Build a Vacation Rental Smart Home Network? [Some Things You Build, Some Things You Buy.]

vaya-con-dios-brah-point-break-parodyThe smart home market is growing fast!

The estimates keep eclipsing each other. The most recent study “expects the U.S. smart home market to grow from the current size of $1.3 billion to $7.8 billion in 2019.” Smart home systems and services will ring up sales of $18 billion in the U.S. this year and could more than double to $39 billion by 2019, fueled by security and home control products, Strategy Analytics predicted in a report Thursday.

Awesome!
But I sure do feel for consumers. How can you possibly tell one vendor from another?!

New products and new technology seem to be materializing over night.

Sure, Apple and Google are house-hold names, but do they know “smart home” more than other industry players?

It’s a challenging consumer landscape, and I urge you to use caution. Seek proven technology and proven companies. “Bet on the right horse.” :)

Here are a couple posts that may offer some additional insight as you evaluate the smart home market:

As difficult as sorting through vendor differences can be, there is another smart home approach that is even more challenging:

Building your own smart home network!?

PointCentral is building smart home networks day in and day out. I can tell you from experience, it’s quite an undertaking.

On top of managing all those homes?! Yowza!

But that is just what a vacation rental manager out of Portland has done – Vacasa builds “smart” thermostat network.

Hats off Vacasa. Clearly a progressive VRM that recognizes the power of technology to improve operations and gain a competitive advantage.

Awesome to see the VR industry embracing smart home technology.

But to build your own network? Is the payoff really there?

Clearly Vacasa believes the payoff is there, but I’d say it’s too early to tell if a home-grown system has “legs.”

I’m not confident Google or Apple have the smart home figured out, and you can’t get much bigger/richer than those brands.

There are some serious drawbacks to consider:

  • WiFi, not a reliable cellular network
  • No “enterprise” control
  • Only thermostats? What about the core of VRM smart home – real-time keyless access control?
  • Smart home technical support?
  • How quickly will development happen?
  • Secure system?

With that said, it is still very exciting to see the smart home industry taking off and the VR industry keeping pace. Where are these two intersecting industries headed?

Time will tell. As they say in Point Break, “vaya con dias, brah.”

My suggestion? Stick with experts that specialize and know the game. Some things you build, and some things you buy.

I believe VRM smart home control is a tool with such specialization that you, your guests, and your homeowners deserve an expert perspective.

Plot Twist

Here’s a bit of a plot twist though. The vacation rental industry is building a myriad of smart home networks whether we all know/like it or not.

As I’ve discussed, your homeowners are technology adopters, and they are installing smart home technology.

it may only be a mild headache for you to manage multiple smart home networks today, but this trend is growing…fast.

What may be one or two homeowners controlling their own thermostat remotely (even when guests are in the home!), is quickly turning into homeowners using cameras to spy on guests, and keyless locks that you can’t control.

It’s time to get ahead of this trend.

If you don’t get out in front of this wave, the operational improvements, client satisfaction, and revenue opportunity may be traded for operational chaos and increased headaches.You’ll be stuck with a mishmash smart home network that is major headache and exceedingly difficult to control.

Vacation Rental Smart Home Control Testimonial: Sun Palace Vacations

Technology Adoption CycleI’ve discussed the technology adoption cycle a few times:

Smart home technology is spreading fast (thanks Google & Apple!), but we are still in the beginning of the technology adoption cycle.

I experience this first hand when I talk with many vacation rental managers for the first time about the benefits the PointCentral system can offer. I get it…there’s a lot to take in….

  • What is a “smart home”?
  • How does the system work?
  • What are the benefits – for guests, VRM, and homeowners?
  • Who installs?
  • Who supports?
  • What hardware is needed?
  • Pricing?
  • Revenue?

Head spinning….

However, in the end, we understand your needs, and as complicated as implementing smart home control may seem at first, it is a very user-friendly process.

But I’m the “sales guy;” I get paid to say that. :)

Rather than taking my word for it, we created a bit of an experiment with a few of our clients.

GoPro Testimonials!

Sun Palace logoAwesome right?

We purchased a GoPro (as a gift, of course :) ), and sent it to a few clients with a list of questions. In return, we asked that they share their honest opinion of the PointCentral system, the implementation and the benefits they are seeing.

