For many homeowners, the smart home is already part of everyday life. For example, the heating, which adjusts according to presence and the current weather, saves many owners enormous energy costs. Smart lighting creates a level of comfort that many people would never want to do without again. But why does it look so different on the rental market? For tenants, the smart home today consists at most of some Amazon Alexa or Google Home actuators. Tenants buy these devices themselves in retail stores and retrofit without interfering with the electrical system. However, the added value of these solutions is limited and still falls far short of the benefits, convenience and energy-saving potential of a “real” smart home installation.
Smarthome – task of the tenant or task of the landlord?
50% of all Germans live in rented apartments. This means that around half of Germans live in third-party property on a temporary basis. In essence, it is not the tenant’s task to expand or improve the third-party property. This is understandable because hardly any tenant is interested in investing in installation and actuators for a rented property, which after moving out will exclusively benefit the landlord. It should also be borne in mind that the tenant is usually not allowed to modify the electrical system. Although tenants have a substantial interest in the smart home and, according to a Deloitte study, are willing to pay for it, no German tenant lives in a smart apartment. But why is that actually the case?
The price question
For landlords, it has simply not paid off to rent out a smart rental apartment until now. Whether in a new building or for a retrofit, the costs have been too high to date. That’s why a smart home has only been considered at all for luxury properties.
Until now, costs in the mid to high six-figure range were not primarily due to the “intelligent actuators”. Rather, the complexity of the overall system made the smart home expensive. It starts with the costly wiring of all actuators. Followed by a central server in the basement and associated complex setup and programming. The costs of the smart home system quickly add up.
Bluetooth mesh for the cost-effective smart rental apartment
The times when a smart home installation quickly cost €50,000 are slowly but surely over. With the advent of new technologies such as Bluetooth Mesh, Smart home solutions can be implemented inexpensively and more easily. While Bluetooth saves the cost of wiring in new construction, Bluetooth as an everyday wireless technology makes retrofitting in old buildings possible in the first place. Without, walls which have to be laboriously pried open first. Bluetooth Mesh also requires no central servers or gateways, and even Internet is optional. Through mesh networking, every switch, every actuator, every sensor is directly connected to each other. All nodes forward all information to the respective device. Bluetooth is already a part of every smartphone. This way, common smart home automations can be programmed within a few minutes via a user-friendly app. Without any expert. One example is the MESHLE app.
For landlords, investing in smart rental apartments opens up many opportunities. On the one hand, the attractiveness of the entire property can be increased. If necessary, one or the other deficit of an apartment can be compensated. In addition, according to a Deloitte survey, people interested in smart homes are willing to pay 30 euros more a month to rent an apartment that already has a smart home solution preinstalled. In current times, however, one factor is becoming more important than ever: energy savings. By installing intelligent heating controls, thermostats, and smart lighting, energy costs can be significantly reduced. This will likely remain the most important concern in the future, and not just for tenants.
The steps to the smarthome
The most important thing is to find a consultant or a company that is technology neutral and knows the benefits of wireless solutions. Unjustifiably, electricians today still advise without reason in the direction of wired smart home solutions with BUS systems. However, these complex BUS systems are the primary reason why the smart rental apartment has not yet become established.
To realize a smart rental apartment that is as cost-effective as possible, it is essential to rely on a radio-based system. If you also want it to work completely offline, without the Internet and without complex installation, Bluetooth Mesh is a particularly suitable wireless technology. The good thing is that more and more manufacturers are also relying on Bluetooth Mesh for their smart product lines. Slow but sure standardization is also opening up the manufacturers, and Bluetooth Mesh products will all be compatible with each other in the future.