From the Summit: How AI-enabled Tech Can Improve Operational Efficiency

Artificial intelligence is certainly a major topic of conversation these days, both within the multifamily industry and the overall American business landscape. Undoubtedly, much hype surrounds the technology – and no small amount of anxiety as employees consider its potential impact on their jobs.

But amidst all the noise and uncertainty lies this truth: AI has the power to make multifamily associates more productive and able to provide better service to residents.

That was one of the major points made by panelists during the How AI-Enabled Tech Can Improve Operational Efficiency session at the 2023 Entrata Summit.

"Embrace it and understand it," said Carter Rees, Head of Machine Learning at Entrata. "I can’t stress that enough: embrace how it can make each of you better and more efficient in your roles. Because you all have something that you’re doing that you’re like, ‘Gosh, I wish this time-suck wasn’t on my calendar.’ AI can help at this point with a lot of that.

"I worry about the folks who will get left behind because they never took advantage of understanding what AI is and what tools are out there that can help them. Those who embrace it and understand it are going to be in a really great position."

Rob Felt, Director of Product at Entrata, echoed similar sentiments.

"Be an informed consumer. This isn’t going anywhere," he said. "This technology is here to stay, and we’re going to continue to see it further and more deeply embed itself because it is so powerful."

Felt also acknowledged the concerns that AI is causing.

"Is it out to get your job? Is it out to get any jobs?" he said. "That’s certainly not the way that we think about it. It’s really about focusing on what’s the task that this can do for you? What’s the time it can free up on your calendar? At the end of the day, it really comes down to: let computers do what they’re good at, and that frees your people up to do what they’re good at."

AI at Work

One out of every three Entrata products already incorporates AI, according to Felt. Examples include the revenue management solution, the quick search function, and the Redd chatbot.

Broadly speaking, Entrata’s current and future AI-based solutions will do at least one of the following: analyze data, guide business decisions or automate processes, the panelists noted.

And as the company develops and implements AI technologies, it keeps industry concerns—such as data security and Fair Housing liability—in mind, Felt said.

"Just like any tool, if used poorly, AI could have negative impacts," he said. "If I take a pneumatic hammer and use it as it’s not intended, that’s dangerous. But we’re comfortable with that tool because we understand that there are guard rails on how to deploy it and how to use it."

Looking Ahead

When the calendar turns to 2024, Entrata customers can expect to see the release of more tools that utilize AI.

"I can’t divulge too much because we’re in the middle of road-map planning, but the areas in which I think you’re going to see some transformative stuff next year are marketing, lead management, lead sourcing and resident management, particularly resident engagement," Felt said. "We’re really excited about it."

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