Our goal was to demonstrate that PointCentral is easy AND effective.

Below is the list of questions that we asked, but let’s get right to the visuals…

Sun Palace Vacation Rentals

We’ll kick it off with Sun Palace Vacations in sunny Ft. Meyers, FL.

LiveRez users, attendees at our first Smart Home Seminar, and avid smart home users. Not to mention drone operators!…love the opening crash. :)

PointCentral Client Questions:

  1. What made you decide to convert to Smart Home Control?
  2. Why did you choose to partner with PointCentral?
  3. How do you feel about your installation experience?
  4. Did you consider a Wi-Fi based system, and why did you choose a cellular based system?
  5. How does the conversion to PointCentral compare to other major conversions your company has worked through? – Locks, reservation software, etc.?
  6. Looking back, would you say the conversion was easier than you thought it would be?
  7. How has PointCentral impacted your business?
  8. What does your staff think about the PointCentral system?
  9. How do guests feel about the PointCentral system?
  10. What do your homeowners think about the PointCentral conversion?
  11. Considering the impact on your business, would you say the conversion to PointCentral has been cost affective?
  12. How has your experience been working with the entire PointCentral team?
  13. Can you offer any words of wisdom for other VRMs considering Smart Home Control?

Copy Keys with a Picture! Very Cool AND Very Scary.

keys duplicatedThe next time I need a new key for my car (obviously I’m keyless at my house :) ), I’m most definitely using KeysDuplicated.com.

Snap a couple pictures, click the link on my smart phone and bam, keys arrive via mail in a couple days.

Pretty awesome, right?! Hard to get more efficient than that.

However, on the darker side, your vacation rental home (or business) just became that much easier to access.

  • I’ve stressed the security issues of traditional keys a number of times. Take a peek below for related links.

To be fair, KeysDuplicated takes some great security measures like requiring a credit card to order.

But here’s the crux of the traditional key problem:

Traditional mechanical keys cannot be controlled.

End of story.

VRM Key Room2, 200, or 2000 properties. How many keys does it require to manage? How could you possibly control them?

Keys are lost, stolen, and copied…now with the push of a button!

With keys constantly “floating,” there is no way to know who has one…or who just made a copy.

Are you going to contact KeysDuplicated every time there is a security breach at your home/business to see if a copy was made? Not likely.

Your guests, vendors, employees, etc. can now copy your keys with the click of a button. Very cool AND very scary.

Technology is awesome, but that awesomeness is a slippery slope.

Your business AND your clients deserve a new standard of care: smart control with keyless access – no copies necessary. :)

Vacation Rental Security – Related Posts
  1. Mechanical Keys: An Unnecessary Liability [White Paper]
  2. There’s a HUGE Need for Vacation Rental Security
  3. Breaking Bad: A Look at a Vacation Rental Security Loophole
  4. Floating Keys STINK, But they WERE a Necessary Evil
  5. Vacation Rental Insurance: Where Does Coverage End & Liability Begin?
  6. Where are Your Keys?! {Take Control with Smart Home Automation}
  7. Vacation Rental Security & the Art of War: Why Its Time to Make Your Homes Safe & Secure

Smart Energy Management: Vacation Rental Case Study [Download]

Energy MoneyEditor’s Note:

Part III of our Smart Energy Management email series. See Part I & Part II. Onward!

VRM Smart Energy Management: Case Study
Thanks for joining us on this 3-part journey in VRM smart energy management. But where’s the evidence?

Great question.

Below is a link to download our VRM case study that demonstrates the dollar savings and offers the opportunity to share hard data with your homeowners.

First, few quick notes that demonstrate an even greater potential to save…

Case Study Notes

Below is a three home energy analysis of All Star Vacation Homes in Orlando, FL for Q4 (Oct. – Dec.) 2012 vs. 2013. PointCentral was installed inventory-wide at All Star in September 2013.

