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Putting the tech puzzle together

IREM’s Technology Advisory Board examines tech in real estate management

By <i>Journal of Property Management</i>

Making sense of all the new technologies available to real estate managers can feel like wading through terminology and promises rather than selecting solutions to problems and gaining better efficiency in operations.

There’s Proptech, Fintech, and Contech. Data lakes. Cloud migrations and software integrations. Blockchain. Algorithms and artificial intelligence (AI). Augmented reality and the Internet of Things (IoT). Platforms for managing your company, separate platforms for managing your properties.

And there are tech solutions providers, some with thin client lists and even thinner track records of ROI for the products they’re selling; and others with brilliant new technologies that will remove big pain points for you and your business.

Which products should you choose, and which companies should you trust?

Technology Advisory Board pieces it together

Check out the full results of the 2022 IREM Proptech Insights survey and see all IREM tech resources in one convenient place at IREM Technology.
Some managers, like the members of IREM’s Technology Advisory Board, jump at the chance to put the technology puzzle together. They’ve seen the powerful impact that tech can have on working with their teams, running their properties, and meeting their owners’ investment goals.

The board’s purpose is to help IREM address these technologies and identify the experts, tools, and knowledge products—like webinars, courses, and podcasts—so that you, too, can piece it all together and be in the best position to make informed choices for your properties.

Technology survey

One of the biggest areas of focus for the board each year is IREM’s technology survey. This survey gathers critical information on how real estate managers are selecting and using technology. It allows IREM to prioritize tools and resources for the technologies requiring the most information.

Which technologies are managers of multifamily properties using? What about office buildings? Industrial properties? Other niche property types? And how does this differ according to the size of the management company? How are new technologies evaluated? What are the hurdles to implementing new technologies?

These are the types of questions that IREM’s technology survey seeks to answer. This year’s survey focuses on Proptech. The 2022 Proptech Insights survey was distributed in October 2021 and gathered valuable data on how and why respondents are using technology to enhance and improve their properties’ operations.

Let’s take a look at some of the survey results.

For this first question, it’s encouraging to see that 50.2% of respondents describe themselves as either a “Techie” or an “Innovator.” This suggests that real estate managers aren’t afraid to advance the right solutions.

It’s also not surprising to discover that most respondents see themselves and their companies as pragmatists. At some level, all real estate managers are pragmatists, and innovation that doesn’t pay back isn’t what is needed to compete.

Here we see that drones/photogrammetry is the most widely implemented Proptech among survey respondents, with IoT/smart home technology not far behind. Both technologies have broad applications.

Real estate managers are using drones for maintenance inspections, to analyze prospect traffic at multifamily communities, and as part of property tours. IoT has many uses across different property types, and this application of new Proptech will only continue to grow, making building operations more efficient and the indoor environment healthier and more convenient for occupants. Smart home technology is in demand, with the tech-savvy millennial and Z generations the primary target markets for multifamily rentals.

Making Proptech decisions should be a team effort to examine the potential impact of a tech solution from several angles, including how the product plays with existing IT infrastructure, how it will affect property operations, and what impact it will make on the bottom line.

Other tech resources

The survey helps IREM make the best decisions regarding which technology resources to offer. And because technology is such a rapidly developing area of real estate management, everything you need is in one convenient location at the IREM Technology page.

This page includes links to:

  • Webinars and Skills On-demand courses. Smart home, AI, and digital twins are just a few of the technologies covered.
  • Podcasts. Listen to IREM’s From the Front Lines podcast series, with episodes on IoT, riser management, data standardization, and more.
  • Tech Playbooks. You’ll find playbooks on virtual tours, document management, and touchless access. The playbooks provide an overview of the technology and best practices for product selection and implementation.
  • Real Estate Tech Tracker. Stay on top of the latest tech developments in real estate with this tool, a collaboration between the MIT Real Estate Innovation Lab and JLL.

What’s ahead in tech

Just around the corner, there’s a great new technology that can help real estate managers succeed. There always is. One minute you’ve just heard of a new technology being mentioned, and the next you need to know everything about it—and fast.

A tenant will renew a lease if you upgrade access control. You’re seeking cost-effective ways to enhance your multifamily units, and smart home technology seems to make sense. Or, as we all saw with the pandemic, a technology is suddenly no longer a nice-to-offer amenity but a must-have.

The need for information arises quickly. IREM is eager to provide the tools and resources you need to evaluate technology companies and products as these situations unfold. Resources are constantly being added, so keep checking IREM Technology for new offerings.

Journal of Property Management

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