Technology Titans Offer Peek at the Future

Units Today
June 26 2010

Boxing gloves were playfully placed on stage at the start of yesterday's session, "Titans of Technology: Multifamily Housing Industry Technology Solutions for Today, Tomorrow, and Beyond," as panelists began a lively debate that focused on the future of technology.

David Bateman, CEO and Co-Founder of Property Solutions, said search-engine marketing and mobile participation are leading technology trends. "The advent of mobile technology is going to rock our industry," said Bateman, who joked that he was still wearing diapers when fellow panelists launched their companies in the 1980s. "There's a reluctance with new technology because no one wants to be on the bleeding edge, but if you wait and wait, you'll be unprepared when the shift happens."

Panelist Steve Winn, Chairman and CEO of RealPage, said his company has embraced revenue management and cloud computing--which involves working on a server rather than a desktop--after conducting extensive market research.

Other trends include developing an archetype of the most profitable resident and looking "every day at every unit" to exploit modest opportunities to raise rent, according to David Post, CEO of MRI Software. Post added that companies must avoid fads and rather invest in technology that drives up revenue or drives down expenses. "Look at how your consumers are acting versus what they're saying and make investments from there," Post said.

Panelist Anant Yardi, President of Yardi Systems, advised attendees to consider corporate objectives and the position of the company within the industry when evaluating the potential value of technology.

"Getting the vision of these industry leaders was incredible," said attendee Lisa Beffa, Vice President, McCormack Baron Ragan, St. Louis.

Dave Taylor, Director of Asset Management, Capital Valley Investments, Rocklin, Calif., agreed. "The most interesting thing was hearing how fast technology has evolved in the last 10 years," he said. "And the speed is escalating."

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