A new report released today warns that accommodation providers who fail to meet the connected living expectations of the students of 2020 will struggle to attract tenants or risk leaving them ‘isolated’, ‘frustrated’, and ‘angry’.
The study, commissioned by ASK4 and carried out by Red Brick Research, explores the attitudes of 3,000 14-16 year olds from the UK, Germany and Spain: the young people who will begin university in 2020.
It unearths a radical change in expectations around internet connectivity among this age group. European teens now have an average of 10 wireless enabled, smart devices and systems connected within their family homes.
Nearly all use smartphones on a daily basis, and almost three quarters use both computing devices and watch Smart TVs each day. Half are using smart devices like Chromecast, Now TV, Sonos, Amazon Echo and other home control systems every day.
When they move into student accommodation, three quarters (76%) of British teens expect their internet connectivity to match the experience of their family home, allowing them to easily chat online with friends and family.
“While fast broadband is now mainstream in student accommodation, the ability to connect multiple wireless devices is still the exception, rather than the rule’
More than half (51%) expect to connect with their wireless printer using a variety of devices; 40% expect to be able to cast content from their phone, laptop or tablet onto a smart TV; 41% want to send music from their devices to a wireless sound system; and 52% to connect their games console to play others online.
In fact, 47% of British 14-16 year olds say they’d feel isolated if they were not able to communicate online or connect their devices together. The majority (62%) said they would feel ‘frustrated’, whilst 31% would feel ‘anxious’ and a quarter (26%) would be ‘angry’.
Jonathan Burrows, founder and CEO of ASK4 says: “The Internet is the foundation upon which today’s teenagers’ lifestyles are built and they expect to be able to lead a connected lifestyle when they go to university. This has pushed their student accommodation internet connectivity expectations through the roof.
“While fast broadband is now mainstream in student accommodation, the ability to connect multiple wireless devices is still the exception, rather than the rule. This research tells us that’s simply unacceptable to the students of 2020 who expect all their wireless devices to work seamlessly. Accommodation providers must rise to the challenge of providing this or risk losing out to their competition.”
Historically, wireless networks in purpose built student accommodation buildings have had to enforce separation between users’ devices – meaning that devices can connect to the Internet, but not with each other. This was done for good reason – it was the only way to ensure neighbouring students could not see or access each others’ devices via the building’s shared wireless network, thus ensuring residents’ security and safeguarding privacy in the multi-tenant environment.
However, the limitation this imposes means that the very devices current and future students increasingly regard as essential, and that rely on local wireless connectivity, simply won’t work.
New technological solutions are now emerging which solve this issue by providing every resident in multi-tenant buildings with their own private network, just like at home, allowing all of their devices to work the way they should, whilst segregating residents from each other for security and privacy.
ASK4 partners with universities, private sector student accommodation providers, residential apartment developers and businesses. Services include superfast broadband, full site WiFi, 24/7/365 multi-lingual technical support and VoIP telephony – plus a range of infrastructure networks to enable building services such as IP-CCTV and door access control.
ASK4 currently operate in the UK, Ireland, Spain, Germany, Poland and Portugal providing services to over 160,000 users across 400+ sites. ask4.com