Staying current with connectivity via SHB

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Recently, Student Housing Business Magazine writers reached out to our Executive Vice President, Bruce Sanders, for a brief Q&A about "Staying Current with Connectivity. Here's a recap of their conversation: SHB: What are student housing owners/operators looking for in an Internet provider?

Sanders: Quite simply, reliability and responsiveness. Owners want Internet that works all the time. Sounds easy, but some providers just can't get it right. All the bells and whistles in the world don't matter as much as this, "the data connection just needs to work day in and day out." Secondly, they want a service provider who understands what owners want and how they want to communicate. A provider who can move quickly when you need them to move quickly. Open, honest communication is the key. Problems will always happen -- that's the nature of technology. But how the providers react is what makes providers like Elauwit stand out.

SHB: What are students looking for in an Internet provider?

Sanders: The same things as an owner/operator: reliability and responsiveness. They need enough bandwidth to take frustration out of the Internet experience. Internet that always works. And, if it stops working, a frictionless support process that gets it working quickly again.

SHB: What the most creative solution you've developed for a student housing client in the past year? How did it resolve a significant problem?

Sanders: We believe the “creativity” owners/operators want most is not something new and flashy. Rather, it is the creative skill and ability to operate our company in a way that effectively and efficiently delivers the products we sell – Internet connectivity and video entertainment. A prime example that illustrates this (and not just for one client, but for five): Elauwit’s take-over and conversion of more than 5,000 beds of Internet service at seven properties for five owners during the recent Christmas holiday. Four of the seven had an immediate need, requiring creative thinking and overnight reaction. When Internet at the sites was turned off mid-week of exams by the service provider who was being replaced, Elauwit took action with only an hour of notice, restoring service faster than anyone thought possible.

SHB: What is coming down the road in new technology that will affect bandwidth or connectivity? How should student housing operators confront this challenge now?

Sanders: The changes coming are those that increase the need for bandwidth - more video and television content viewed over the Internet. Dish, DirecTV and the MSOs are developing and launching over-the-top video capabilities that intend to meet the needs residents are demanding, which in turn will modify what owners and operators want from their service provider. Operators can best prepare by building or upgrading to a robust data infrastructure that includes AC standard access points, more WAP drops for use tomorrow rather than today, the latest DAS or femtocell (low-power cellular base station) systems for cellular connectivity.

SHB: What new technologies or offerings are available to student housing operators?

[reply did not make print edition]

Sanders: With increasingly competitive lower bandwidth costs, the old school solutions like caching storage and co-location have quickly become obsolete. However the technology interface between the service provider and the community manager has become more and more important, so we’ve added greater features to our ArrowPoint portal – from mass texting to immediate resident support – geared to providing a better client experience. Our new “TechKnow” microsite provides the resident a complete overview of the technology products Elauwit will deliver to the site and becomes available at the time a lease is signed, so residents can better prepare to use the services. Our Elauwit Energy technology offers an infrared monitoring solution for energy management proven to save our owners thousands each month.

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