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A Day in the Life of a “Smart” Apartment Renter

According to a study published on Business Insider in 2016, the average cell phone user touches his or her phone 2,617 times each day. The modern individual’s reliance on technology stems further than just mobile devices. Everything from our cars to our watches and cell phones have an operating system today. So, what does an operating system look like in a smart apartment? It’s no secret that the smart home revolution is upon us. From the smart lock on the door to Wi-Fi thermostats, residents in smart homes and apartments are be able to customize their living spaces far beyond paintings hung on the walls or carpet on the floor. Home automation is used to describe devices that utilize connectivity and embedded sensors to complete common household tasks. With the implementation of home automation, a single-family resident is able to enter a personal pin code for their smart lock that opens the front door, which then triggers their music of choice to play on speakers, while the lights adjust to a relaxing preset, and the oven preheats for that night’s meal. The advent of the smart home has been made possible through the Internet of Things (IoT), which allows everyday objects to send and receive data, making home automation and related products easier to use and more affordable for the average renter. But it’s not just the desire of being on the cutting edge of technology and having the highest end amenities that attracts renters, owners and property managers to smart technol......
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How to Fix Slow Internet, Generate Revenue and Ditch the “Cable Guys” With a Multifamily Internet Service

An Educational Series for Apartments, HOA’s and Co-Op’s: Part II “Pure Internet”   Pure Internet, the refreshing, no hassle experience of fast, fiber backed“Internet That Just Works”. It flows like the crystal clean rivers in the Glacier Mountains, unpolluted by the impurities of the big cities. It rushes to its destination, shimmering off the rocks with a turquoise clarity. Pure Internet is an unadulterated network of low latency paths, moving data directly and efficiently to its endpoint. Traveling unobstructed by bottlenecks or inefficiencies; safely and securely arriving to its destination.  The pipes are bountiful, clean and safe; the obstacles that litter most networks have been removed. The end-user is left with a great sense of freedom, ease and gratitude from the Internet experience, so much so they may even begin to take it for granted.    In contrast, in part one; we discussed the current “Dirty City Water” Internet experience that most Americans are accustomed to. In short; you have been sold Internet speeds that are not really speeds at all but rather capacity, on an oversubscribed network.  Speeds that are asymmetrical, transmitting over antiquated wiring technology, first used 100 years ago. You have “hired” yourself to configure your network, trying desperately to fend off dirty data and professional hackers with an over-the-counter router. You call for support and reach your, “not-so friendly” monopolistic ISP who has no financial incentive to improve the situation. For an “arm-and-a-leg” they promise they will give it their “best effort”; however they seem to be having a hard enough time fix......
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Get Ready Multifamily, It's Time for Generation Z

Yes, it’s true. . . just when we were getting the hang of Millennials, Generation Z is upon us. To me, one of the most fascinating aspects of the multifamily industry is the broad range of our clientele across the generations. Where else do you serve such a diverse group of target customers with something so personal and primal as the very home and community in which they live? With each new generation we face the challenge of blending what is important to the current generations we serve while simultaneously renewing our physical product and supporting services to attract and appeal to the new generation coming of age. Recently, I’ve spent some time researching the various statistics and opinions of what makes Generation Z unique and how that is expected to influence their behavior as consumers in the future. To that end, I offer the following few simple thoughts and takeaways of what it means for our industry to begin preparing now for what is to come. There are varying statistical references as to the precise makeup and definition of Generation Z. For the most part, it is agreed Gen Z consists of all those born in 1995 and thereafter. According to Forbes in 2015, this generation made up 25% of the U.S. population. They contribute an estimated excess of $44 billion to the economy and are further expected to grow to a full third of the U. S. population by 2020. This makes them a larger generation than both the Millennials and the Baby Boomers before them. As the first of Gen......
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Is Your Multifamily Brand Delivering on the Customer Experience?

