Co-living has received billions in funding in the past few years. Renters are changing the way they look at their apartments just as office space has reinvented how it operates with co-working. ThomDigital Group had the opportunity to help the world’s largest co-living provider expand into the US, providing solutions for wifi, access control, and security.
Quarters co-living, formerly Medici Living, had over 150 beds in the US, with another 400 in the pipeline (pre-Covid-19). They provide fully furnished, flexible term, community-driven apartments. Recently they opened their most latest property in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, NY which offered a rooftop, movie theatre, and co-working area.
Quarters wanted their product offering of IT to stand out. They prioritized security and safety for their tenants and ease of management for their operations team. It was also important that the brand can adapt as the and grow. These thoughts were all wrapped under the blanket of cost and return on investment for the IT infrastructure.
The 3 things we needed to keep in mind during the design phase:
- Quarter’s IT management was based in Berlin. Without any US-based IT or project management staff, they would need remote capability for troubleshooting with external onsite support. We implemented a network stack with great visibility and troubleshooting options to make this work.
- Ensuring the safety of the members of the building was not just an amenity, but a necessity for the brand. We conducted a proper review of the telecommunications plan to cover all areas with a cloud-based CCTV system. We also added access control on all of the entrances, exits, and apartment doors that offered real-time remote access and backlog reports on use.
- Customer connectivity is key. There were over 180 beds spread over the two buildings. It was imperative to ensure the residents had optimal internet connectivity at all times as this was a brand identifier. Confirming the appropriate hardware was spaced throughout the space and ensured minimal downtime for the operations team.
Surveying, planning, vendor management, hardware supply, and security management were the five areas we focused on. For a typical multi-family building, the responsibility would be on the tenant to set up the internet. However, in a co-living model, Quarters manages all the utilities on their behalf. We designed the telecommunications plan and deployed over 75 access points and 50 cameras across 2 interconnected buildings.
We started with the ISP vendor, and negotiated an appropriate bandwidth size, and set up a backup as a standard. Next, we made hardware recommendations based upon their needs and brand promises. From there we planned out the locations of all the hardware, created a purchasing schedule for the equipment, oversaw the low voltage installation. Lastly, we installed and programmed all the hardware for their internal IT team to manage from their headquarters in Berlin. Upon completion, we walked their team through the platform and handed over all appropriate documents.
Update on this article: As of Mid 2020, Quarters has filed bankruptcy for their US operations. The building still operates with ownership looking at several options on how to release the property.