However, before you dive into the data, I want to preface this analysis with a few thoughts:

1. Getting an “apples to apples” comparison of energy management is difficult.

  • Markets and climates vary
  • HVAC and pool heat systems vary house to house
  • The energy efficiency of the homes varies (appliances, insulation, etc.)
  • Occupancy calendars play a big part in energy consumption and vary year to year

2. All Star was just starting to use the PointCentral system at this time, so there may have been a bit of a learning curve still in progress during the analysis period

3. The HVAC was not fully automated (as mentioned in Part II) to drive the Energy Management off of occupied vs. unoccupied rules.

Main Point: While this is impressive savings, there is definitely room for improvement.

Go green. Create Revenue. Improve efficiency.

Download Case Study

[Watch] Vacation Rental Smart Energy Management: All Star Vacation Homes CEO, and former VRMA President, Steve Trover discusses the impact of PointCentral energy management.

 

Realize the benefits of Smart Home Control at no cost to you!
Including, full turn-key installation by PointCentral

Learn more at www.PointCentral.com.
Contact us at SmartSolutions@pointcentral.com or 888.532.3032.

Homeowners Using Smart Home Technology to Spy on Vacation Rental Guests: The Need for Enterprise Smart Home Control Continues to Grow

spy vs. spyBased on my experience in the vacation rental industry, Baby Boomers constitute the majority of vacation rental homeowners.

As I mentioned in a post this past spring, Baby Boomers are also technology adopters.

As a corollary to those statements, your homeowners are technology adopters.

And these technology adopting, baby booming, vacation rental homeowners are using this new technology to keep tabs on your guests.

With or without your permission.  

As I mentioned in the above linked-to post, I hear stories of homeowners installing and using smart home technology all the time. With or without VRM permission. Even when guests are in the house.

It sounds a bit crazy, but it is indeed a growing trend. (Especially now that Apple and Google have upped the smart home ante.)

A bit amusing when you think of the thrifty homeowner turning the heat down at night.

But control can take a creepy turn very quickly.

VRMIntel recently shared a post discussing vacation rental homeowners (already under professional VRM care, mind you) using self-installed smart home cameras to spy on guests!

For real.

Three instances this year, across three state, all under professional management.

Check ‘er out…

I’ll let you jump over to VRMIntel to read the full article, but here’s the PointCentral perspective as quoted in the article:

Owner Installed vs. VRM Installed

According to Greg Burge, president at PointCentral and past president at GE Security, America’s, vacation rental managers have an opportunity to establish primary control of installed smart home technology.

“These incidents reflect a growing trend by homeowners to independently install smart home products,” said Burge.  “Unlike ‘enterprise’ smart home solutions being implemented by leading VRM’s across the country, these owner installed ‘single property’ systems compromise guest security.”

Burge continued, “More and more VRM’s are taking a leadership role and moving in front of owners to deploy smart home solutions that improve guest, owner, and employee security; drive down owner energy costs; and provide significant VRM operational improvements and efficiencies. With the added benefit of a potential revenue source.”

Your homeowners are using this technology. And the smart home trend is growing fast. If you don’t get out in front of this wave, the operational improvements, client satisfaction, and revenue opportunity may be traded for operational chaos and increased headaches.

The “Secret Sauce” for Vacation Rental Smart Energy Management: Occupancy-Based Automation & Revenue Opportunity

Energy MoneyEditor’s Note:

Part II of our VRM Smart Energy Management series. See Part I here. Onward!

VRM Smart Energy Management: The “Secret Sauce”
Occupancy-Based Automation

As you discovered in Part I, PointCentral gives VRMs the ability to remotely monitor AND control HVAC and pool heat…across ALL homes.

  • Save trips to the homes
  • No more disgruntled homeowners
  • Proactive maintenance

Awesome! But here’s the real magic…

Occupancy Based HVAC Automation

Automate HVAC based on occupancy across EVERY home. Set it & forget it.

  • Determine heat & cool set points
  • PointCentral knows when your homes are occupied vs. unoccupied
  • PointCentral automatically adjusts the HVAC to your set points based on occupancy

Done & done.

Revenue Opportunity

In addition to all the greatness we’ve already covered, how about a revenue opportunity?

Awesomer!

  • No upfront capital investment for VRM or homeowner
  • Full turn-key installation
  • 3-year hardware financing
  • Energy savings of 10-15%+ (see Part III for our case study)
  • Ex.: If average energy bill is $150 per month, homeowners can expect to save $17.50 per month.

