The need for cost-saving solutions in the home is becoming more and more apparent as inflation, the aftermath of the pandemic and a war cause utility bills to rise. Because of this, we’re witnessing greater reliance on IoT technology designed to find efficiencies, such as water or energy consumption, in the household.
In the realm of large multifamily developments, the use of IoT has become a widespread solution. In recent years, proptech has revolutionized how these buildings operate, becoming an essential tool for environmental measures, business sustainability and growth. The popularity of IoT technology in this accommodation sector is largely due to its ability to address major operational pain points, such as operating costs, guest satisfaction, and retention.
Commonly, multifamily properties can be subject to maintenance inefficiencies, specifically water leaks. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, up to 10% of US properties have ongoing and unnoticed water leaks, which each waste over 90 gallons a day. On a larger scale, such as in a multifamily operation, these issues can lead to significant losses and a considerable waste of water resources. Every day in the US alone, 14,000 homes are being damaged by water. Not to mention, that the average cost of water-related insurance claims have risen from $6,965 in 2013 to $9,700 in 2020 — that’s a 33% increase.
Luckily, smart home technology has been designed to address these pain points, and reduce the risk of costly bills and damages.
What is a water management solution?
Many property managers have begun to rely on smart water management systems. The technology uses a range of WiFi-connected IoT devices, including leak sensors, shut-off valves, and water monitoring software, that provide feedback to a single management platform, accessible remotely via a mobile app. These devices work collaboratively to prevent leaks from escalating into costly issues, with either the system itself being able to act by shutting off the water supply using smart water valves or by sending alerts to the property manager and maintenance team so the problem can be addressed before it’s too late.
Receiving instant notifications when problems, like small leaks, are flagged by the intelligent IoT system allows property managers to switch their maintenance approach from reactive to proactive, as they’re able to send maintenance personnel to assess leaks as soon as they arise — minimizing water wastage and damage.
A connected maintenance system, such as this, provides property managers with greater control over their properties. They gain complete oversight of water consumption, preventative maintenance issues and insight into cost-saving opportunities.
The benefits of a smart water management solution
A study by Flo in 2020 found a direct correlation between the installation of smart water solutions and fewer low-severity insurance claims, with a 96% decline in water leak claims paid to households with smart water management technology installed. Considering that the national average claim for non-weather-related water damage is $9,700, installing smart tech can lead to huge cost savings.
Despite potential hesitations in the current economic climate, property managers should prioritize installing smart water management systems, even if they currently lack any water management devices. The cost of implementing these solutions is relatively low in comparison to the average cost of a single episode of water damage (nearly $10,000), making it a highly cost-effective investment with a rapid return on investment (ROI). The implementation of smart water technology can lead to substantial savings in costs associated with early leak detection and damage limitation.
As water management solutions minimize property damage through proactive maintenance, this also offers residents a better living experience as they’re less likely to be inconvenienced by long-term maintenance work and damage to their belongings. This in itself can boost property revenue as happy residents are more likely to renew their leases.
Another major benefit of water management solutions is that they reduce water waste. At a time when business owners will be looking closely at their bottom line, a solution such as this can make a considerable difference. What’s more, having a sustainable approach to water management will appeal to residents, with a 2022 study finding that, for 43% of residents, sustainable features were a factor in their choice of multifamily apartments.
How do IoT water devices work?
Currently, many water sensors on the market are being upgraded so that they are more cost-effective. IoT solutions (wireless technologies) now play a central role, meaning these systems no longer need to rely on ‘sensor ropes’ or ‘probes’ to detect regular leaks, though these tools are still required for detecting water leaks in hard-to-reach areas and to gain wider coverage.
Modern contact sensors are equipped with Z-Wave Plus — low-power radio waves that travel through walls, floors and furniture, which communicate with a smart control module that can be installed more quickly and in a wider variety of locations.
