ServusConnect Blog

The Smartphone Dilemma in Multifamily Apartment Operations

Jun 27, 2018 12:46:59 PM / by Jamie Wohlschlegel posted in maintenance, technology, multifamily, apartment, operations, smartphone

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READ TIME: 5 Minutes

In multifamily apartment operations, moving maintenance and other field service jobs away from paper-based, manual business processes and over to mobile, app-based, digital workflows is a major initiative for 2018/19.

Enabling massive productivity boosts for field service staff, significant improvement in asset repair records, and enhancing resident engagement through automated service notifications, field mobility can be a major win for multifamily operators.

Before that can happen, there is one nagging dilemma that senior management has to address:

"Do we provide a smartphone for field service staff or expect them to bring-your-own-device (BYOD)?"

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Who is Alexa, and what is she doing in my house?!

Jun 7, 2018 3:51:31 PM / by Mel Bethune posted in maintenance, technology, apartment, apartments, residents, smart speakers, amazon alexa, alexa, google home, virtual assistants

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Read-time: 3 minutes; 5 if you watch the videos

Unless you've been hiding under a rock, you already know that Alexa* is Amazon’s virtual personal assistant that is gaining a massive following and importance in the marketplace. With over 30,000 skills, Amazon is aiming to make your life, and how you interact with your home, easier with voice-requested (and response) services. Check out what they're doing with hand-free home entertainment & streaming:

 

 

This is Gonna be HUGE!

Alexa is just one of a suite of smart home technologies that have emerged in the past few years, and the numbers are staggering! Here are a few data points:

  • In 2018, the smart speaker market is expected to be worth $2.68 billion
  • The smart speaker market is expected to grow at 34.4% CAGR until 2023
  • Amazon owns 52% of the smart speaker market share
  • Amazon has sold more than 20 million Alexa enabled devices through Q3 2017

And this isn't just Amazon doing damage - Google is gaining ground quickly with their Home and Home-mini devices.

 

"Smart speakers continue to be the world’s fastest-growing consumer technology segment, with year-on-year growth in Q1 2018 of 210% as shipments reached 9 million units." - Canalys, May 2018

Opportunity for Apartment Operators

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5 Reasons for Better Apartment Repair Documentation

May 31, 2018 3:25:47 PM / by Jamie Wohlschlegel posted in maintenance, technology, apartment, documentation, repair

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READ TIME - 4 Minutes

(Author's note: As the CEO of ServusConnect, its my job to stay close to our clients; this is important to not only gauge satisfaction with our product, but also to inspire innovation in our platform by staying close to the operational trends, situations and experiences that multifamily operators deal with on a daily basis. A topic that surfaced during one such visit with a regional management team of a large multifamily owner-operator, was "the importance of repair documentation". Special thanks to Shannon Brummett of GSC and his NC-based regional management team for their insights on this topic.)

 

Maintenance operations is the lifeblood of apartment property management. Yes, leasing makes a great first impression and gets residents in the door, but maintenance retains them. One multifamily CEO recently expressed this during his interview on the Multifamily Matters radio show in Houston, TX when he indicated that "maintenance is the #1 reason why residents don't renew".

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Think your multifamily maintenance staff can't learn tech? Think again

May 10, 2018 4:35:39 PM / by Jamie Wohlschlegel posted in maintenance, technology, multifamily, apartment, apartments, mobility

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READ TIME - 3 Minutes

The thought of giving your multifamily maintenance technicians something new to learn, especially technology, is not a hill many apartment operators want to climb.

Why is this?

Our knee jerk reaction is to think about the tech who still has a flip-phone, or the one who doesn't speak English well, or the conspiracy theorist on your team that thinks you want to track their every move.

It seems there is a general stigma in multifamily that our maintenance team members are not capable of learning or using technology on a daily basis to do their job.

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4 Reasons to Apply Technology to Apartment Maintenance

May 3, 2018 4:24:13 PM / by Jamie Wohlschlegel posted in maintenance, technology, multifamily, apartment

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Read Time: 4 minutes

If you are in the multifamily apartment business, you know this drill:

A resident drops by the office, calls in, or logs into their resident portal to report an issue. When they can get to it, a staff member promptly logs the issue into their property management software, creating a work order for the service team or trusted vendor tasked with performing the repair. The next step?

    Print; 2 copies

For the vast majority of owners and operators, technology stops at the printer. The rest of the process is pretty much without it.

And why not? This practice is tried and true, it's been done this way for years and everyone involved understands it. Besides, the industry hasn’t necessarily been on the cutting edge of technology and neither has the vendor community.

 

Times are Changing

The multifamily industry hand is being forced because resident’s expectations concerning technology is shifting. IT analyst firm Gartner is predicting 25+ billion devices will be connected to the cloud by 2020. For apartment dwellers, think smart speakers, lighting, thermostats, home security devices.

Renters are attracted to this technology for convenience, ease-of-use and immediate access to services. In fact, in a 2017 survey of Apartment Property Managers by Software Advice, respondents indicated that investing in, publicizing and/or incentivizing with smart home features appeals to all types of renters. 

This directly translates to apartment services. Residents are expecting even better, more immediate, services from their landlords.

So where does a multifamily operator start?

 

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