What do the world’s most successful modern product and service brands have in common?  What’s the first thing that comes to mind? Is it advanced technology? A superior or entirely unique product offering? Maybe a new and innovative approach to world peace? Or, is it something more fundamental. . . something more inherently tied to the human factor. . . . perhaps, just perhaps. . . could it be a focus on the customer experience? “We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.” ~ Jeff Bezos If you’ve even remotely followed customer service trends over the past several years, you’ve undoubtedly noticed the growing dominance of the term “customer experience” in business publications, blog posts, and trend analyses. While “customer service” is primarily centered on a single or small series of transactions and customer touchpoints, the “customer experience” encompasses the entire past, present, and future customer interaction from both the physical and the psychological perspectives. In other words, it’s not just about the quality of the products and services consumed along the way, but equally about the customer’s lasting emotional impression from the culmination of the entire relationship and how that impression impacts brand promotion and future business. The major brands have not just driven their own success, they have effectively reshaped the face of business and elevated consumer expectations for all businesses to a whole new level. They have done so not just through pioneerin......
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#HoustonStrong

We have all been watching the news, concerned about those who live and work in Houston. It is truly heartbreaking to see the devastation they are going through right now. We can only hope the worst is behind them. Now is the time for us to come together to help those so profoundly impacted by the floods. We need to let them know we are there are them – today, tomorrow and in the weeks and months to come. Here are some links for organizations currently accepting monetary donations as shared by Huffington Post: American Red Cross The Salvation Army GoFundMe Hurricane Harvey ASPCA For in-kind donations, including blood, please check into these organizations: South Texas Blood Texas Diaper Bank – currently accepting donations but may take in-kind as well Feeding Texas And finally, as an industry, there are ways we can step in to help the residents of Houston – both apartment renters and single-family owners. Consider offering model and vacant units as temporary housing. Airbnb is waiving its fees right now, this might be an option as well. Host meals for those who are displaced or for First Responders and volunteers in the field, or even better for all. Take moment to promote donation channels on your social media channels. Feel free to use this blog post to share some links. Engage your residents and collect in-kind donations of clothing, toiletries, household items, etc. If your property is pet friendly, consider becoming a foster to displaced pets. Or wave pet f......
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Finding a Work/Life Balance

It was the second day of the NAA Educational Conference, I had an urgent email to respond to but first I needed to complete the research to find the answer to the emailed question.  I was sitting at the bar in the convention center and the second breakoff sessions were starting.  I was disappointed I was going to miss the session but duty calls.  The seats on both sides of me are quickly taken by two other attendees that were not going to be able attend this session.  We struck up a conversation as we were setting up our laptops and looking for outlets to make sure we stayed powered up.  We were all working each evening, we were all back logged in emails and no matter how many hours we spent catching up, the next morning we would be back logged again.  Each of us were seeking the organization system that was going to solve our problems.  All of us said we worked for companies that supported and encouraged a “Work Life Balance”.  So why didn’t anyone of us have the work/life balance we wanted?  Why were all of us needing to miss this session to respond to work.  Despite a plethora of apps, corporate initiatives, and advice, it’s never been harder to achieve a work-life balance. According to its latest survey of nearly 9,700 full-time workers, EY, the global assurance, tax, transaction, and advisory services firm, found that one-third of employees report that managing their personal and professional lives has bec......
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Parking still a necessity of foreseeable future, even with self-driving cars

Image result for self driving carsMany people who live in cities are electing to forego car ownership these days. But city dwellers aren’t hitting the brakes on vehicle custody so hard that it will render parking lots obsolete in the foreseeable future, despite claims to the contrary. With the increase in utilization of ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft and advanced technology ushering in the era of self-driving cars, some apartment developers in the U.S. have been preparing to revamp parking structures into other uses for when car ownership becomes sparse and parking places expendable. Whether it’s a private, shared or self-driving vehicle, it won’t be on the road 100 percent of the time, and parking will still be a necessity.  The International Energy Agency forecasted the number of cars on the roads worldwide would reach 1.7 billion by 2035 – which is doubled from 2012. But a recent LA Times article contends the magnitude at which people are renouncing car ownership is leading to extraneous parking lots that will soon be repurposed. Based on the increasing overall car ownership numbers, can things actually get to the point that parking garages are so unutilized they can be rehabilitated to serve as shops, gyms and movie theaters instead? Yes, some new apartment developments have reduced their parking space to as low as 0.6 spaces per unit in urban areas, but a further decrease doesn’t appear imminent for the foreseeable future. It’s true the world is amidst a transportation revolution. But cars aren’t going away altogether. Why should parking facil......
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Tiny housing making big impact on combating homelessness in America

