Outfitting a connected home is a lot less thrilling when you’re renting, but your next place might come with hardware already installed. Remotely works directly with property managers to have smart home setups installed in bulk and then managed in a single app.
The service, which officially launches today, aims to provide benefits to both owners and renters. For instance, property managers could use the Remotely app to unlock the door for maintenance workers or to safeguard units against frozen pipes during the winter.
Renters get the convenience, utility, and energy savings of a connected home without having to pay for the hardware. Owners have been known to charge as much as 10 percent more in rent for Remotely-connected properties during the beta phase, though, which means the costs could trickle down to tenants. Renters also have the downside of knowing that owners can check on the house at any time, but it’s not much different from management having a master key.
Remotely, a spin-off of Rentbits, doesn’t actually provide the hardware for the setup, instead working with vendors to support more than 1,000 smart home hubs and devices. The startup does, however, help owners by pairing its app with supported lock, light and thermostat products before shipping them to owners for easier installation.
In addition to hardware costs, property managers pay Remotely a monthly service fee that starts at $9.95 a unit.
When I asked Remotely CEO Dan Daugherty whether Remotely is available to individual renters and home owners, he replied that the company is focused on selling to the rental management industry.
“We’ve had a lot of homeowners ask for us to put Remotely in their houses and we’ve actually turned them away,” Daugherty said. “We think we can get to scale faster by selling to apartment communities 100 at a time.”
Most of the smart home companies that we’ve seen have focused on selling directly to consumers, so Remotely is taking a different approach. At launch, the service won’t affect most people, but you can keep an eye out for the company the next time you rent an apartment.