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Adding Data to Gut Instincts

May 2020

The arrival of both big data and 5G wireless networks will help boost the decision-making process.

For decades, developers have relied on their gut instincts to help craft new housing. Over the past decade, big data has complemented those instincts.

Craig Webb reports for Multifamily Executive that powerful computers and networks are making it possible “to combine data points into a much sharper portrait of a property’s prospects.” As an example, he pointed to a McKinsey report showing that Seattle apartment buildings within a mile of specialty grocery stores like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s appreciated faster during the past decade than other apartments.

“Other influencers that developers might not typically factor include the number of cafes within a mile of the building and the quality of Yelp ratings for nearby restaurants. Taken together, such nontraditional variables can provide up to 60 percent of the ‘predictive power’ when a developer calculates a site’s potential, McKinsey says,” Webb wrote.

The arrival of both big data and 5G wireless networks will help boost the decision-making process, according to Webb. While speeding up their residents’ devices, these data connections will also enable the Internet of Things.

Inside these smart buildings, residents “will find it easier to adjust thermostats and other controls to save on heating and air conditioning,” Webb writes. “Lights will switch on only as needed. Facial recognition software will make the building more secure. Monitors on core systems will alert maintenance crews when equipment is nearing a breakdown. And motion detectors will help landlords determine which amenities—including the BYOB bars—are getting the most use.”

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