. Before you go charging off and buy the first one you come across though, you need to think about your choice carefully.  Ask yourself, for instance, are you a big Apple user, or do you prefer the devices that Google or Amazon produce? Generally speaking, it’s a good idea for the smart hub you buy to compliment the smartphone or external devices you plan on using it with.

The HomePod speaker from Apple, for instance, is designed to work seamlessly with iPhones and other Apple-based products. That being said, it’s also technically inferior than both the Amazon Echo and Google Home smart hubs, which can also be controlled using Apple-based devices.

Collage of people using voice assistants and smart speakers

The system you choose to control your home with isn’t as simple as just picking the cheapest option either. If you choose an Amazon Echo at this point, that means there’d be no point investing in a Google smart speaker down the line, since they both use different virtual assistants.

Put simply, you need to decide whether you want your smart home to be controlled using Siri (Apple), Alexa (Amazon), Google Assistant (Google) or Samsung, then buy the relevant system to fit.

2. Smart Lighting.

A phone-controlled smart lamp

Once you have decided on your smart hub and smart speaker system, now the real fun can begin.

One of the first things you should think about buying to utilise this system is smart lighting. Products like Phillips Hue and C by GE are already incredibly popular additions in homes throughout the UK, providing users with the ability to control their lighting with their voice or smartphone.

However, before you head down to your local electrical supply store, you’re going to need to check what sort of light fittings you have available in your rented property. While it’s usually fairly straightforward to change these yourself, some landlords don’t allow you this luxury, so it’s important to check first.

Once you know which fittings your property has available, then you can buy the relevant bulbs required. Whether it be a large screw bulb, small screw bulb or a bayonet fitting, the bulbs you choose will then connect to a Wi-Fi bridge, controlled using either your voice (via the smart hub) or smartphone.

3. Smart Plugs.

Utilising Wi-fi-controlled plugs around your home is one of the best ways of making the property smart without causing any permanent damage. Not only are they cheap to buy and easy to use, they can also be taken with you when it comes to moving out.

To use a smart plug, you simply need to plug it into the wall outlet and turn it on. Once the plug has been connected up to your Wi-fi network and smart hub, you can then control it using either your voice, app or set a schedule for it to be turned on or off whenever required.

However, it’s important to bear in mind that not all devices will fully power on when switched on using the smart plug. Many TVs, for instance, will only enter standby mode when powered on, but will turn off on command.

4. Security Cameras.A Google Nest secuirty Camera

Whether you are cautious about your home’s security, or are looking for an effective way of keeping an eye on your dog or baby, smart security cameras can make your life a whole lot easier. All you need to use one is a wall plug socket and a Wi-fi network – while you can fit them to the wall, if you’re not allowed to do this at your property, they also come available on a stand.
However, it’s important to bear in mind the privacy of others when it comes to installing security cameras. If you live in a communal space, for instance, your flatmates may feel it’s a breach of their privacy if they think they’re being spied on. Therefore, make sure you have everyone’s blessing before you go ahead and set up your smart security camera system.

About our guest blogger:
Dakota Murphey has experience in property management with her portfolio of properties expanding in the South of England. Her passion for renovation and home improvement projects is shared through her writing to help educate and inspire others.

Agent Rainmaker Live – No Ordinary Event

High energy, high impact and highly rewarding… and I’m not even an agent!

Like comparing chalk with cheese, I can promise you that Sally Lawson’s ‘Agent Rainmaker Live’ is an event like no other in the industry. It’s raw, charged, highly emotional and surprisingly human!

While most conferences focus on the legislation and politics involved within UK lettings & estate agencies, ARL makes it all about business owners and their staff. It’s funny how we sometimes forget that businesses are made up of people – don’t you agree?

 

There’s a touch of the U.S.A about ARL…and in a good way too! Last year the event spanned two days and was presented in a Tony Robbins-esque display. People chanted, people cried, people danced (…and some of us almost died for over-indulgence at the bar…)

It was loaded with industry speakers, legislation, self-help, an awards ceremony and even an exercise class (which I hope we don’t have to do again this year. I don’t think my legs could take it again after the night before!)

