The Right Use of Internet Technology

The Right Use of Internet Technology

By Marcy Kravit, CMCA, AMS, PCAM, CFCAM / Published July 2022

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Technology has made our lives easier, so it makes sense that community associations would choose an internet provider that outperforms their obligations. 

     The COVID-19 pandemic shifted residents’ use of the internet for entertainment, gaming, and surfing the web to now being mission critical for work from home, online schooling, remote healthcare, and numerous other applications and services. While many have scrambled to adjust to virtual applications and video conferencing, it is abundantly clear that the internet has become a staple of our lives. 

     It is the responsibility of every community association to ensure that their residents enjoy the most technologically advanced, cost-effective telecommunications services available today, while ensuring that there is a focus on providing white-glove service to residents. It is also imperative that the provider’s network is scalable to meet future technological demands. 

     While the technological revolution was changing the way we lived as residents before the COVID-19 pandemic started, the virus forced us to utilize technology more than ever before!

     Boards and managers are getting on board; whether or not there is a global crisis, a pandemic, or a hurricane, it is the manager’s and board’s job to maintain the property and provide a positive, safe, and engaging environment for residents, which requires innovative technology.

     There are many opportunities for the use of technology in community associations. Some of the most common uses are communication tools such as email blasts, community websites, and electronic voting, all of which may be very beneficial to community associations.

     Dedicated, integrated automation; fiber optics technology; and wireless connectivity access are becoming increasingly popular and a necessity. The internet is now considered a utility in the industry. Your household may only consist of one or two people; however, it could be hosting 10–15 devices: laptops, cellphones, gaming consoles, smart TVs, gadgets, you name it.

     With businesses offering remote work and/or flexible schedule options, many of the community’s residents now have the opportunity to work from home. Improved technology in your community can offer tremendous benefits to staying informed, being connected, and achieving new levels of efficiency and productivity. 

     Here are just a few of the items in your community that require access to a reliable internet connection: 

  • Valet, package tracking
  • Wi-Fi in the common areas (i.e., beach, pickleball/tennis courts, poolside, smart gyms, and the clubhouse)
  • Access control, checking in guests
  • Tracking maintenance requests
  • Viewing payments
  • Ability to broadcast voice or text messages to all residents at the click of a button
  • Smart notifications (i.e., maintenance request updates, amenity reservations, permission-to-enter instructions, and other requests)
  • Access to all relevant documents in one place
  • Smart home features: TV, voice, security, lights, etc. 
  • Streaming
  • Security cameras
  • Leak detection
  • Irrigation sensors
  • Automation of equipment
  • Zoom meetings
  • Community portals/channels—interactive community portals with features that allow you to communicate easily with residents and inform your residents about upcoming events, community news, contact information, important announcements, and much more! 
  • Integration with Amazon Alexa features

Future-proof infrastructure

     By definition, fiber is a single, incredibly thin but highly durable strand of glass or plastic thread that transmits data at the speed of light. It is the fastest way currently available to transmit data. 

     Fiber-optics technology is futureproof, meaning no matter how much service needs increase in the years to come, fiber optics networks have the scalability necessary to upgrade in accordance with the highest levels of performance.

     To keep up with this evolution, fiber/fiber-to-the-home is the clear answer 

  • Fiber offers reliable, functional, and expandable internet service by fully utilizing the bandwidth that is only possible through fiber. Built with future-proof technology, no matter how many users or devices are on the network—and as more devices start to require more band-width to function—fiber will be ready. 
  • We are transitioning from an era defined by megabits to one in which gigabit connectivity is unleashed. With fiber, there is scalability up to 10G and beyond!

     Since optical fiber is the basis of the world’s communications networks, its extreme capacity can support today’s broadband needs and those in the future. Positioning your community for the future demands of technology could be crucial to staying resilient to these changes. Demands for faster bandwidth will only grow exponentially as we transform into smart cities, adapt for autonomous vehicles, and continue to see advancements into the multitude of “internet of things” (IoT).

Benefits for your community 

  • Fiber-to-the-home offers residents dedicated bandwidth and consistent internet speeds directly to their home. 
  • Fiber-to-the-home networks: Internet usage and connected devices are not affected by number of neighbors using internet or peak usage.
  • Highest speeds, lowest latency, scalable bandwidth.

The Need for Speed

How do your residents use the internet?

     Different online activities use different amounts of bandwidth. Online gaming takes more speed than checking your email.

Internet bandwidth vs. speed

     Internet speed and bandwidth are often used interchangeably, but they’re not exactly the same thing. If the internet is a road and data are the cars, speed is how fast the cars travel, and bandwidth is the number of open lanes. So, say you have 100 data cars all going the same speed—you’ll get your data faster if those cars are traveling on a five-lane highway compared to a one-lane back road. Upload speeds tell you how fast you can send data out to the internet, while download speeds tell you how fast you can pull data from the internet. Fiber optics to the home provide a dedicated connection. At peak times, no one is sharing! 

     As we continue to rely on technology more and more in almost everything we do, we should expect to see community associations also increase their use of technology. If done so responsibly, with the right internet provider and with proper planning and consideration, the use of technology will allow community associations to increase member participation in association matters and promote the flow and increase of information to members. 

Marcy Kravit, CMCA, AMS, PCAM, CFCAM

Education Program Director

     Marcy Kravit has 20-plus years’ experience managing community associations in South Florida. She has established a reputation as being passionate about service, driven by challenges, and undeterred by obstacles. Marcy is committed to providing five-star service and educating others in raising the level of professionalism in the industry. She works for Hotwire as director of community association relations. Marcy has earned every higher education credential offered by CAI and is recognized by Florida Community Association Professionals (FCAP) as a CFCAM. Marcy is a contributing writer to the Florida Community Association Journal (FLCAJ) and serves FCAP as their education program director.