Water sensors are designed to work in tandem with smart water valves and meters. These devices identify low and high-volume water leaks throughout a building and monitor overall water use, helping operators and owners reduce the risk of losses from water emergencies, while also improving water conservation efforts at the property and resident level. This means that property managers (and residents) don’t have to worry about coming back to a water-damaged home, with the system taking full control and being able to automatically shut off the water supply at the main water valve. The system can be configured to shut off water supply in a variety of scenarios – in case of small, medium or large water leaks.” A study from PointCentral found that a multifamily operator could save $2,000 each year in insurance fees by fitting smart water management technology to a main serving 30 units.
The system is most efficient when all devices work collaboratively. The IoT meters and valves that are part of this tech family are designed to work in harmony and are intelligent enough to detect anomalies such as extended water flow or when unusually large volumes of water begin flowing through the pipes — all prompting immediate reports on mobile devices. The meters can recognize excessive water usage, dangerous temperature drops that may freeze pipes, dripping faucets and toilets that are running continually.
Yet it’s the smart water sensor that continues to be more popular than the valves and meters. A possible reason for this is that property managers view sensors as a necessity and smart valves and meters as a luxury. While cost considerations are understandable, investing only in sensors can have drawbacks. When issues are detected, the system does not automatically resolve them. Property managers are, instead, at the mercy of maintenance engineers, their availability and response times, which may lead to prolonged downtime and additional costs. Smart water management has already provided a solution to this problem that pays for itself making it a worthwhile investment for any property manager.
Fintech Kennek raises $12.5M seed round to digitize lending
London-based fintech startup Kennek has raised $12.5 million in seed funding to expand its lending operating system.
According to an Oct. 10 tech.eu report, the round was led by HV Capital and included participation from Dutch Founders Fund, AlbionVC, FFVC, Plug & Play Ventures, and Syndicate One. Kennek offers software-as-a-service tools to help non-bank lenders streamline their operations using open banking, open finance, and payments.
The platform aims to automate time-consuming manual tasks and consolidate fragmented data to simplify lending. Xavier De Pauw, founder of Kennek said:
“Until kennek, lenders had to devote countless hours to menial operational tasks and deal with jumbled and hard-coded data – which makes every other part of lending a headache. As former lenders ourselves, we lived and breathed these frustrations, and built kennek to make them a thing of the past.”
The company said the latest funding round was oversubscribed and closed quickly despite the challenging fundraising environment. The new capital will be used to expand Kennek’s engineering team and strengthen its market position in the UK while exploring expansion into other European markets. Barbod Namini, Partner at lead investor HV Capital, commented on the investment:
“Kennek has developed an ambitious and genuinely unique proposition which we think can be the foundation of the entire alternative lending space. […] It is a complicated market and a solution that brings together all information and stakeholders onto a single platform is highly compelling for both lenders & the ecosystem as a whole.”
The fintech lending space has grown rapidly in recent years, but many lenders still rely on legacy systems and manual processes that limit efficiency and scalability. Kennek aims to leverage open banking and data integration to provide lenders with a more streamlined, automated lending experience.
The seed funding will allow the London-based startup to continue developing its platform and expanding its team to meet demand from non-bank lenders looking to digitize operations. Kennek’s focus on the UK and Europe also comes amid rising adoption of open banking and open finance in the regions.
Featured Image Credit: Photo from Kennek.io; Thank you!
Fortune 500’s race for generative AI breakthroughs
As excitement around generative AI grows, Fortune 500 companies, including Goldman Sachs, are carefully examining the possible applications of this technology. A recent survey of U.S. executives indicated that 60% believe generative AI will substantially impact their businesses in the long term. However, they anticipate a one to two-year timeframe before implementing their initial solutions. This optimism stems from the potential of generative AI to revolutionize various aspects of businesses, from enhancing customer experiences to optimizing internal processes. In the short term, companies will likely focus on pilot projects and experimentation, gradually integrating generative AI into their operations as they witness its positive influence on efficiency and profitability.