There was plenty in the way of storytelling last year, and you could see from other’s reactions that they identified with what was shared. It was hard hitting and heart-breaking at times and I think plenty took comfort knowing they weren’t alone.

For me, there was nothing more genuine than the story which was shared by a fed-up mum & her son. Now this was no ordinary mum – she was like your mum, a grafter, and relatable in so many ways. She’d been in the industry for a while and once had several offices spread over Wales. Over the years, legislation, poor staff, a grumpy husband and rubbish tenants had left her feeling fed-up and out-of-pocket. She wanted to close down the business and say enough was enough! Her son however didn’t give up on his mum or the business and invested in Sally & her team. A few months later a £60,000 turnover quadrupled to £240,000! It was really touching and left me wondering what my highlight will be this time round.

A flash awards & dinner ceremony also ensued at ARL 2018, rounding off the first night. It was a fabulous yet humbling experience that left you hungry for the same success – It’s not often that you hear of people adding £1million to their profits.

The real cherry on cake, however, came a little later at the charity fundraiser. Now… do you know what happens when you get 250+ agents coming together for one evening of giving? A donation of £30k – that’s what! It was overwhelming and I feel so proud to have been a part of it. It also makes you wonder – what else could be achieved when agents come together? In my opinion, the industry needs collaboration.

What’s more, 2019’s Agent Rainmaker Live is set to span three days, and promises to be even bigger and better.

You can get your tickets by clicking here.

Facilities Show 2019: What to look out for

Are you heading to the Facilities Show this year?

With over 100 CPD Conference & Training sessions, a Workplace Wellbeing Show, a Smart Buildings Expo and many fun networking experiences for FMs, including Virtual Golf and the Games Arcade you will need to plan your time wisely!

Keyzapp is exhibiting at the Facilities Show for the first time this year, and with so much going on we have summarised the key elements off the show and picked some of the top highlights so that you don’t miss out!

Click here to claim your free VIP ticket courtesy of Keyzapp!

The Smart Buildings Expo

This exciting Expo is dedicated to workplace technology, smart building technology and field service technology. In addition to Experience, Educate and Consult elements, there will be FM suppliers showcasing their latest technology innovations. Don’t forget to drop by the Keyzapp stand on FM6088 – help yourself to some of our Pick & Mix and see how much time you can save by getting a good key and asset management system in place.

The Smart Buildings Expo, includes three main sections:

Experience – a walking tour of a full size replica of a smart office built on the show floor. Built in partnership with Master Systems Integrators Vanti, they will be on hand to explain each piece of technology.

Educate – The Workplace Technology Theatre will be packed with content for IoT decision makers, FM’s considering implementing technology into their assets – and anyone who wants to see the benefits technology can bring.

Consult– Speak to experts in pre-arranged meetings to get independent advice on where to start, how to retrofit and how to avoid the common pitfalls.

If you would like to know more, click here to register and download the Smart Buildings e-book ahead of the event.

The Inspirational Speakers

Steph McGovern – 18thJune at 11.30

Steph talks about how she went from working as an apprentice engineer at Black & Decker in Durham to becoming an award-winning financial journalist and BBC household name.
Having broadcast from over 600 organisations around the country, Steph will explain what she thinks it takes to be a good business and how to weather the economic and political storm.
On top of this Steph will be talking about why we need to value skills more in the UK and the importance of vocational training. Plus, what she has learnt from some of her biggest interviews, which includes President Trump.

Eddie the Eagle – 19thJune at 11.30

Eddie talks about Courage & Risk.

What is courage? Is it just about a willingness to take risks, or is it more about being willing to face your fears? What about perseverance, failing but getting up and trying again? And then there’s the courage required to try something new or to try to see things differently. Sometimes the old view is comforting. Sometimes telling yourself that doing something big or rising to the challenge is impossible. Sometimes, it’s so much easier to find an excuse than to find the courage and take the risk.

