Property Management Technology: Five Trends to Be on the Lookout For

Written by Posted On Tuesday, 15 January 2019 17:13

It’s no secret that digital transformation continues to disrupt almost every industry, changing the way we buy our groceries, set our thermostats, communicate with co-workers and try on clothes. For property management companies, it’s also changing the way we communicate with tenants, conduct day-to-day operations, work with partners and more.


In the commercial real estate sector, automation and digital tech have afforded business managers, property owners, builders and agents alike the opportunity to cut costs, improve collaboration, and work more seamlessly and efficiently toward a common goal. Today, we’re discussing five ways this innovation is especially transforming the property management sphere, and how future-focused business leaders can make the most of this important time.


1. Drone Technology

Traditionally, managing outdoor spaces and large commercial businesses was a time-consuming and challenging tasks for property managers. Not only is it difficult to monitor every area due to the limitations of on-foot personnel, but issues can arise in areas that are virtually unreachable by manpower alone. For instance, there may be shingles missing from the top of an apartment building roof, but unless someone is continually monitoring this area, the needed repair could go unnoticed.


This is where drones come in. Recently, as the technology has fine-tuned and sophisticated, drones have gone from a luxury entertainment tool to an integral part of many business operations given they are now more cost-effective than ever before. In partnership with security teams, drones can help property managers get a clearer and more accurate view of a property in its entirety, including its rooftop.


2. Data-Rich Machine Technology

Staying up-to-date on what tenants are looking for, how to remediate their pain points and ways to lower turnover rates is critical to succeeding in the property management industry. It’s always helpful to go straight to the source in matters such as these, mining actual client data for valuable feedback and actionable insights. From online surveys to emails, social media messages and more, there are myriad avenues through which business leaders can learn of tenant preferences.


The only issue? Anyone who has worked in property management realizes that it’s a fast-paced and multi-faceted career, and as such, it can be difficult to find the time to analyze these heaps of data, as rich and informative as they may be. This isn’t to say that technology should fall by the wayside in your efforts to keep up with daily tasks. In fact, you can click here for a detailed look at one leader in the industry that’s leveraging technology to perform steps from tenant screening to move-out inspections.


However, with so much on your plate, you might not have time to sort through endless rows of data. However, machine learning applications are designed to do just this. They can sort through scores of data in seconds, finding the pieces of value and insight that are the most valuable to end users. They can also identify market trends, construction optimization techniques and repair performance. In 2019, look to see more of an emphasis on proactively optimizing operations in response to this insight, and less time manually collecting and sorting through piles of data.


3. Augmented Reality

You may have heard of the many ways that Augmented Reality, or AR, is being applied within the retail or food and beverage industries. One example is smart mirrors, that allow shoppers to try on clothes and immediately see how the outfits will look at different times of the day. Yet, did you know that AR is quickly making a name for itself in the property management sphere, as well?


The same technology that allows shoppers to get a clearer view of their clothing choices can help repair technicians get a more accurate view of an in-home issue requires attention. By interacting with a digital representation of the property, the crew can see where major equipment is located and where an issue might be stemming from. They can also see it from different angles to aid in their assessment. In addition, once they arrive at these systems, the units could be complete with interactive directions, 3D specs and more to make the repair process as straightforward as possible.


4. Innovative Robotics

While it seems like something straight out of the Jetsons, expect to see robotics take center stage in the property management sphere in 2019. Why? As the cost of raw materials continues to escalate and construction labor wanes, these machines can fill those gaps and do the work in a fraction of the time.


While it might mean a shift in the construction industry, there will be a new rise of jobs for those who are skilled in controlling and interfacing with these machines. An added benefit of employing on-site robots to aid with the home building, repair and remodel process is that the risk of on-the-job injuries can be lowered and the overall construction timeline can be sped up to meet tenant needs.


5. Smart Garages and Streets

As we inch closer and closer to the widespread rise of the autonomous vehicle, property managers, especially those within the multi-family and mixed-use residential/commercial sector, should expect to see more properties equipped to complement this trend. From smart parking garages to sidewalks, bike lanes and roadways equipped with additional navigation features, there will be a few different ways to get around the nation’s cities.


As such, property managers can offer amenities that support this trend, such as parking passes and ease of access to nearby sidewalks for conveniences. A major draw to urban living is its proximity to downtown areas and local nightlife, entertainment and corporate offices. If a property manager can make a tenant’s commute as quick and efficient as possible, that company can earn major points, especially within a market full of millennials looking to capitalize on going green while simultaneously embracing the latest tech trends.


The Catalyst for Future-Focused Property Managers

With so much innovation at their fingertips, property managers might be overwhelmed at the challenge of making use of it all. The key is to understand each of these trends thoroughly, then weigh their implications against current business operations. You don’t have to embrace and integrate them all at once, but knowledge is power, and the more you’re aware of how these trends could impact your industry, the better prepared you’ll be when they do.


Read industry news, meet with key stakeholders to discuss these trends and determine a plan for 2019 and beyond. Looking into the future, successful property managers will be those who look at this industry shift as a welcomed one, and put steps in place to make sure they’re making the most of it.

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