70% Of Students Wouldn’t Be Able To Cope Without Internet Access
Integrating smart technology into purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) is a key issue for providers, operators, higher education institutions and their wider communities, as more students expect accommodation that can fulfil their internet access expectations.
In partnership with The Class of 2020, the leading European think tank focused on the past, present and future of co-living, co-working and PBSA in cities, fibre broadband specialist Glide has developed a research plan to study student and staff perceptions and attitudes of current and prospective applications of smart technology among residents and staff living and working in PBSA.
The research is also supported by YouGov Profiles insight on full time students’ attitudes to smart tech and examined the impact of smart tech across the different stages of a student’s residency.
The research found that students are taking the lead in early adoption of smart tech, with 57% claiming they are usually interested in trying the latest technology products, services, and apps, compared to 40% of the GB nat rep audience.
A super-fast and reliable service is key for this audience, as 80% claim super-fast broadband is important to them and a further 70% admit they wouldn’t be able to cope without internet access.
Smart tech and the rise in voice assistants is also changing the way that students study – rather than trawling the university libraries, 88% of respondents say the internet is their main source of information, and 50% believe that using cloud storage (like DropBox, or Google drive) is just as secure as saving documents to a computer or phone.
Nearly half (48%) of students believe that being able to give verbal commands to a digital assistant is a real time-saver – indicating that the traditional methods of studying are very much in the past.
With this in mind, it is important for PBSA providers to ensure that its network can cope with the hundreds of user devices trying to stream and connect simultaneously.
By making building connectivity and infrastructure future-proof, student accommodation developers and building operators can meet their objective – they can continue to be at the forefront of constantly shifting technologies and focus on meeting the demands of a modern high bandwidth student community.
The research also found that smart tech could play a key part in ensuring students feel settled and comfortable during their first weeks following arrival.
When asked what smart tech they would find useful ahead of arriving at their new student accommodation, 94% of respondents felt an online room view would be useful, and over one in three (35%) say smart tech assisting them in the booking of common or shared study and social spaces would be helpful.
Implementing smart tech to feel more safe and secure was key for students during the pre-arrival stage of university, with nearly two thirds (65%) of respondents claiming a smart security system, such as smart keys, would be useful.
Most useful aspects that smart tech could support with on arrival:
● Online room view (94%)
● Smart security (65%)
● Smart intercom (59%)
● Smart accommodation entry (59%)
● Self check in systems (18%)
Interestingly, less than one in five (18%) would prefer a self check-in system, with respondents claiming that although they would be interested in smart security systems, they also wanted the reassurance of having a physical person at reception for further security and any emergency assistance required.
As well as helping students settle in during the pre-arrival stage, the research also looked at the aspects where students felt smart tech would help them live more comfortably during their residency.
Unsurprisingly, convenience was key, with the majority of students claiming that having connected services to help with laundry, cooking and creating a comfortable living environment would be the most useful.
Smart tech that students thought would be the most useful during their residence:
● Smart Laundry System (94%)
● Smart Environmental Control (88%)
● Study room availability monitoring (88%)
● Residence App (88%)
● Smart Kitchen amenities (35%)
Tom White, Sales and Marketing Director at Glide, said: “Moving into purpose-built student accommodation is a lifestyle choice. Modern PBSA should not just deliver spaces to sleep in – they should be environments that inspire and enhance the lifestyle of the student.
“With the rise of streaming, and the increase in the number of courses that rely on a high speed internet connection, student accommodation providers need to ensure that accommodation can service the needs of its residents.
“We recently became the first student broadband specialist to offer a gigabit broadband connection to PBSA developers, offering a product that presents a unique opportunity for UK operators to leap ahead of the competition with the right brand of student experience and best-in-class student broadband.”