How the Smart Student is Moulding PropTech Expectations

By: Amelia Woolard

Young adult operates a smart home using a tablet. Young adult operates a smart home using a tablet. Young adult operates a smart home using a tablet. Young adult operates a smart home using a tablet.

Student accommodation is booming across Britain. More than 220,000 UK students now study away from home, up from five years ago. To accommodate the rise in student numbers, Cushman & Wakefield predicts that 17,000 more beds will be added to the national stock of student housing by the end of this academic year.

It's a good time to be in student housing. It's even better if your student housing facilities are equipped with smart technology.

While not yet widespread in student accommodations, smart home amenities are poised to become the rule, not the exception, in future university housing. That’s because today's "smart students" are increasingly familiar with technology and will expect it in future purpose-built student accommodations (PBSAs).

Here’s a look at how the smart student is evolving in the United Kingdom and where this persona will take student accommodation development in the near future.

The University Experience of the Future

UK students grow up with technology at their fingertips. When they aren’t using computers, tablets, or smartphones at home, they encounter technology in the classroom, where it plays a fundamental role in their educational experience.

The UK education system is a world leader when it comes to implementing technology in the classroom. Even post-pandemic, UK schools continue to deliver lessons that can be digested remotely. Thirty-nine percent of UK schools still develop remote-friendly content, compared to 24% of schools globally. Computer use is also linked to higher levels of reading comprehension.

Thanks to the UK government’s curriculum overhaul in 2014, modern information and communications technology (ICT) instruction has shifted its focus from word processing to computer programming. Alongside Microsoft Word, it’s common to find coding in modern curriculums.

Therefore, it's no wonder that UK students are increasingly expecting a high-tech approach to student accommodation.

Even students who don’t yet expect smart home functionality in their homes understand that housing costs are rising. This can fuel students’ desire to “get their money’s worth” with elevated proptech experiences.

The right proptech can remove friction on-site and automate certain tasks, freeing site teams from mundane tasks. When teams are given greater flexibility in their roles, they have more time and resources to dedicate to their student residents. This results in a heightened university experience overall.

PropTech for PBSAs

PBSAs are a long way from being totally automated, yet, some universities are already on their way. Door fobs are one amenity gaining popularity in PBSAs. SmartRent partner TLJ Access Control has deployed smart locks to multiple developments under student accommodation providers Nido Student and true student.

TLJ smart locks enable keyless access by allowing students to enter their homes using their smartphones. When paired with a platform like SmartRent, students and operators alike can better manage access to unit doors during periods of occupancy or vacancy.

For PBSAs that want to go beyond the smart lock, there are other solutions on the market that mesh well with student accommodation:

  • Managed WiFi: Provide students the connectivity they need for academic success (and plenty of streaming) with managed Internet access, which fortifies existing connections and prevents service interruptions.

  • Smart thermostats: Reduce utility bills community-wide and empower students to make smarter utility decisions with smart thermostats. Set parameters for use while allowing students to override pre-set settings as needed.

Get Smart with SmartRent

From early education to university, technology plays a dominant role in education. Consequently, the smart student has greatly influenced expectations in uni housing.

As we look ahead to 2023, it’s a great time to begin considering how to boost PBSAs and appeal to smart students with smart technology.

SmartRent makes it easy to equip your student accommodations with in-demand smart home features. Request a demo and allow our team to provide a customised view of how our solutions can help meet your needs.