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Smart Home Amenities Can Attract the Latest Renter Batch: Boomers

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Sean Miller


Renter populations have skewed younger for years. This makes sense considering many young Millennials and Generation Zers are renting for the flexibility it allows them to save up for their first home purchase. However, the fastest-growing renter demographic is surprising: Baby Boomers and smart home amenities can attract this latest renter batch.

With the real estate market nearing the peak set just prior to the Great Recession, Boomers are cashing in and selling their homes.

And instead of buying new ones with those profits, many are opting to rent — either to wait out an inflated market or to take advantage of flexibility and amenities that they might not be able to afford if they wanted to purchase outright at current prices.

Amenities the Aging Population Want

Many of the amenities Boomers want the most are built around the concept of “aging in place,” which is the practice of modifying a home to allow older occupants to inhabit it comfortably for as long as possible.

With nursing homes and professional care settings well outside the price range of most Boomers, a comfortable rental is often the best and most affordable option.

According to AssistedLiving.org, aging-in-place modifications include wheelchair-friendly wide doorways, ramps instead of stairs at entry and exit points, details such as safety bars and strips to prevent falls in showers and bathtubs, and flooring modifications to prevent trips and slips. Unfortunately, all of these changes can be expensive to make to a home, prompting many Boomers to look for them in a rental.

Taking Advantage of Smart Tech — Amenities Can Attract

One other set of features is almost guaranteed to grow in popularity among Boomer renters, and you might not think about it when considering accessibility or aging in place.

It’s common to think of digital natives (Gen Z in particular) as the biggest consumers of smart home tech. Still, the small advantages of smart home devices can turn into even bigger selling points for aging populations.

Smart home devices can offer just as much comfort, convenience, and safety for older occupants as they do younger ones — if not more.

In particular, smart home tech can provide these three advantages for aging residents and those who look after them:

1. Awareness.

Many seniors are more than capable of living alone, but a simple fall or accident can turn into a life-threatening event when no one is there to help. Cameras in common areas (such as a living room) help caretakers and loved ones check-in and make sure seniors are up and moving. In addition, many options allow for two-way communication if a resident isn’t picking up a phone or responding to messages.

These devices could very well save a life in an emergency situation, and they’re even more important for residents who have dementia and are prone to wandering away from the safety and comfort of home. Monitored life safety services — such as smoke and carbon dioxide alarms and security systems — also add an extra layer of protection for older residents.

2. Savings.

Many seniors are on a fixed income, so saving money on utilities means a lot. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration data, U.S. households spent an average of $115.49 per month on energy in 2019. Heating and cooling amount to nearly half of that expense, which is why smart thermostats represent a good investment.

These energy-saving devices can reduce a home’s heating bill by up to 12% and its cooling costs by as much as 15%. In addition, many of the smart devices nowadays adapt to a resident’s schedule over time and adjust the temperature settings while the home is vacant. This meaning the savings happen automatically without impacting anyone’s comfort level.

3. Convenience.

Saving money is nice, but convenience might be even more important for older residents who aren’t as mobile as they used to be. “Curb-to-couch” technology such as keyless entry can allow Boomers to let in deliveries or guests without having to walk to the front door. Likewise, voice assistants let them adjust the thermostat, turn on the TV, and play their favorite music without having to get up.

In addition, wearable devices bring the convenience of voice assistants on residents’ wrists and help monitor important vitals such as blood, oxygen, and pulse. These technologies might not seem groundbreaking, but they can have a big impact on a senior’s quality of life when used together.

Easy Essentials Boomers Ask For

Knowing that Boomers are interested in the safety, savings, and convenience of smart home technology, property owners should take specific steps to appeal to this growing demographic of renters. The Boomers want easy devices they don’t have to fuss with — and neither will you. Boomers want “set and go” tech and you can provide it.

The devices provide the baseline smart home technology that the property owner should install before a resident moves in. In addition, they provide a base set of aging-in-place services and allow residents to enhance their experience with add-on devices such as interior cameras, wearables, and voice assistants.

Include these “asked for amenities” with your smart home suite of amenity offerings to attract your very own boomers — and the older millennials who demand these extras too.

· Thermostats: Save money, keep residents comfortable, and stay ahead of maintenance needs to avoid more significant costs.

· Leak sensors: Monitor common leak areas such as toilets and dishwashers to avoid major damage or mold growth that can threaten health.

· Water flow valves: Make sure low-pressure leaks don’t go unnoticed, lead to exorbitant water bills, and cause residents to be displaced.

· Touch screen control: Provides reliable connectivity via cellular, improves control with an easy-to-use touchscreen, and enables optional services like monitored life safety.

· Curb-to-couch keyless access: Lets residents easily grant access to service providers and guests, and a complete access history provides transparency and security.

Conclusion

A baseline investment in smart home tech can be a savvy strategy for property managers to attract as many potential renters as possible.

Pick a smart property platform that has the products and service providers you need to allow a unit to flex and appeal to all kinds of different residents.

As the number of Boomer renters grows, smart technology choices can be the difference between a happily-occupied property and a frustrating vacancy for owners.

Image Credit: marcus aurelius; pexels; thank you!

Sean Miller

President of PointCentral

Sean Miller is president of PointCentral, the leader in property automation solutions for long-term and short-term managers of single- and multi-family rental properties. He has 10 years of experience with IoT/home automation tech.

Politics

Fintech Kennek raises $12.5M seed round to digitize lending

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Google eyed for $2 billion Anthropic deal after major Amazon play


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!

Radek Zielinski

Radek Zielinski is an experienced technology and financial journalist with a passion for cybersecurity and futurology.

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Politics

Fortune 500’s race for generative AI breakthroughs

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Deanna Ritchie


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!

Deanna Ritchie

Managing Editor at ReadWrite

Deanna is the Managing Editor at ReadWrite. Previously she worked as the Editor in Chief for Startup Grind and has over 20+ years of experience in content management and content development.

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Politics

UK seizes web3 opportunity simplifying crypto regulations

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Deanna Ritchie


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!

Deanna Ritchie

Managing Editor at ReadWrite

Deanna is the Managing Editor at ReadWrite. Previously she worked as the Editor in Chief for Startup Grind and has over 20+ years of experience in content management and content development.

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