Would an energy savings of $20 per month be worth spending $15 per month for homeowners? Quick math says yes.

This leaves a great revenue opportunity for you – resell a service that your homeowners greatly want/need!

Go green. Create Revenue. Improve efficiency.

[Watch] Vacation Rental Smart Energy Management: All Star Vacation Homes CEO, and former VRMA President, Steve Trover discusses the impact of PointCentral energy management.

 
Coming up:

Part III: VRM Case Study

Realize the benefits of Smart Home Control at no cost to you!
Including, full turn-key installation by PointCentral

Learn more at www.PointCentral.com.
Contact us at SmartSolutions@pointcentral.com or 888.532.3032.

What is Vacation Rental Smart Energy Management & Why Should You Care?

Energy MoneyVRM Smart Energy Management

Editor’s Note:  Conserving resources is crucial – time, energy & money. Over the next few days, we will share 3 (short) posts that demonstrate the power of smart energy management to help you conserve resources and please your homeowners.

Onward!

What is Smart Energy Management?

Managing HVAC and pool heat is a strain on resources that  leads to wastes in energy, time, and money.

PointCentral gives you control of energy consumption across ALL of your homes.

Monitor & control energy for EVERY property from any web-enabled device.

  • Monitor & control HVAC remotely
  • Set high & low HVAC temperature limits
  • Control pool heat on/off remotely
  • Monitor pool heat temperature remotely
  • Set temperature notifications & alerts
Why Should You Care?

Smart energy management gives you control.
(Psssst….And a new revenue opportunity?!)

  • Reduce energy consumption
  • Reduce trips to the homes
  • Prevent A/C compressor issues
  • Create opportunities for proactive maintenance
  • Save homeowners 10-15%+ on energy bills
  • Create revenue by selling Energy Management as a service
  • Ensure comfortable settings upon guest arrival
Go green. Save money. Improve efficiency.

[Watch] Vacation Rental Smart Energy Management: All Star Vacation Homes CEO, and former VRMA President, Steve Trover discusses the impact of PointCentral energy management.

Coming up:

  • Part II: The Secret Sauce
  • Part III: VRM Case Study

Realize the benefits of Smart Home Control at no cost to you!
Including, full turn-key installation by PointCentral

Learn more at www.PointCentral.com.
Contact us at SmartSolutions@pointcentral.com or 888.532.3032.

 

Apple, Google & the Future of the Smart Home | How Will this Impact Your [Smart] Business?

Cellular Smart Home ControlA few weeks ago I shared a blog post asking if Apple was racing towards the smart home.

It turns out, the answer to that question is a GIANT, yes!

Apple is indeed jumping into the smart home arena. To make the market a bit more exciting, Google is doubling-down on their smart home bets as well…and a slew of big name companies are piling on – Microsoft, Cisco, Samsung…and the list goes on.

As my previous post indicated, the big question on my mind is:

  • How will the smart home push from these two giants impact your [smart] business?

I’ll share my analysis in a minute, but first, let’s take a look at the new smart home arms race building momentum.

I’ve waited a few weeks for a follow-up post because I wanted to collect feedback from the media. Wow, has there be A LOT of feedback!

When I made my first smart home post on this very blog almost two years ago (first post!), the media coverage was few and far between. Now? Talk of the smart home is every where we turn. Thanks in large part, to Apple and Google making a full-force assault on the smart home.

Exciting times indeed!

Here’s a quick rundown of some of the most prominent/best smart home coverage I’ve seen since Apple made their BIG smart home announcement…

1. TheWireCutter: Great overview of all of Apple’s recent announcements. If you’re an Apple fan, you’ll love the overview, but the focus is definitely on HomeKit:

  • HomeKit has the potential to turn your iPhone/iPad into the all-in-one smarthome controller of your dreams.
  • That’s a pipe dream for the time being. This is something that will depend highly on the outside companies that choose to integrate their services with HomeKit.
  • It’s not a device (or set of devices) offered directly through Apple—so we’ll have to wait and see how this plays out in the future.
  • One major smart device maker that was conveniently left out of the WWDC keynote was Nest. We are concerned that Nest may never integrate with HomeKit due to the rivalry between Apple and Google.

