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How to build a smart multifamily building

Electronic locks. Smart thermostats. Mobile-controlled security. They’re all part of the ‘smart building trend’ – sometimes referred to as ‘automated buildings’, ‘intelligent buildings, or ‘connected buildings’.

What is a smart building? 

Drawing on devices connected to the internet, a smart building uses automation protocols to manage and control building systems – such as HVAC or lighting. For example, when you present your keycard to an access reader, the reader can then talk to the building controller and turn on the air conditioning and entry light for your apartment. 

Smart buildings are ultimately focused on improving efficiencies, comfort, and performance of buildings, creating more sustainable and convenient environments for their occupants. 

Increasing ROI while reducing inefficiencies? We’ll take that. But where do we start?  


The amount of Gen Z tenants that said smart locks and smart thermostats are more important than having a spare bedroom


The amount of Millennial tenants who are willing to pay 20% more for a home with smart tech, like electronic access, keyless locks, mobile-controlled security etc.


The amount of all multifamily tenants who said they should be able to send a direct message or use an app to deal with any maintenance requests


Creating a smart building goes beyond trendy technologies or answering the door with your phone. So, what does it involve? 

The system  

First things first is the brains of the building – in ICT’s case, this would be Protege WX, Protege X, or Protege GX. Choosing your system is the most important step as the type of functionality and features it brings is what will make your building truly intelligent. ICT has built-in features like elevator control and building automation integration to create seamless environments where a tenants' convenience is as important as their security.

The perimeter 

Intercoms have been used to call apartments for decades but this can result in tenants allowing access to unwanted visitors, as it’s hard to verify who’s on the other side. Modern video intercom solutions, like ICT’s Entry Station paired with Tenancy Portal and the Protege Mobile App, allow tenants to confirm who’s there and let their guests or service people into the building without even having to leave their apartment.

High-security access readers, like ICT’s tSec and TSL Card Readers ensure that only those with permission are able to access the building. With built-in support for Bluetooth® and NFC, you can offer property managers and their tenants a mobile-controlled access and security solution. No need to juggle keys, cards, or apps with ICT’s Mobile Credentials and one card solution.

Garage access 

ICT’s Wireless 433MHz product range allows you to open your garage or gate from a distance without even rolling down your window. These transmitters can integrate with Protege's building automation features, enabling a single button press to open the gate and activate the garage lights. Additionally, the transmitter is available with an optional DESFire, MIFARE, or HID compatible proximity device, making it suitable for standard door access. 

Don’t want to carry around a fob? No problem with integrated Automatic License Plate Recognition. Cameras automatically scan the license plate as the vehicle drives up to the gate and allow or deny access based on the pre-programmed access rights. Seamless. 

Interior access 

Locking solutions like Protege Wireless Locks – or for those outside of North America, an integrated wireless lock – can enable freedom of movement inside, while keeping unwanted visitors out. With a sleek and refined aesthetic to elevate the look of any building, wireless locks provide the ability to deploy future-proofed electronic access control where traditional wired locks may be difficult or uneconomical. 

Unified solution 

An entire apartment complex, one pane of glass. ICT’s unified solution brings together access control, intrusion detection, and building automation into a singular cohesive ecosystem. One system means no security risks from different databases while the who, what, when, and where are all tied together bringing much needed context and allowing property managers to get into the granular details. 

At ICT, we realize everyone’s needs are different which is why we believe that open but secure technology is a fundamental part of creating a full solution. Whether you need to bring in wireless sensors, smart lights and thermostats, or even your own custom bespoke solution, it’s easily done with off the shelf integrations and our custom integration tools

Looking to create modern multifamily buildings?