Guide to smart home hardware selection

Selecting smart home devices with operations, maintenance and the customer in mind.

Today’s customers have high expecations. They have increasing demands for healthier, smarter, more efficient and safer homes. This is why an integral part of delivering good quality BTR housing is careful consideration of the design quality at the planning stages.  

Given the interest in the maintentance and management of a BTR development over the long-term, the design quality needs to incoporate the provision of the right smart home appliances. This can be done by building the right relationships with the right software and hardware solution providers. Ultimately, developers need products that are crafted with their needs and their business in mind, giving them a competitive edge. 

In addition, with sustainability becoming an increasingly basic expectation, developers will need to offer solutions that play a part in achieving the goal of a greener tomorrow, as well as more immediate energy savings, without compromise. With the right smart thermostat controls in place, recent research by trade organisation, BEAMA1,  suggests that these sort of upgrades could reduce a total heating bill by up to 32% each year. 

To explain the benefits of getting the right smart devices that meet customers’ changing needs, it is helpful to look at a variety of smart home products available in the UK, beginning with the smart thermostat and the Wi-Fi- based water leak and freeze detector.  



Operator / Developer Checklist

  • Ability to utilise APIs (Application Programming Interface) to allow control of thermostats remotely as an operator or future service provider
  • Typically easy to install, the thermostat is pre-bound to the receiver box 
  • Wall mounted or table stand 
  • Flexible control (supporting multiple heating configurations) 


Customer Checklist

  • Works with other smart technology systems 
  • Wi-Fi enabled for direct connection to home broadband network 
  • Flexible – can still work as a non-connected thermostat when not connected to the home broadband network 
  • Programmable thermostat
  • Low impact design
  • Geofencing  (location based control automatically adjusts the room temperature dependent on location of tenant) 
  • Touch screen interface with easily recognisable icons 
  • Controlled by an app that’s simple to use

Operator / Developer Checklist:

  • Ability to utilise APIs (Application Programming Interface) to detect leaks when home is not occupied 
  • Easy installation and ‘one box solution’, with only Wi-Fi connection and programming app required 
  • Alerts nominated service provider in event of a detected leak 
  • Battery operated, no wiring
  • Built in sensors to track indoor temperature and moisture levels helping to avoid freezing pipes and mould 


Customer Checklist:

  • Works with other smart technology systems
  • Informs customer when a leak is detected 
  • Notifications when battery life is near end 




Not a member?

The UKAA is the leading member association for all those involved in the Build to Rent sector. Members get access to the Best Practice Guide as a benefit of membership. Members also get access to our events program, opportunities to join Forums and Working Groups and our research and thought leadership outputs.

Join now Contact us