2. Wall St. Journal: The writer spent time with the CEO of SmartThings, a DIY smart home vendor,  to witness a day in the life of a smart home. The writer was less than impressed. [Side note: SmartThings got it's motivation from a vacation rental!]

  • Frankly, other than people who have very specific reasons to add automation to their homes, I have no idea why anyone would do it[.] As countless reviewers have noted, even when smart-home technology works as advertised, the complexity it adds to everyday life outweighs any convenience it might provide.
    • Editor’s Note: I hear ya WSJ, but as I noted in my previous “Apple” postI’m not sure it matters. The smart home is cool, affordable, easy to implement, and offers the potential to save time and money. Once you cross the tipping point, the masses get what the masses want.
    • My emphasis added above. Let’s come back to the “specific reasons” idea in a minute.

3. Time Magazine: Time also paid a visit to the SmartThings CEO. Popular guy. Popular house. Time offered some similar thoughts to the WSJ article, but one aspect Time dug into a bit more was security, or lack there of.

4. PC Magazine: While we’re discussing hacking, PC Mag sees an ugly trend developing with WiFi-based home automation…

  • Once they start getting hacked there will be no stopping it. Nobody will be bothering to update the devices to block unwanted access—until they come home in the middle of summer with all the heaters on full blast, the lights flashing on and off, and the coffee pot on fire. This is exactly where this all leads. And it only evolves to this because people are too lazy to get up and turn off some lights or set a thermostat.
  • Editor’s Note: A bit comical. And scary. But the interesting trend I see (and have seen for 2 years) is that people (media, consumers, business owners) have not yet realized the benefit BEYOND the primary residence. I’ll get to that point in a moment.

5. Forbes: Forbes asks “Why Did Google Buy Dropcam?” Good question Forbes. Quick answer: to beat Apple. Google and Apple are stepping out on the proverbial limb with these smart home moves. This is not their forte. But that is not stopping the momentum.

  • As Forbes notes, Nest has already stumbled – it is six times as expensive as the average thermostat sold in that channel, far more complicated to install and run, and far less reliable. In addition, the Nest Protect smoke and fire detector, was even prettier, sold for 10x the price of the average product in the space, and was unreliable enough to be recalled soon after making its debut.
  • Editor’s Note: Choose wisely. This is an early stage in smart home development. Do you want to bet on a company (even if they are big and well-known) that has little experience and demonstrated their ability to stumble?

7. Apple vs. Nest Labs: The Battle for Home Automation: This article discusses the potential “end game” for these market giants. However, the point that I’d like to note is that everyone (especially the big guys) is solely focused on where you live. What about where you work?

8. Mobile Business Insights: A relatively technical piece discussing the lack of common platforms/protocols for the Internet of Things (IoT) and the value of consumer choice, but I whole-heartedly agree with the closing sentiment – my emphasis added:

  • While Home Kit is likely to be a home-automation walled garden, let’s not underestimate the impact of Apple’s entry into the home automation market. Their brand capital, customer loyalty, retail network and legions of developer and device partners represent something of a juggernaut. The Home Kit announcement will generate significant media-coverage, consumer interest and presumably adoption, which ultimately is good for everyone.

Whew, that’s quite a recap! And that is just scratching the surface of the smart home media coverage taking off.

Editor’s Analysis – The SMART Business is Taking Shape

I’ll try not to be long-winded with this analysis. If you’ve followed this blog, perused the website, or digested the notes I’ve made in this post, you can probably guess my position:

  • Smart home technology is having an amazing impact on businesses. Now.

As noted in the Forbes article, there are “specific reasons to add automation,” and businesses handle these specific reasons every day – tracking employees, managing energy, monitoring systems, streamlining processes, cutting costs.

Smart home technology is super cool at your house. But do you need it? Probably not – not today anyway.

But business? Yeah, businesses NEED smart home technology to provide adequate security, differentiate from the competition, cut costs, and improve operations.

PointCentral smart control solutions is helping to improve business operations across the country. Today. Not some far off future waiting to be developed. Now. As I bang on this keyboard.

A quick example: Tomorrow is 4th of July. A huge amount of travelers are headed to vacation rental homes to enjoy a holiday vacation. PointCentral is helping vacation rental managers across the country manage a wide variety of homes across vast distances – all through the magic of smart home technology.

