The awesome and the maddening thing about technology is that it never stops evolving. Just when it seems that you have the latest, most cutting-edge tech features in place, something comes along to further push the envelope.
That trend has been further exacerbated over the past 18 months and shows no signs of slowing. For apartment operators, it has become increasingly paramount to keep pace with the rapidly changing technological landscape. Falling behind, naturally, means playing catch-up. And if you’re playing catch-up, it means your competition has the advantage.
But keeping pace isn’t simply about loosely monitoring trends. It’s not enough to evaluate tech tools and processes every year or two. The evaluation and updating processes must be perpetual, even if you’re confident that you’re on the innovative edge of the tech spectrum.
Imagine if an apartment operator implemented smart thermostats about five years ago and decided they were setting the pace on the smart-home front. If they stopped there and ignored ongoing innovations, they’d be well behind the curve when they finally reacted to competitors who had been more diligent in monitoring smart home trends. It’d be akin to building a 10-point lead through three quarters of a basketball game and taking it easy in the fourth.
So how can apartment operators diligently keep pace? Here are a few of the ways:
Select committed tech providers
Tech providers, too, can be guilty of believing they’ve achieved the latest innovation and taking a backseat. You just don’t want your tech provider to exhibit that approach. Select a provider that is always willing to further evaluate the capabilities of a platform and work to improve them on the fly. Imagine if your company settled for the first iterations of marketing automation and failed to capitalize on the wide tier of advancements until well after the fact. Simply put, it’s better to be proactive than reactive, and your tech provider should reflect that idea.
Don’t overreact to every new technology
While being proactive is undoubtedly important, it should not be at the expense of being reckless. While it’s tempting to explore every new technology as it arrives, a measured approach is necessary to avoid delegating valuable dollars to something you ultimately might not need. Make sure you thoroughly vet every new solution that you’re considering and make certain that it’s going to genuinely make the impact you’re seeking before moving forward. A smart saltshaker sounds amazing—wait, does it?—but do you really need it in your apartment homes?
Do some cross-industry research
Multifamily has largely shed the image of a technical laggard, but that doesn’t mean you can’t peek at what other industries are doing. Many operators get so consumed with the multifamily bubble that they often don’t consider anything beyond the space. Many other industries—from the closely affiliated single-family space to many commercial industries—often implement forms of tech that could help in the apartment world. Observing how they’ve made it happen, and how successful they’ve been, can be a key component of the evaluation process.
The perpetual pace of innovation is almost as inevitable as the passage of time itself. As such, operators should be prepared to adjust in perpetuity and avoid complacency. With the right tech providers, mindset and measured approach, you can make it happen.