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Home » PropTech Updates – Real Estate Access Management innovation » Access Control » Co-living, Cohousing and Social Housing: the new trends of the Real Estate and the fundamental role of technology in the Residential 4.0

Co-living, Cohousing and Social Housing: the new trends of the Real Estate and the fundamental role of technology in the Residential 4.0

The real estate market is facing a period of deep transformation, driven by the dynamism of the sector and the new needs of customers.

We like to define this period as “Residential 4.0”, as the strong wave of digitalization has given life to a new model, characterized by a great capacity for renewal, not only technological but above all market.

Co-living, Cohousing, and Social Housing, the trends born from the affirmation of the new flexible models of Real Estate, characterize the “Residential 4.0”..

Already established and widespread abroad, now in Italy the interest in these trends is increasingly relevant, let’s find out in detail.


This is the most widespread model, it integrates environments where to live with social and work ones.

The space is therefore not only related to the house but also provides for the presence of shared areas such as recreation areas, gyms, or coworking.

The great flexibility in the management of spaces allowed by technology, combined with the growing demand n particular by Millennials, who find it ideal to have a unique space to live and work-, has made it a business model already established.

The idea of co-living adapts to different contexts, from those related to student housing to residential solutions, as they provide additional services such as laundry, gym, study room , coworkings and many more.

Or the SeiMilano Project, characterized by 1,500 square meters of shared spaces with gyms, children’s areas, and other typical hotel services, is a perfect example of the close link between the residential sector and the world of services.

The link is possible and facilitated by the presence of smart technology, which has a crucial and enabling role to offer services. With advantages both for the end user, who has more and more possibilities available and for those who manage the structure, which draws revenues from subscription or pay-per-use models.

Co-living: more and more at the service of the person

An innovation that gives a clear idea of the fact that the union of residential and hotel services is a trend in the trend, is represented by the Conciergerie service, thanks to businesses like TopLife Concierge.

It is characterized by qualified personnel with competence and hotel preparation, always available at the reception of the residential structure, and able to offer both facility management and personal services.

And this is not the only news: through a dedicated App, residents can request additional services such as dinners, event reservations, and cleaning.

When technology is created to support the person and adapt to the changing needs of society, it becomes a tool that can simplify the use of resources and facilitate everyday life.

The advantages of investing in the co-living today

As we have seen, co-living is an established model and is increasingly demanded by the market: a very interesting and important data for investors, especially in a period of great uncertainty.

The main aspects that make it profitable to invest in co-living are:

  • the spread in large cities, which ensures a constant presence of users;
  • the smart technology, which allows an optimal management of space and resources,
  • the constant possibility of integrating and offering new services, which corresponds to greater user satisfaction and new sources of revenue;
  • the centralized and optimized management from the software side, that allows to have always under control the services used and the bookings in the short-medium-long term, so as to predict the returns and the interventions to be carried out;
  • the ability to adapt to the different and new needs of users (a concrete example is the situation caused by Covid-19), which allows a different conformation of the spaces


The Cohousing is characterized by a set of private houses that have common spaces dedicated exclusively to residential life, such as laundry, garden, parking, and recreation areas.

Although it is less widespread than co-living, it is a trend that in recent years is increasingly gaining interest and begins to have a relevant presence.

Its diffusion is driven by collective management of spaces that allows economic savings and at the same time enhances sociality. The relational aspect and the feeling of being part of a community have a relevant weight in the choice of this model.

Cohousing differs from co-living mainly in two areas:

  • type of audience: it is more oriented to families, groups with similar lifestyles, elderly, united by a desire to live in a quiet and active social context;
  • design: the spaces are almost exclusively residential and the complexes are generally located in peripheral areas with respect to the city center.

We could look at Cohousing as the natural evolution of the lifestyle of the person, who after the first years of work marked by a dynamic style (in line with the characteristics of co-living), is oriented towards a more stable situation.

For investors it is a solution that is carving out an important space at the public level, where calls for tenders are increasing, in particular, to redevelop urban areas, helping to create sociability and shared initiatives.


Handbook for the accessible real estate revolution

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Social housing

With Social Housing allows to refers to buildings for rent that are assigned by tender.

The recipients are families, couples, and the elderly who are unable to obtain a home at the market price.

The main scope of Social Housing allows to is to provid rental-controlled accommodation with good/excellent quality standards.

The secondary aim is to contribute to the creation of communities and foster integration, also through the use of common spaces and services among tenants.

The benefits of Social Housing

Today, in the particularly difficult period we are experiencing, the model of Social Housing allows to:

  • grant an accommodation to different sections of the population,
  • promote sociality and integration, with benefits for all the local community,
  • create opportunities of development for the economy and the real estate,
  • protect the environment through the highest classes of energy savings, both for new buildings and following renovations.

A concrete example of Social Housing is a Social Housing allows to è recent intervention carried out in the North of Milan, where the structure has been designed in order to encourage new models of sociality and sharing among the inhabitants and to enhance the surrounding environment.

In this context, the cloud native technology of Sofia Locks has played the role of enabling element to take advantage of many services: in addition to booking common areas and resources you can access information such as air quality or energy consumption of the apartment.

This is an even less widespread trend that, given its peculiarities and the limited purchasing power of young workers and families, could represent the most widespread investment from now to a few years.

Co-living, Cohousing e Social Housing: what these models have in common

The new trends we have already seen are united by the use of smart technological solutions which, in addition to encouraging their diffusion, help to innovate the Real Estate and, more generally, the whole construction world.