A “specific need” to automate being used to it’s full potential!

Smart Home Control – for Business!

PointCentral is focused on bringing the amazing residential smart home technology to commercial businesses. And the impact is BIG.

The smart home offers an amazing impact on business operations when you take the residential benefits and multiply it by 2, 200, or 2000+ properties…all controlled from one dashboard.

Home automation on an “enterprise” level is pretty amazing. :)

I’ve discussed the great benefits of smart home control for businesses in a variety of previous posts. Rather than rehashing the ideas here, I’ll cut it short and list related posts below.

Conclusion

In short, Apple’s entrance to the smart home market is big. It will push adoption past the tipping point and add further credibility to the smart home.

From a business perspective, this means each of your clients, employees, guests, vendors (I.E. everyone) will start to recognize the benefits of the smart home and will grow to expect it.

For example, a lack of control over who can access your properties and when will not be tolerated much longer –  this is no longer a satisfactory standard of care.

  • I.E. traditional mechanical keys that can be lost, stolen, copied, and shared will no longer be acceptable.

But this is is a good thing. This gives businesses the motivation to improve:

  • Operations
  • Experience
  • Security
  • Energy/Cost Savings

One final note to keep your interest peaked. How is PointCentral able to focus on “enterprise” smart home technology while everyone else is only focused on your primary residence?

By the way, when will the mass media realize the benefit of smart home technology to businesses?! Major publications are missing the forest through the trees.

Related Posts:
  1. A New Way to Do Business: Commercial Property Automation
  2. PointCentral is Uniquely Positioned to Provide Commercial Property Automation
  3. Home Automation Can Save Your BUSINESS Time & Money
  4. Use Technology Hacks to Improve Your Company’s Efficiency
  5. [Case Study] Smart Control = Smart Business: Reduce Costs, Increase Security & Improve Business Intelligence 
  6. WiFi vs. Cellular = Home Automation vs. Property Automation
Vacation Rental Posts:
  1. Vacation Rental Insurance: Where Does Coverage End & Liability Begin?
  2. Your Guests & Homeowners Want it Too!
  3. Mechanical Keys: An Unnecessary Vacation Rental Liability [White Paper]
  4. Control ALL of Your Homes from ONE Dashboard
  5. Your Vacation Homes are Targets: The New Standard of Care & Security for Vacation Rental Management
  6. Milestones: Is Bluewater Vacation Rentals the Largest Smart Home Installation in the World?!
  7. [Case Study] Energy/Money Savings with Vacation Rental Smart Energy Management

WiFi vs. Cellular Smart Homes: Almost 98 Percent of Data Use in US Homes Will Be Over Wi-Fi by 2018

walking, looking at smart phonesTake a quick peak at the picture to the right.

What do you notice?

Everyone looking down at their smart phone. We all do it.

Our connection to mobile devices is constant.

The smart phone/head down phenomenon is so common these days that people are actually injuring themselves walking and looking at their phone!

Now, take a quick analysis of ALL of the devices you and your family use on a daily basis in your home. A lot right?

My guess is almost all of these devices are connected to the WiFi network at your home. That WiFi network sure is busy!

[Related Post: WiFi vs. Cellular: Your WiFi Network is ALREADY Full]

To extrapolate a bit further, conjure up a picture in your mind’s eye of ALL the devices being carried into a 10 bedroom vacation rental home during a mult-family group vacation. Staggering, right?

Cellular News is reporting that by 2018 98% of data use in US homes will be over WiFi!

Holy moly!

How is the WiFi going to keep up with ALL of our devices?!

And WiFi smart home vendors want to add even more load to our burdened WiFi networks?! Mission-critical applications like access control, energy management and security, at that!

I’ve preached the HUGE difference between WiFi and cellular-based smart home control a number of times. I won’t rehash my points here, but I will share the related links below.

When you consider the need for enterprise control of “smart” products across an inventory of properties, it’s clear that overburdened WiFi networks cannot keep up…and the burden is only getting worse.

Trust cellular for your smart home needs.

After the “related links” below, I’ve included a couple images to offer a visual demonstration of the difference between WiFi and cellular networks.

