When residents move in to the Towne Centre at Englewood, they can unpack to tunes blasting from their own iPods thanks to handy built-in docking stations in each unit. “Residents love the docking stations,” says Jeremy Halpern, a vice president for Atlantic Realty Development Corp., which built the 188-unit luxury rental community in New Jersey. “We got a much more excited response than I even thought we would.”
The response shouldn't be too surprising; after all, iPods have quickly become one of America's most beloved gadgets. InfiniSys Electronic Architects, a Daytona Beach, Fla.-based amenity solutions consulting and design firm, offers the docking station for both residential units and common areas such as leasing offices and clubhouses so music can easily be piped through the rooms. “As everybody offers the triple play [telephone, Internet, and TV], we have a lot of owners who are the early adaptors, and they're saying, ‘What's next?'” says Mike Whaling, InfiniSys' business development manager. “This is the next step.”
InfiniSys is installing the product in rentals and condos as either a standard offering or an upgrade option for renters and buyers. The station, which fits into the wall much like a light switch plate, is connected to a home theater system. The equipment (including installation) ranges from $300 to $500, and properties are investing in the gadget for common areas but overall have been slow to install the product in individual units, says Whaling, who expects that to change. “With as much competition as there is out there, they are looking for different ways to leave a lasting impact on a potential prospect,” he adds. An iTunes gift card is a good start.