As seen in the October 31, 2022, INCOMPAS eNewsletter.
Headquarters: Gardena, Calif.
Q: Please tell us about your company history.
Dan Terheggen founded Consolidated Smart Systems in 1973 when it was providing coin-operated laundry equipment to the multifamily market. In the 1980s, it was the first company to use smart card technology for laundry and by 2000, the company was the fifth-largest laundry provider in the country. In 2006, after a merger, the company became the third-largest laundry provider in the country and then sold the laundry division in 2008.
In 2000, the company became a DIRECTV dealer and by 2007 it was the fastest-growing dealer in the country. In 2014, the company became an Internet Service Provider (ISP) and in 2016 it introduced “InstantON” internet services. With equipment pre-installed in vacant apartments, new residents would have immediate access to broadband internet when they moved in—24/7—without having to talk with a call center agent or schedule an installation appointment. The term “instant-on” is now used nationally by the industry.
After decades of serving the multifamily market, Smartaira is on the cutting edge of providing hassle-free, community-wide managed Wi-Fi and entertainment (streaming services) in bulk and non-bulk (retail) models. These innovations are helping property owners introduce new technology-based amenities to improve net operating income and property valuations.
Q: Please tell us about company’s top executives and the work that they are doing in our industry.
Dan Terheggen is the CEO of Smartaira. He has served as president of the Multifamily Broadband Council (MBC), which represented private broadband service providers nationally. With close to 50 years of experience in the MDU market, he is recognized as a broadband and MDU industry leader and has spoken at broadband conferences around the country.
Other members of the senior management team include:
- Bob Benton, CMO
- Brian Wolverton, CTO
- Mike Stanway, COO
- Saba Hamedani, Vice President, Finance and Accounting
- Darren Child, Vice President, Product and Business Development
- Kyle Walters, Regional Vice President, Sales and Business Development
- Steve Layne, Regional Vice President, Sales and Business Development
Q: Where do you provide services?
Smartaira delivers its MDU Internet, Managed Wi-Fi, and DIRECTV STREAM solutions throughout the United States. We currently support customers in 25 States. We can service DIRECTV satellite customers in California, Arizona, Texas and Florida.
Q: What types of products and/or services do you offer your customers?
Smartaira is a national, independent ISP specializing in smarter internet and entertainment solutions for multifamily property owners and managers. Our bulk and non-bulk deployments focus on improving property values and simplifying the user experience. With a focus on increasing a property’s per-unit profitability, our experts custom engineer technology solutions designed to deliver immediate net operating income (NOI).
Our flagship managed service, Smartaira 360, provides seamless, communitywide internet connectivity with blazing-fast symmetrical speeds, enterprise security and unlimited data. Two unique features differentiate our Managed Wi-Fi solution from the competition: Property Management System integration for automated provisioning and QR Code-based resident onboarding for a simplified user experience. We believe innovation, premium support and industry expertise create hassle-free amenities for property owners and managers.
1. Communitywide, Managed Wi-Fi (Smartaira 360)
2. High-speed Internet - Bulk and Non-bulk (InstantON)
3. DIRECTV (satellite)
4. DIRECT STREAM (streaming)
Q: What is your target customer base?
Our solutions are designed and optimized for multifamily implementations. We specialize in helping brownfield property owners and managers offer competitive high-speed Internet, Wi-Fi and entertainment solutions to their residents without the need to re-wire their existing cable infrastructure. Our solutions work great in greenfield communities too, especially when the services are offered as an amenity. Properties that want to improve their operational efficiency with IoT technologies, will appreciate the communitywide coverage of a Managed Wi-Fi infrastructure.
- Single-family Rental Homes
- Homeowners Associations
- Student Housing
- Senior Housing
- Mixed Use Developments
Q: What are the biggest challenges that your company faces and how is your company overcoming these challenges?
Our greatest challenge is informing property owners and managers of the benefits inherent in Managed Wi-Fi. Changing the paradigm from a traditional home-based (retail) internet model to a communitywide, Managed Wi-Fi infrastructure requires education.
The IoT vendors for multifamily smart homes and smart properties have been doing a good job of articulating the convenience, cost savings and efficiency of their IoT solutions. But more time needs to be spent discussing the user experience and infrastructure that glues it all together.
Another part of the paradigm shift is moving from a retail internet model to a bulk services model, where the services (both internet and streaming entertainment) are provided by the property as revenue-generating amenities.
The final topic would be the value of the independent ISP when it comes to service quality and concierge-style customer support. When property owners offer these technologies as amenities, they want a hassle-free experience for their property teams and their residents. This is where smaller, independent providers shine.
Q: What sets you apart from other companies?
- Communitywide coverage (stream anywhere)
- Property management system integration (hassle-free automated provisioning)
- QR code onboarding (simplified resident experience)
- 5-star concierge-style customer and technical support
- High-speed solutions customized for the age of the building and the available cabling infrastructure
- Non-bulk (retail) and bulk (amenity) deployment methodologies for internet and entertainment
Q: How is the evolving communications marketplace impacting your business model?
As an industry, providers and consultants are talking about Managed Wi-Fi more and more. This visibility helps our business model and allows us the opportunity to share the software development we have done in this space to make the technical complexity of a community-wide infrastructure hassle-free for property teams and ease for residents to connect.
Q: Have you recently acquired new customers? Entered new markets? Added new services/products?
Yes. We expanded our product lines, software development team and business development teams in 2022. This means new products, new opportunities, new geographies and new verticals. The most exciting growth we have seen is within our own installed base. Properties that for years operated in a competitive retail model allowing “choice” among several providers are seeing the value in a communitywide bulk infrastructure for both the resident experience and per unit profitability.