Knowing what’s happening currently within your industry is incredibly important, but knowing what the future may hold is just as valuable. For us, the opportunity to learn more about both came in the form of NMHC OpTech – the premiere conference and expo showcasing the next big things in multifamily. The hot topic of the conference this year was package management, which further solidifies Package Concierge as a necessity, not just an amenity. However, it wasn’t all about our side of the industry. Other talking points during the conference included the expansion of properties going green, laundry pick up, waste removal, and even properties housing restaurants and grocery stores (imagine telecommuting and never needing to leave!). There are a few points that stood out to us because they were subtle in discussions but can change the lives of residents:
- Fitness/Wellness: We’re beginning to see a steeper incline in how fitness and wellness are delivered as an amenity. Virtual fitness classes eliminate the need for communities to hire actual instructors to teach fitness classes on-site. Instead, the communities subscribe to a virtual fitness package. Some communities have already begun to roll this out and with the simple flip of a channel on a television; the resident can join an actual fitness class anywhere in the country. Pretty amazing stuff!
- Millennials vs. Baby Boomers: As new technology enters the multifamily industry, we must make sure no one’s getting left behind. The million-dollar question: how do we incorporate innovation that services and spans the vast renter market? Are we creating technologies based on the millennial market and forgetting about other demographics? As we know, a happy resident is a loyal resident and keeping the community happy keeps revenue high. Developing newer and more efficient ways of delivering amenities is one thing, but they must provide accessibility for all, not just the young and hip.
- Smart Lock Systems: We attended one of the first sessions at OpTech (DIY 24/7 Apartments). This session was the most relevant to us because the panel addressed current innovations and where they think the industry is headed. Smart Lock Systems, or locking systems controlled through a user’s smartphone, proved a big topic of conversation. This idea wasn’t limited to locking up the apartment when the user is away, but also some discussion about the ability to install smart systems where residents could control their lights/thermostats for energy-saving purposes. Similar products exist on the market today which are relatively affordable but don’t be surprised if you see them pop up in units near you very soon.
- Online Leasing: In an effort to purge paper, everyone was also talking about leasing apartments completely online, streamlining the entire process from start to finish without a drop of ink. This certainly isn’t a new technology or a new idea, but it’s imperfect and something that everyone is trying to get right. We think this concept is on the horizon, though, and should make the process of renting easier than it’s ever been once implemented correctly. For now, it’s a race to see who gets there first.
These topics may not have been at the forefront of discussion, but they were heard on the conference floor and we feel that these talking points will become major features very soon. Every industry is focused on how to make things easier and we’re no exception to the rule. But our key takeaway from the event was that package management is here to stay and we’re leading the charge on making it as efficient as possible. In just 3 years, Package Concierge is leading the way in our section of the multifamily industry. We saw the problem and solution back then and who knows, we might just be right about these points as well!