  • Notice how cellular covers vast distances. Cellular leverages tower after tower to build a strong, reliable network that covers a great area.
  • WiFi on the other hand, stretches just outside the building and dies. No larger, continuous network. Just individual networks subject to overload and erratic behavior.

Related Links: WiFi vs. Cellular

  1. WiFi vs. Cellular = Home Automation vs. Property Automation
  2. 7 Hours Per Month with No WiFi. Not Bad? Unless Your Business Depends on It.
  3. Why Would WiFi Home Automation Systems Use Cellular “Backup”?
  4. Can Home Automation Be Hacked?! Trust Cellular Over WiFi.
  5. WiFi Reset Instructions: A Great Reminder of the MAJOR Difference Between WiFi & Cellular Reliability
  6. WiFi vs. Cellular: Your WiFi Network is ALREADY Full
Visible Cellular Network

Visible Cellular Network

Visible WiFi Networks

Visible WiFi Networks

 

http://www.cellular-news.com/story/Reports/66374.php?source=rss

Squatters at the Home: The Need for Vacation Rental Smart Home Control Grows

burglar & keyIt is awesome to see how much the vacation rental industry is growing.

I read an article today that placed the value of US/Europe VR market at over $100B! And TripAdvisor has shared survey results showing almost 50% of travelers plan to stay in a vacation rental home.

Those are amazing numbers.

Such a HUGE change from when I started in the VR industry 7 years ago.

It’s amazing to see all of the great media attention – and rightly so. Vacation rental homes are a great product that offers fantastic benefits for travelers. Clearly the traveling public agrees.

However, there is a bit of a dark side to all of this growth and attention. (My 4 year old lover of Star Wars is doing cartwheels because I just mentioned the “dark side.” :))

The media focuses on the positive AND the negative, and with all of the great attention, the media spotlight is bound to be shined on the darker aspects as well.

We’ve mentioned a few troubling stories in the past:

I’m a believer that this is a good thing. Sometimes we need to be reminded of the negative in order to improve.

Crime happens. It’s part of life.

But we can do better than just brush it aside as inevitable. Invited/paying guests deserve more.

As hospitality providers, there is a standard of care that guests being welcomed into a new home expect..and deserve. And I do not believe the vacation rental industry is meeting this standard of care.

I’ve raised the vacation rental security “red flag” a number of times. I won’t repeat a tired sermon. I’ll share related links below.

Before you jump to amazing below links :), here’s the newest vacation rental security story you need to be aware of:

How often do you think this type of scenario plays out at vacation rental homes throughout the country?

I know from experience that it is much more than we (the collect VR industry) would like to admit.

How is this impacting guests? Here’s what this guest had to say:

“We couldn’t sleep, we just couldn’t relax the rest of the time we were there.We couldn’t get no peace at all.”

Obviously not a great vacation experience. I wonder if they’ll stay in a vacation rental home again.

Vacation rental security and Access Control procedures are outdated. Occupancy calendars are published online for the world to see. Keys and access codes are floating around with very little control. The system is ripe for abuse.

The solution in the squatter story was to rekey and hand out a new key. Great. Solves the immediate issue…sort of. But what happens when that new key is lost, stolen, shared, or copied? Right back where we started.

To offer another level of concern, we recently mentioned that this is the exact type of security issue that the hotel industry is seeking to attack – traditional keys and codes cannot be managed effectively, and unidentified crimes are taking place.

Real-time access control is imperative to safety and security. Hotels know this. They have had tight security and access procedures for a long time. It’s time for the the VR industry to catch-up.

VR Security

  1. Mechanical Keys: An Unnecessary Liability [White Paper]
  2. There’s a HUGE Need for Vacation Rental Security
  3. Breaking Bad: A Look at a Vacation Rental Security Loophole
  4. Floating Keys STINK, But they WERE a Necessary Evil
  5. Vacation Rental Insurance: Where Does Coverage End & Liability Begin?
  6. Where are Your Keys?! {Take Control with Smart Home Automation}
  7. Vacation Rental Security & the Art of War: Why Its Time to Make Your Homes Safe & Secure
  8. Your Vacation Homes are Targets: The New Standard of Care & Security for Vacation Rental Management