The fight to end homelessness in this country is a massive undertaking. About 3.5 million Americans experience homelessness each year, according to the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty. Alleviating this problem in a meaningful way will surely require a multi-faceted effort involving federal, state and local governments, non-profits and the private sector. Here's one possible component of the solution to this giant issue: tiny homes. Across the U.S., organizations are using tiny houses and apartment homes, which typically range from 100 square feet to 500 square feet, to provide shelter for the homeless. For instance, the nonprofit American Family Housing recently opened Potter's Lane, a 16-unit community in Midway City, Calif., to house homeless vets. The property features 480-square-foot apartment homes made from energy-efficient shipping containers. Across the country, in Newfield, N.Y., the nonprofit Second Wind Cottages, relying heavily on donated materials and volunteer labor, built a community of 12 tiny homes that house homeless men. Residents pay rent as they are able to help defray the community's operating expenses. Other examples of similar communities include the Tiny House Village in Seattle and the Community First! Village in Austin, Texas. Advocates of these developments note that they are comparatively cheap to build, and constructions costs often are further mitigated through the use of materials and labor supplied for free by area businesses and residents. Can the multifamily industry incorporate tiny apartment homes for the homeless into their communities? It's certainly something to think about. With its ample resources and......
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How to Fix Bad Cell Phone Coverage for an Apartment Complex?

How to Fix Bad Cell Phone Coverage for an Apartment Complex?
How to Fix Bad Cell Phone Coverage for an Apartment Complex? Carrier Grade WiFi Calling for Apartment Buildings is Finally Here. “Can You Hear Me Now?” “Can You Hear Me Now?” It’s happened to everyone. You’re locked in, completely engrossed in conversation. All of a sudden a little static begins on the line. Then a bit more and before you know it, you have missed every other word. Eventually the call drops completely… You look at your phone to find that you have no service, 0 bars. Hopefully, it was just friendly banter and not something vitally important. God forbid that it was an important sales call or a hard-to-reach individual. We’ve all experienced bad cell coverage and while it’s a pain, hopefully it only happens once in a “blue moon”. We may expect it while driving through a rural landscape, but if it happens from home; it’s an entirely different frustration. If you’re an apartment owner with this scenario you can rest assured… your residents will quickly be finding a new place to live, costing you and your brand. Let’s face it, not all apartments have good cell coverage. These days this can be a major problem for apartment owners. Bad cell coverage can drive occupancy, loyalty, satisfaction and retention down fast. Residents do not put up with bad coverage; many will post negative online reviews which could damage your online reputation. Some may try to change cell providers; however, they are not usually happy to do so. WiFi Calling Replaces DAS – “Two Birds, On......
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Choosing Technology Wisely

Choosing Technology Wisely
Choosing Technology Wisely The technology landscape is a crowded one these days, both with innovative new arrivals targeting the industry as well as strong existing options with more longevity.   Choosing the right value-add technologies is a challenging task for multifamily operators.  What are the drivers that elevate one over the others? Take a look at any aspect of operating apartment communities today, and you’ll find no shortage of new technologies designed to help your business improve, streamline, connect, develop, educate, assess, analyze or aggregate – you get the picture.  Most likely, you and your team are contacted by enterprising marketers frequently, all seeking to show you how their solution is the answer. Let’s take a look at one area receiving a lot of attention in recent years:  package delivery. You have technology-plus-hardware solutions from companies like Package Concierge, Parcel Post and LuxerOne; and digital-only solutions like those from Entrata (ParcelAlert) and ReceivingRoom.  Also, customized apps like Mobile Doorman offer an entire resident communication platform including package notification as only one of many communication features. Of course, that’s just one example.  From new lead-delivery apps like HomeMe and Zumper to bite-sized web-based training options like GROW Learning, real-time transportation information displays like Transit Screen, and InfoTycoon’s innovative asset management platform. And I can't write a tech article without mentioning the new Respage AI-powered chatbot (a digital leasing agent), and the innovative market survey platform by BI:Radix. There is so much new technology deployed that the list could go on for days. What to do?  It’s difficult t......
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