Michael Smith speaks at the MFE Conference last month.
Michael Smith speaks at the MFE Conference last month.

When most people think about future-proofing, wire—or, rather, the lack of wire—in tomorrow's apartments is top of mind. But as Mike Smith, vice president of Whitespace Building Technology, reminded attendees at the Multifamily Executive Conference in Las Vegas, there's a much broader definition that incorporates technology and data to improve the management, operations, resident experience, and capital efficiency of physical assets.

That use of technology and data could include thermostat control, unit door-lock control, window sensors, lighting control, real-time energy monitoring, leak detection, humidity/mold control, and more. Above all, buildings should operate on a dedicated network that isn’t the resident Wi-Fi network.

Both Richard Holtz, president of Infinisys, and Chris Smith, senior program manager of strategic partnerships for Google Fiber, emphasized the need for wired apartments and offered that fiber has the most capacity. For that fiber, Chris Smith emphasized the importance of installing a microduct, which provides a reusable pathway, reduced maintenance, and a lower cost.

As owners, managers, and developers weighed the different options, Holtz reminded them that consumer technology is always changing (even if the actual devices they’re using aren’t obsolete). Because of that, future-proofing is more important than ever.