There is always the risk of failing when you’re trying something new. And in the case of Eddie the Eagle, his ambitions also put him at risk of severe injury. Not landing the 90-meter jump at the Calgary Winter Olympics could have had terrible consequences. But actually, his most serious injury was caused by something completely different.

Jonny Wilkinson – 20thJune at 11.30

Arguably one of the best-known rugby players in the world, Jonny Wilkinson famously kicked the drop goal that won England the World Cup with just seconds left in the final. He then went on to be rated as one of the best players in the world in both internationals and at club level with Newcastle and Toulon.

Much of Jonny’s success on the field, however, took its psychological toll. He has dealt with depression, anxiety and panic attacks. In this honest, unguarded speech Jonny will recount how his focus and dedication to the sport he loves meant overlooking important parts of his life. He will consider what that experience has taught him about mental health and will talk about his personal journey to acceptance.

Make sure you register ahead to secure your place at one of the talks

Training Sessions & Panel discussions top picks

And with over 100 training sessions and panel discussions split between three different theatres, not to mention the co-located shows across the FIREX, IFSEC & Safety & Health Expo, here are a few of our top picks from The Facilities Show not to be missed. Remember to scan your badge on the way in to collect your CPD certificate:

Panel: Technology as a force for change – We are technology companies, aren’t we?

18thJune at 11.40 – 12.25

Technology has always played a role in shaping the FM profession and the broader facilities services industry within which the profession operates. Therefore; this panel debate will explore further the understanding of how technology will shape the FM profession in the future but also what’s happening right here and now.

Between Hype and Reality: Connectivity and Integration

18thJune at 14.25 – 14.55

The Internet of Things is the buzzword of the moment but there is an often overlooked chasm between the hype around it and the reality of integrating this technology into day-to-day business processes. As housing associations pressure field service companies into becoming truly connected and providing the end consumer with a tightly knit digital experience, who exactly is going to foot the bill for implementing the technology? Jason’s experience with Oprillo, a business venture that aimed to connect domestic infrastructures with field service companies using IoT tech under the end consumer’s control, showed him that there is a perfect fantasy world and there is the ambivalent present. During this panel, he’ll use his unique insight to explore the level we are at now, in terms of connectivity and integration, where we’ll be in 5 years, and the technology that will bridge the chasm.”

How not to integrate technology in buildings -avoiding the pitfalls others have already made

19thJune at 11.00 – 11.30

This session will cover the current state of the Smart building industry as well as:
– Common mistakes people make when selecting technology
– The importance of considering UX (user experience) in technology design and selection
– When to think about ‘Smart’ in the context of a building’s construction or fit-out programme

Creating next-generation collaborative work environments

19thJune at 15.45 – 16.15

Formal and informal collaboration spaces are dominating new office environments. Technology is a vital component in these new work settings. Creating spaces for employees to effectively meet, share information and innovate is an imperative for company productivity, yet many IT and facilities organisations struggle designing, deploying and managing these critical assets.

In this session, we will examine the trends that are driving the explosive growth of collaborative workspaces and share a practical approach for building a winning business case for technology. We will also show how space design, furnishings and technology come together to create more innovative and engaging places for people to work, and discuss the role standardisation plays in eliminating complexity, reducing costs, improving productivity and driving adoption.

Smart Workspaces – People, Technology, and the Built Environment

20thJune at 11.55 – 12.20

Over 60% of buildings that will be standing in 2050 have already been built. With the growth of Smart Buildings, it is no surprise that Facility Managers today are expected to be more IT-savvy. This poses several interesting challenges to the role of the Facility Manager, firstly due to the vast amounts of data generated, which is far too much to consume and understand with a siloed work approach and without tools and applications to assist.

