As Verizon Enhanced Communities deploys FiOS into a growing number of multifamily units (the company is aiming to optic into some 5 million apartments by the end of the year), the possibilities of exploiting bandwidth for more than just resident voice, video, and data service are becoming readily apparent.
Developed and supported by Dania Beach, Fla.-based Simplikate, Verizon Concierge is the first of what Verizon Enhanced Communities hopes is a series of front- and back-end FiOS applications for multifamily property managers and their residents that moves beyond the triple play. Verizon Enhanced Communities vice president Eric Cevis sat down with Multifamily Executive senior editor Chris Wood for a full download on the Verizon Concierge system and what other application deployments we might see next in the FiOS arena.
MFE: So what exactly is the Verizon Concierge system?
CEVIS: Verizon Concierge organizes a community’s available concierge amenities under one master platform and interface to automate repetitive tasks and allow the building staff to focus on providing a more personalized service to occupants. It also allows a building's occupants to communicate with each other to set up carpools or clubs; have quick and easy access to schedule property amenities; set up services from local businesses such as dry cleaners and taxis; or make reservations at a local restaurant or place a takeout order.
MFE: How did Verizon end up partnering with Simplikate?
CEVIS: We originally sold their Techcierge product as an incremental cost to our FiOS customers, but then began considering opening things up from the application side and offering it on a wholesale model free of charge but at a little bit less robust of a level. It’s not as fully customizable, but it still gives people the ability to look at package tracking and delivery; automate visitor sign-ins; order from local restaurants; or schedule dry cleaning services. Simplikate has some great national, regional, and local partnerships in that regard. But the resident alert functions have also been a big selling point, providing broadcast capability to blast messages to all residents via wireless or e-mail.
MFE: How is Verizon Concierge exploiting the FiOS bandwidth?
CEVIS: For virtual property management application software, the goal right now is really trying to find a way to that term “application.” Our FiOS product for voice, data, and video has been really well-received in the industry, but for me to really show the power of FiOS, I need to leverage the emergence of applications... what I like to call "life amenity changing applications." For residents or multifamily property managers, how can we make people's lives easier to manage and handle every day?
MFE: What are some of the back-end systems that Verizon Concierge might be able to replace, or at least integrate with?
CEVIS: Some of the work order applications we are studying look pretty cool, especially when complemented by the video camera capabilities of Simplikate. Where we either can or need to be the sole provider of a service offering, I think you’ll see us continue to evolve, but the software is also flexible enough to integrate with existing property management systems.
MFE: So what applications is Verizon Enhanced Communities looking at next, and will they be free of charge like the Concierge system?
CEVIS: Yes, hopefully Concierge is just one in a series of things that Verizon is looking at to continue to add value. Right now, we are looking at things including energy management, wellness monitoring, and security. We’ll probably look at price points down the road and study them all on individual basis—they may not all be free upgrades. But people are trying to figure out what the killer applications are that all of this bandwidth really enables. We want to take a step further beyond amazing Internet and feature-rich television experiences to converge the interoperability of applications such as Concierge. We hope it was just one of the first of many applications out of the gate.