We are looking forward to the upcoming Mid-Market Summit on Thursday, May 7. Xfinity Communities has been our longest-running sponsor. We wanted to take the time to speak with David Lizak, Senior Director of Commercial Development, about multifamily technology and connectivity ahead of the event.
Kiser: Before we dive in, how did you get started – was it technology or multifamily?
Lizak: Technology in the B2B space and specifically around multi-site management and new product roll outs. When I saw the innovation and technology coming to the Multifamily space a few years ago I knew it would be a great opportunity for me to learn a new industry while still working my core passion of helping people and businesses be more efficient through use of technology.
Kiser: I’ve heard you tell landlords, “technology is a differentiator.” Tell me what you mean by this? Is there new technology a Chicagoland landlord should consider?
Lizak: The internet and Smart technology is changing the way buildings operate by bringing enterprise-level solutions to smaller properties and at affordable price. Currently we are working with several buildings on deploying water metering to help identify and stop the costs associated with leaky toilets, leak detection to identify potential flooding issues before they become a major cost, and also remote activated water shutoff valves to stop a leak or busted pipe from doing further damage.
Kiser: At last year’s Mid-Market Summit, you talked about Smart Communities. What does this mean? How many buildings in Chicago are “Xfinity Smart Communities?”
Lizak: Xfinity Smart Communities is the Comcast solution for two large problems. First, it provides a seamless management portal for Property Managers to control access, automation, and energy solutions from a web-based portal. Secondly it provides a platform for renters to access and control smart features in the apartment. Anything from lighting, to temperature, to building or unit access to power blinds and shades.
The platform fully integrates with the most common Property Manager software allowing the owners to achieve financial and productivity efficiencies while delivering the technology residents are demanding.
Kiser: The lion share of our clients own vintage buildings – 1920-30’s construction. What technology should these owners focus on bringing to their renters and what is required from them to “modernize” to prepare for you?
Lizak: The good news is in most of these buildings’ owners do not need to change out their wiring to receive the latest technology. Comcast currently uses a technology called DOCSIS 3.1 which provides up to 1 Gig speed to each unit over the same traditional Coax currently installed in these buildings. Even better news is Comcast is preparing to rollout DOCSIS 4.0 which will allow symmetrical speeds up to 10 Gig; again over that same existing Coax lines. Once the High speed Internet in place all the Smart and IOT features we have discussed are any easy add-on.
Kiser: Internet – it’s a utility, an amenity, and the end of the world when it’s not working. What’s a common misconception owners and property managers have about the internet?
Lizak: The biggest misconception is that all Internet providers are equal and the only difference is speed. When a building is selecting a vendor they need to look at security, end user equipment, and of course lifecycle customer service before making a decision. High speed Internet is no longer a nice to have amenity, but a necessity.
Kiser: 5G, Gigabit, Fiber – these are buzzwords I hear about the internet. What do apartment owners really need to know about today’s offerings?
Lizak: The most important thing is they should find a good trustworthy partner who will have an honest conversation with them about the pluses and minuses of all the different technologies and ensure they develop a platform that is not only sufficient for today, but scalable for the technology of tomorrow.