If this was unthinkable until ten years ago, today technology has become the enabler of these new business models projecting the Real Estate sector into a new phase that marks the road to the residential of the future.

The smart solutions born in recent years are so successful because they are the perfect meeting point between the needs of users, managers, and landlords:

  • users just need a smartphone. Through the App, they can easily manage activities such as access to spaces and booking services. Moreover, they are also updated in real-time on the status of their requests and subscriptions,
  • managers have simplified and centralized management of services and requests, which translates into more streamlined work and a reduction in costs,
  • for landlords means offering solutions that meet the demands of the market and at the same time reduce the costs of materials and processes for the installation and security of very large areas such as cohousing or co-living chains in different places.

The technology, therefore, plays the role of enabler of these flexible and modular spaces, embracing to 360 the whole aspect of the services and every need of the various actors involved.

The smart solution for the management of access

Today the main needs in adopting technological solutions are to facilitate access to common spaces and enable the services designed for these spaces.

For example, apps that integrate Sofia Locks offer smart access and flexible space booking.

In practice, access to common gateways, or access to certain areas, is managed in real-time and completely wireless thanks to the cloud system.

In addition, the system allows you to book resources or allow access to external parties in certain areas of the residential complex. For example, if the concierge is not present, the couriers will be able to access the common room using the smartphone as a key, according to precise rules and with temporary permissions.

All this is managed by the manager with maximum flexibility and according to precise rules.

With the smartphone, you have full control over all access and services.
This is a technology designed to be at the service of the person.

The benefits of management, security, and administration are obvious.

The strength of these new technologies is to have made “software” what until yesterday was “hardware”.

The software reduces costs

Until a few years ago, a lot of equipment was needed to communicate with each other and an infinite amount of cables, even just for a single floor.

Today, however, thanks to truly smart technology, software, and wireless communication do most of the work, replacing almost all hardware.

“an installation without installation”

This is what we heard from a technician, who after installing Sofia Locks solutions found that the hardware components are drastically reduced (up to 75% less) and the time required to do the job is a small part of what he was used to.

The benefits do not stop at the installation stage, all maintenance is easier and more manageable, with centralized management:

  • an item that needs to be replaced is readily identified,
  • the level of the batteries of the physical components is visible in real-time (such as the Libra lock, where the batteries last for years) and is notified well in advance if running out,
  • the maintenance operation is organized, enabling the opening of the necessary spaces to the professional who must intervene.

Much less hardware, much smarter

If the software has been able to carve out this large space, it is also thanks to solutions such as HyperLocks: smart locks with autonomous hardware and integrated software intelligence.

These are components that manage to coexist in design, functionality, and quick installation (without wiring and completely wireless).

Integrabili tra loro senza vincoli, rappresentano la soluzione più versatile per implementare sistemi secondo le specifiche necessità e con il grande vantaggio del controllo centralizzato.

Ogni varco, ogni porta, ogni armadietto può essere dotato di HyperLock, rendendo così possibile la massima fruizione, condivisione e gestione di accessi e risorse.

The HyperLocks hardware solutions by Sofia Locks respect the paradigm of Edge Computing bringing intelligence where it is needed: close to the user and directly on the gateway.
Even in the absence of Internet connectivity and electricity, HyperLocks retain all functionality, ensuring the reliability of the entire system.

The union between Software and Hardware of this level gives rise to increasingly efficient and innovative solutions that allow to dominate the future of real estate.

How to choose the best access control system for an innovation Real Estate project

Smart Technology as a Key Element of Innovation and Success

We have seen how the adoption of smart solutions allows to obtain multiple benefits and to keep up with the future, avoiding the development of projects that would otherwise be born obsolete.

But even today there is a little resistance in investors to the use of these technologies, especially in traditional residential interventions, in particular:

  1. first resistance is the lack of knowledge and skepticism of users who still have to understand the role of new technologies and smart services, as by now they are little applied to the Real Estate market;
  2. second resistance is represented by the costs of realization and, more generally, by the mistrust that regards all that is new.

For the first point, the tendency tofavor what has always been done is very common, but it cannot be a valid reason for not seeing how much technology, society, and the market are evolving and the whole sector is undergoing profound changes.

The real risk, in a dynamic context such as today’s market, is not being ready for changes and risking becoming uncompetitive.

On the second point, we have already seen how the incidence of costs, just talking about hardware instrumentation and installation work, is reduced up to 75%.
A huge saving that continues after adopting this technology:

  • the incidence of maintenance work is greatly reduced because there are fewer hardware components and everything is centrally manageable,
  • through reports and statistics on services more or less used, actions that maximize returns can be performed, for example by transforming particular spaces little used in the type of spaces with the greatest demand.

Investing in technology today to secure the future

The increased demand for shared spaces that can be used by all inhabitants and are characterized by enabling technologies, pushes managers in the direction of smart technological solutions and creates new opportunities for investors, tenants, and users.

Adopting these smart technological solutions means ensuring multiple benefits:

  • cost savings through reduced hardware usage and faster and simpler installation procedures;
  • centralized and modular management that allows managers to always have full control (even of multiple locations geographically located) and be able to modulate the spaces according to the requests, so as to meet the actual demand and maximize returns;
  • satisfaction and incentive for users: thanks to user-centric software and ease of use, users live a satisfying experience through the app and are naturally inclined to exploit it also for new services.

In new residential models, from housing to vegetable gardens, all technology is designed to support and facilitate people in their daily and working life and will become an increasingly essential element.

The technological solutions that Sofia Locks has developed in recent years and that continues to improve and expand, are the key to access new business models related to Real Estate. For more information, click here to contact us.