“It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity.”
While there is no evidence that Albert Einstein made that statement, the quote is often attributed to him and it has always been a favorite. (Einstein did make a statement in 1946 cautioning mankind about the dangers of the nuclear age).
But one thing that needs no debate is that technology is always evolving and we see evidence of that now more than ever.
In the retail sector, for example, new technology can track consumer habits and send the retailer a notification of sales, and of products that the consumer might be interested in. You can now order goods from a mobile device to be picked up at a concierge service. If you look at industrial facilities, robotic technology has grown much more sophisticated—they can now work next to human colleagues to figure out routes throughout a distribution center and can learn how to perform multiple tasks. Add in Drone-delivered packages to apartment buildings, driverless cars, and so much more, there is no doubt that things are rapidly advancing.
Until recently, property managers would never have been without a note pad and a Xerox copy of a site plan to report on maintenance issues. They would have arrived at the office, called whichever vendors they had on the items that pertained to them, and would have logged it on an Excel spreadsheet or even put in a (handwritten) work order for any tenant issues.
Embracing technology isn’t only replacing that note pad. It means taking your business to the level that it needs to be. It means becoming more efficient. And while many might be averse to change, properties that have managers who embrace technology and who are invested in it will experience higher revenue and time savings than those that don’t.
Below are some of the top 7 tech trends and topics that every manager should pay attention to and be using (in some capacity).
Collaborative Operations Software
Easy-to-use and affordable cloud based collaborative operations software, such as Common Areas, can help managers fill out maintenance and repair work orders in seconds, get requests into the necessary hands, and manage all assignments in real-time from any mobile device, tablet, or desktop computer. Collaborative operations software continues to evolve, offering additional time-saving features that lead to improved organization, better management, and ultimately reduced costs and increased profits.
Social Media and Virtual Tours
Gone are the days of placing an ad in a paper with a unit for rent or tenants needing to contact an agent to see the inside of a property. With so many advanced viewing options improving daily, property managers who can offer applicants an easier viewing experience are more likely to succeed.
Mobile Leasing Tools
Just as Yardi introduced a mobile leasing tool for leasing managers to use on their tablets in 2012, there will continue to be new developments in this arena as more residents look to communities that utilize technology to increase responsiveness and service.
Expect more advanced approaches to software that captures relevant data not only about properties, but about their surroundings as well. Also expect to find applications that update and analyze that data. Integration is also happening between some of the better software platforms. This makes it possible to use systems together and leverage the benefits of each without having to give up one in order to use the other. The days of being stuck with an add-on module that doesn’t quite do what you want it to do are gone. Selecting software that has integration capabilities can save you from a lot of headaches down the road.
Tenant Screening Systems
Keeping up with new FTC guidance regulations can be tough. And the need for more sophisticated tenant screening systems is a must for all property managers. With criminal background checks, rental history, and more, tech tools of this nature will continue to help managers to reduce the costs and decisions associated with resident screening.
Online Rent Payment Capability
This is a must (partially based on my biased experience of having the option at one apartment and then moving to a different apartment down the street where I had to search for my checkbook each month). But in all seriousness, why wouldn’t you want the option that makes it easier for your tenants to pay you?
Increased Use of Online Purchase Order Systems
Product and services costs have a huge impact on profitability. And new tech tools that streamline the way your organization buys goods and services will increase in the coming year. Expect to see more systems that can also help to monitor the budget and expenses as well.
These are just a few of the many tech tools that we think all property managers should know about and pay attention to. And who knows what else is on the radar? The new 24/7 call center and its responsive technology? Or perhaps expanded revenue management software capabilities? With technology, the advances are endless and long as we aren’t scared to adapt.