Goldman Sachs’ Cautious Approach to Implementing Generative AI
In a recent interview, Goldman Sachs CIO Marco Argenti revealed that the firm has not yet implemented any generative AI use cases. Instead, the company focuses on experimentation and setting high standards before adopting the technology. Argenti recognized the desire for outcomes in areas like developer and operational efficiency but emphasized ensuring precision before putting experimental AI use cases into production.
According to Argenti, striking the right balance between driving innovation and maintaining accuracy is crucial for successfully integrating generative AI within the firm. Goldman Sachs intends to continue exploring this emerging technology’s potential benefits and applications while diligently assessing risks to ensure it meets the company’s stringent quality standards.
One possible application for Goldman Sachs is in software development, where the company has observed a 20-40% productivity increase during its trials. The goal is for 1,000 developers to utilize generative AI tools by year’s end. However, Argenti emphasized that a well-defined expectation of return on investment is necessary before fully integrating generative AI into production.
To achieve this, the company plans to implement a systematic and strategic approach to adopting generative AI, ensuring that it complements and enhances the skills of its developers. Additionally, Goldman Sachs intends to evaluate the long-term impact of generative AI on their software development processes and the overall quality of the applications being developed.
Goldman Sachs’ approach to AI implementation goes beyond merely executing models. The firm has created a platform encompassing technical, legal, and compliance assessments to filter out improper content and keep track of all interactions. This comprehensive system ensures seamless integration of artificial intelligence in operations while adhering to regulatory standards and maintaining client confidentiality. Moreover, the platform continuously improves and adapts its algorithms, allowing Goldman Sachs to stay at the forefront of technology and offer its clients the most efficient and secure services.
Featured Image Credit: Photo by Google DeepMind; Pexels; Thank you!
UK seizes web3 opportunity simplifying crypto regulations
As Web3 companies increasingly consider leaving the United States due to regulatory ambiguity, the United Kingdom must simplify its cryptocurrency regulations to attract these businesses. The conservative think tank Policy Exchange recently released a report detailing ten suggestions for improving Web3 regulation in the country. Among the recommendations are reducing liability for token holders in decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) and encouraging the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to adopt alternative Know Your Customer (KYC) methodologies, such as digital identities and blockchain analytics tools. These suggestions aim to position the UK as a hub for Web3 innovation and attract blockchain-based businesses looking for a more conducive regulatory environment.
Streamlining Cryptocurrency Regulations for Innovation
To make it easier for emerging Web3 companies to navigate existing legal frameworks and contribute to the UK’s digital economy growth, the government must streamline cryptocurrency regulations and adopt forward-looking approaches. By making the regulatory landscape clear and straightforward, the UK can create an environment that fosters innovation, growth, and competitiveness in the global fintech industry.
The Policy Exchange report also recommends not weakening self-hosted wallets or treating proof-of-stake (PoS) services as financial services. This approach aims to protect the fundamental principles of decentralization and user autonomy while strongly emphasizing security and regulatory compliance. By doing so, the UK can nurture an environment that encourages innovation and the continued growth of blockchain technology.
Despite recent strict measures by UK authorities, such as His Majesty’s Treasury and the FCA, toward the digital assets sector, the proposed changes in the Policy Exchange report strive to make the UK a more attractive location for Web3 enterprises. By adopting these suggestions, the UK can demonstrate its commitment to fostering innovation in the rapidly evolving blockchain and cryptocurrency industries while ensuring a robust and transparent regulatory environment.
The ongoing uncertainty surrounding cryptocurrency regulations in various countries has prompted Web3 companies to explore alternative jurisdictions with more precise legal frameworks. As the United States grapples with regulatory ambiguity, the United Kingdom can position itself as a hub for Web3 innovation by simplifying and streamlining its cryptocurrency regulations.
Featured Image Credit: Photo by Jonathan Borba; Pexels; Thank you!