This presentation will discuss how facilities can benefit from connectivity and integration of multiple siloed operating systems. Smart Building technology is disrupting the way building owners, tenants, and operators are approaching retrofit projects. Technologies such as multi-purpose sensors are providing actionable data that can further be utilised by Artificial Intelligence and Data Analytics applications to provide an enhanced workplace experience. Further, with the workplace population moving towards the Millennial generation and Gen Z, mobile workspaces and a tech-savvy environment have become an attractive recruitment strategy. The presentation will also briefly discuss a case study of what that ideal workplace in today’s world can look like.

Click here to see the full agenda via the free FM Training programme

Supplier Stands

And as well as all the above there will be over 282 FM product providers, showcasing over 2,000 solutions. With such a choice of suppliers, make sure you drop by the Keyzapp Stand FM6088 for a quick demo on how our deceptively simple key management solution can save you time and money every day. If you manage keys, we are the one supplier who really will give you your time back!

Click here to see a video testimonial from one of our Security clients who have made a big impact on their efficiency by installing Keyzapp, enabling them to spend more time on the tasks that matter most.

Have some Fun!

Don’t forget about the Virtual Golf and Games Arcades and click here to secure one of our tickets to the VIP lounge:

Above all – have a great time at the show! We look forward to seeing you there.

FUTURE: PropTech – 14th May 2019 – we’re exhibiting!

Future Proptech Advertising Banner

We are very excited to be exhibiting again at the worlds No. 1 PropTech event for its 5th year!

This years theme: Open Collaboration

Bringing together over 2,000 forward thinking real estate executives to discuss the future of the built environment, this day will be packed from beginning to end with interesting content. With so much to choose from, visit the FUTURE: PropTech website to book your tickets, download the full agenda and plan your day wisely!

Make sure to squeeze some time in to visit us on the Keyzapp stand S32 to have a chat about how we can save you time and money managing your keys! With the handy Smartphone App, it is quick and easy to book a meeting in with us to secure a slot.

Who else is going?

Format of the Day & events we will be watching out for

With so much to pick from, its best to break the day down into the 4 separate stages at the event:

2 Main stages: Stage 1: Mega Trends. This will focus on how the real estate sector is being fundamentally changed by global trends such as urbanisation, demographics & technology.

Stage 2: FUTURE Is Now. Will feature case studies, on-stage demos, success stories & “How To” guides of the technology that is already being deployed by leading real estate companies.

2 smaller stages: Stage 3: Launch Stage. This will be showcasing start-ups and ‘ones to watch’. Stage 4: Agent Zone Stage is a dedicated stage for panel discussions and Keynote presentations

We will be watching out for Track 6 on Stage 2, showcasing the impact of technology on the Real Estate sector, and the challenges and opportunities for Real Estate Leaders.

 

 

 

And we will also be checking out the latest innovations in Facility Management (Track 4, Stage 1), where we feel that good Key Management has a lot to offer:

 

Don’t forget to download the Smartphone App ahead of the day to book in meetings and get all the information you need at your fingertips.

Reasons to attend

Do you really need any more persuasion?! Well here goes.. in their own words – some of the key reasons to attend FUTURE: PropTech are as follows:

  1. Arrange 1-to-1 meetings with 2000+ real estate leaders
  2. Listen to 30+ hours of dedicated content
  3. Choose from 4 stages and 9 themes
  4. Learn from over 100 of the world’s leading thinkers in the property sector
  5. Curated Brand Showcases – see live demos of over 80 world leading technology providers, start-ups and innovators
  6. In depth breakout sessions including workshops and round-table discussions
  7. Enjoy complimentary street food served all day. Provided by Streetdots
  8. Network at the free-flowing bar with wine, beer, tea, coffee & refreshments
  9. Attend our 5th Anniversary & UKPA re-brand Party with FREE BBQ, FREE food & drink & live DJ
  10. Connect with delegates from over 40 different countries and meet them in our dedicated International Zone

So book your tickets now, and we very much look forward to seeing you there!!