Implementing tech is a delicate balance. If you’re too slow, the competition will breeze past you. If you’re too ambitious and adopt too early, it could result in investing in outdated tech with little or negative value.
As innovations continue to arrive at a steady and unrelenting pace, apartment operators are continually aiming to strike the happy medium. They seek to keep pace with the competition while being cautious not to invest or implement anything that might serve as the multifamily equivalent to plastic coffee pods, the selfie stick or other relative tech duds.
While it can be difficult to predict which forthcoming innovations will prove to be the most significant, one theme has rang familiar with most new tech applicable to multifamily – convenience. Convenience for residents. Convenience for onsite teams. Convenience for the industry as a whole.
With that in mind, here’s a look at a few technologies that possess significant staying power in the multifamily sector:
Amazon Lockers are located at convenience stores, local grocers, Whole Foods and now select apartment communities. In what could serve as a direct competitor to the industry’s package locker companies, Amazon has worked its way into the apartment world. While not yet widespread, the tech giant has partnered with some apartment operators to implement lockers at strategic locations or significant portions of the portfolio. With ecommerce continuing to skyrocket, the Amazon Locker, which residents can access from a texted six-digit code, will likely prove to be a plausible solution for apartments to help manage their ever-increasing package load.
We mentioned convenience. While resident portals for rent payment and service requests certainly fit that mold, the next step is to integrate the portal with a smart-home device. Residents who can ask Alexa to pay their rent, or submit a service request by telling Alexa, “let maintenance know my sink is clogged,” will eliminate a lot of busywork. Likewise, customizable property management systems that can integrate with any new-arriving features will serve as a timesaver and efficiency-increaser for onsite teams.
It’s happening in the hotel, airport and casino industries, which all have had to adjust their previous methods. With the prevalence of ride-share services such as Lyft and Uber ever increasing, space is needed for customers to await transportation. Using dedicated cab space hasn’t been a viable solution, which has forced the above industries to create new pickup/drop-off points and waiting areas exclusively for ride share. Apartment communities, particularly those in downtown and urban locales, also have had to modify. That’s why many new developments are incorporating ride-share stations into their blueprints.
While the above list certainly isn’t an exhaustive one concerning potential tech breakthroughs, all of them fit the theme of convenience. Even non-tech advancements in the multifamily sector, such as the rising trend of incorporating multi-use space into new development rather than a standalone amenity space, are rooted in making life easier for residents and the onsite team. So when considering which tech innovations might stick, always consider the potential convenience factor.