Darren Gardner, COO of Nido Student
As Covid-19 accelerates changes in how students work, play and study, Nido Student COO Darren Gardner explains that savvy operators are pulling out all the stops when it comes to technology.
Student accommodation providers who are today prioritising a rapid rollout of cutting-edge technology are acting as a “blueprint” for the future of university living, according to Nido Student COO Darren Gardner.
Speaking with Blackstock Managing Director Andrew Teacher, Gardner said that a renewed focus on tech will be critical to engaging “digital native” students — especially in the wake of Covid-19.
“It’s important when you design or develop a PBSA property that you take that to heart”, says Gardner. “It’s crucial to understand your target audience, and providing them with that would feel natural. The youth of today really want technology that works for them.”
These services range from virtual reality tours and viewings, specialist LED lighting, voice control capabilities, and the latest gym equipment and facilities. Gardner also stressed how vital it is to build these elements into the fabric of the building to ensure they are future-proofed.
Not only does technology improve the speed and efficiency in leasing up, it can also play a critical role in ensuring the welfare, health and mental wellbeing of students living in PBSA.
Gardner also highlighted that Nido’s investment into a range of technologies and services in recent years allowed the operator to react quickly to the challenges of Covid-19 — especially in terms of virtual viewings and events.
However, the consistent implementation of tech requires something of a “change of mindset” for developers, Gardner added, because it goes from a useful add-on to an “expectation” – especially in younger age groups who have grown up with technology at their fingertips.
“Ultimately, I think student accommodation is the blueprint for what people expect in the future of how to live and how to work.”, said Gardner.