Helping Building Owners Streamline Costs and Improve Experience for Tenants with Aruba ESP

This transformative new business model supplies Smart Living-as-a-Service (SLaaS) options for building owners and managers.

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Eve-Marie Lanza, Sr. Manager of Solutions Marketing at Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company.

For anyone who has lived in a dense apartment complex or building, multiple Wi-Fi routers close together competing for limited radio signal space can make accessing the Internet a challenging experience, to say the least. To address the problem, property managers are increasingly treating Wi-Fi as a fifth utility for large multifamily communities, not only to create a better overall online experience for residents but also to leverage a single network to better enable and implement smart home features designed to improve the convenience and comfort of tenants.

Leading the way is HomeBase, which has created a transformative new business model for supplying Smart Living-as-a-Service (SLaaS) in multifamily housing.

“We set out to create the industry’s first hub-less smart building solution to help apartment owners and managers automate their facilities while delivering connectivity-as-a-service to residents,” explained Blake Miller, Founder and CEO of the Kansas City, Missouri, company. “To achieve our goals, we needed to provide always-on Internet, which required a comprehensive wired and wireless solution capable of integrating with our mobile-phone-as-a-gateway, app-based approach.”

Technologies + Expertise Make Aruba the Right Partner

Working with Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company, the SLaaS provider found the right mix.

“In addition to providing a robust set of APIs for integrating with our customer-facing app and Wi-Fi access points with built-in Bluetooth and Zigbee for IoT connectivity, we were impressed with the many innovations in the [Aruba] pipeline,” said Miller.

“Perhaps most importantly, the Aruba team immediately grasped our vision and helped us determine which technologies were required to make it happen,” he added. “By demonstrating that kind of enthusiasm for our business, even before we selected Aruba, we knew the partnership was right.”

Aruba ESP Powers Superior SLaaS Experiences

For its network powered by Aruba ESP (Edge Services Platform), Homebase selected Aruba’s indoor and outdoor Wi-Fi 6 access points along with remote access points2930F Switch Series, and 3810 Switch Series.

The Homebase infrastructure also includes Aruba Central, for AI-enabled cloud-based network management built on a cloud-native microservices architecture, and Aruba User Experience Insight (UXI), for continuously monitoring and testing the network from a user perspective.

“Our deployment model provides every apartment in a building with Wi-Fi as an amenity,” said Miller. “In addition, we cover indoor and outdoor common areas to help streamline facilities management significantly. This strategy of creating a single network also gives property managers secure connectivity for their staff.”

Wi-Fi as a Utility for Residents, Increased Profitability for Owners

Unlike the current paradigm, where a resident typically moves into a new home and then contacts an ISP for connectivity, Homebase-powered buildings supply Wi-Fi the moment a resident enters their new home—just like turning on the lights or a bathroom faucet.

Using the Homebase app, residents can access everything in their home, ranging from locks to appliances.

“One of our buildings, ‘Flashcube’ in Kansas City, even offers a connected wine dispenser that automatically adds purchases to a resident’s account,” Miller said.

New residents are granted access to a premium tier of Wi-Fi for a select amount of time, which enables them to test out the Homebase solution, and then are prompted by the app to select a subscription plan.

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With Aruba ESP, Homebase-powered buildings can supply hassle-free, instant Wi-Fi in every unit.

“Using data generated by Central, we determined a substantial percentage of residents opt for the premium subscription tier once their trial period ends, others choose a lower tier and only a few opt out,” said RaeAnn Lovall, Chief People Officer for Homebase. “We can also use the data we gather to help owners maximize tier pricing.” 

New Revenue, Enhanced Efficiency, Automated Maintenance, and Risk Reduction

From a building owner perspective, the SLaaS model not only supplies a considerable new revenue stream but also enhances efficiencies with the Homebase app. This includes anywhere, anytime management of physical access controls and security cameras in common areas and community spaces, such as gyms, pools, and movie facilities.

“Having a single, robust network with all of these capabilities saves property owners money while also ensuring they have one less vendor to worry about,” said Miller.

In addition, the Homebase app streamlines and automates maintenance, saving an average of 20 minutes per ticket.

“For example, after a unit’s smart thermostat runs for a certain number of hours the app can notify management the HVAC filter needs changing, then automatically order the part for direct shipment to the appropriate unit and notify the resident,” said Miller.

Such maintenance automation can also drive down risks and reduce associated insurance costs. According to Miller, “If an IoT plumbing sensor detects a water-related issue, a timely notification via the app can eliminate a catastrophic event.”

Saving 120 Minutes per Unit Turn During Move Out and Move In

According to Lovall, building owners and managers especially appreciate the app during move- out and move-in periods, which helps them save 120 minutes per unit turn, on average.

“When multiple units are turning over simultaneously, using a few taps to remove a former occupant and onboard a new one reduces costs and boosts efficiency compared to the traditional manual process,” said Lovall.

Cloud Management is Key to Speed and Agility

Although Homebase uses a standardized building deployment model, it’s not a one-size-fits-all approach. The networking solution provides flexibility in situations where a resident requires more coverage.

“Central’s cloud-based management enables quickly configuring and installing a remote access point to extend the network as needed,” said Lovell.

Network management, which can be complex especially when managing multiple locations, is also simplified.

“Aruba Central’s intuitive dashboard enables a single business user to support multiple buildings,” said Lovall. “We can easily adjust configurations such as bandwidth and device limits to effectively manage performance across buildings with hundreds of users, each of whom has multiple devices.”

And, in keeping with Homebase’s goal of delivering responsive and attentive service to its residents, utilizing a cloud-based solution streamlines troubleshooting as well.

“When we receive a support ticket from a resident or building owner, we can frequently resolve it in just a few minutes,” says Paul Schultz, Director of Client Success at Homebase. “This assists us with supplying exceptional customer service.”

Preparing for the Future of Wireless

As it continues to grow and introduce new SLaaS offerings to the multifamily housing industry, Homebase looks forward to leveraging existing and emerging Aruba solutions. One project in the works is deploying Aruba AirPass to facilitate seamless device handoffs from 5G cellular networks to Wi-Fi.

“We’re actively working with 5G and considering how we can deploy AirPass for smoothing transitions,” said Miller.

Want to learn more about how Aruba ESP can solve complex networking challenges at the edge? Visit


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