Staff Training

Could the most important component of technology be the instructions? It’s arguable that a complex piece of software cannot live up to its potential without well-trained users, no matter how well it is designed. Fortunately, Yardi has taken user training beyond a manual with Yardi eLearning, a dedicated learning management system just for Yardi users. Property management companies such as Viridian Management have found Yardi eLearning indispensable considering the benefits it offers vs. traditional training methods. Getting Started with Yardi eLearning Yardi eLearning arrived just in time for Viridian. Late in 2018, their leadership team was developing a training curriculum for staff to use Yardi Voyager, the property management, accounting and affordable housing compliance software used by Viridian. They soon found it was very difficult to craft training content for their users, even with all of the support documentation available for Yardi software. “We were in a bottleneck because there is so much to cover. As we inventoried the skills we wanted our staff to master, we found it would take hours and hours of training to get users where we wanted them to be. When we saw the courses included with Yardi eLearning, we discovered that about 70% of everything we wanted to teach was already available and ready to use,” says Patrick Patterson, president of Viridian. Training on Affordable Housing Viridian manages 120 properties with more than 4,000 affordable units spread throughout Oregon, Washington and Idaho. They specialize in developing and managing tax credit properties, and have experience with USDA Rural Development, HOME, HUD Multifamily Housing, as well as state and local sources of funds. Training for each of those housing programs is facilitated by specific learning tracks in Yardi eLearning. Viridian can simply assign staff to those learning tracks based on...

Successful Screening

Colliers International Group Inc. is a global real estate services company operating in 68 countries. Colliers International Saskatchewan (Colliers) in Canada manages some of the top multi-unit residential rental properties in Saskatoon, Regina, Weyburn and Moose Jaw. With offices in Regina and Saskatoon using different methods to screen applicants, Colliers was spending excess time and money to secure residents — and needed a consistent screening process to mitigate risk and support its leasing goals. Without transparency into screening data, the company also did not have access to performance analytics to help with business decisions. Then Colliers started using Yardi Resident Screening. “With Yardi Resident Screening, we can approve quality applicants in minutes,” said Leigh Anne Cripps, corporate project manager for Colliers. Selecting quality residents According to Cripps, the company chose Yardi Resident Screening for the cost savings along with its direct data flow into Yardi Voyager that provides total transparency into Collier’s screening and leasing performance. “In our Regina office we didn’t have a process for credit checks, which slowed down approvals and leasing. Once we rolled Yardi Resident Screening out in Saskatoon to automate screening and rental recommendations, we also decided to roll it out in Regina to create a consistent process across our offices,” said Cripps. With Yardi Resident Screening, applicants are promptly and automatically screened and rental recommendations are delivered within minutes. As a result, Collier’s onsite staff can lease confidently without the pressure of having to further research and then decide to approve or reject applicants. Devri Robertson, administration manager for Colliers in its Regina office, is not always able to be onsite to meet prospects. “With Yardi Resident Screening and its comprehensive background checks and credit data, there is an extra layer of security for the company in the leasing process. Now we have better visibility and know exactly who we are renting to,” said Robertson. In addition to quickly approving low-risk applicants so Colliers can sign leases faster, Yardi Resident Screening also helps the company reduce operational costs. Saving money For its Saskatoon office, Cripps noted a savings of five dollars per credit check compared with its previous screening method, which means a total savings of up to $500 per month for that office alone. Cripps also mentioned the value of Yardi Resident Screening reports. “The monthly reports from Yardi Resident Screening are a great way to review all applicants and see how the decisions to approve or reject are made. With that information, we can revisit the system settings and tweak any criteria we feel is too lenient or too stringent,” added Cripps. Learn more about Yardi Resident Screening and Yardi’s other industry-leading solutions for multifamily property...

Collaborative Curriculum

Yardi eLearning users have the opportunity to study topics far beyond Yardi software instructions. The catalog includes hundreds of courses that deliver knowledge essential for property managers. Learners receive instruction on topics such as compliance for human resources, leadership skills, residential leasing, safety, communication and other general office best practices. Yardi eLearning is the best place to learn Yardi software. What other source would have the most comprehensive, insider knowledge on Yardi technology? But what about the other courses that make up the Yardi eLearning catalog? Why should you learn professional development skills from a software company? The answer lies in Yardi eLearning’s unwavering focus on meeting clients’ need for a one-stop shop for everything a property management employee needs to grow professionally. Patty Evans, director of Yardi eLearning and corporate training, recently described how her team has worked to accomplish that goal, and dispelled the myth that Yardi eLearning just teaches Yardi software skills. “It is extremely important for users to feel confident and capable when using Yardi’s software, so that’s always going to be a very high priority for eLearning. But, we also feel that having a well-rounded catalog also offers great value to our clients. The curriculum we create is comprehensive and completely customizable, and is often more affordable than hiring a consultant to provide classroom training that is not reusable,” said Evans. So, what is the secret to Yardi eLearning’s success? Extensive collaboration with industry leaders, in-house experts and a diverse client base of property managers directly involved with course development. “Diversity in stakeholder input is the key to making the best content in Yardi eLearning,” says Evans. Creating dynamic course content From the very beginning of the course development process, the Yardi eLearning team seeks input from a varied group of people. The goal of the development process is for newly created courses to meet three basic standards: Relevancy for property managers Accuracy for property managers Compliance with legal mandates Industry relevancy is achieved by engaging with Yardi’s extensive client base from the start. Yardi eLearning meets regularly with clients in a variety of staff roles to identify new content outlines, relevant scenarios and examples to ensure the content is delivered in a way that is relatable and practical. Participants give feedback as to whether the material fits the learning needs, closes skills gaps, and provides appropriate challenges, to ensure the content is hitting the mark. To maximize industry accuracy, Yardi eLearning leans heavily on subject matter experts from its internal team and, again, those from its vast client base. Collectively, that group of industry experts has decades of combined experience in property management which ensure that Yardi eLearning courses teach information that is not only practical, but also reflective of current industry trends in property management. Legal accuracy comes in collaboration with Yardi’s in-house legal team, who vet courses to ensure they meet compliance requirements. “Our course catalog covers topics such as sexual harassment prevention, workplace bullying, fair housing and more. These aren’t topics that someone could just sit down and write about without professional, working knowledge of the ever-changing legal landscape of the property management industry,” says Evans. A Key Component of Every Course During our interview, Patty pointed to a quote that influences eLearning’s approach to course development: When we come together with people who are not just like ourselves, that’s when we think big, think different, and achieve beyond the boundaries of what was possible before. When diversity is not just supported but celebrated, employees thrive, products improve and the community benefits. “As a product team, we’ve applied this philosophy in how we approach course development and maintenance. Getting the best courses to our clients depends on the input from a lot of people who all provide different perspectives and insights. We value teamwork, innovation and creativity. And above all, collaboration is the best ingredient in our course development recipe.”...

Sony vs. Apple

With open office spaces becoming more popular, focus and quiet can be problematic. Headphones or earbuds are increasingly in use at the workplace. Picking the right pair of wireless headphones is not an easy choice when there are so many options to choose from. Some say Sony’s WF-1000XM3 will be Apple’s top rival when they are launched in August. But before we compare the two pairs, we need to talk a bit about Apple’s original Airpods and the updated version, the Airpods 2, that was recently released. Apple Airpods 2 Everyone was anticipating Apple to release the Airpods 2, a new version of the Airpods that would be waterproof and noise-cancelling. But in reality, Apple’s new Airpods are an improved version of the originals. Updates include an upgraded H1 chip and wireless charging. The new chip means you can use a $40 Qi-compatible charging mat to power the case rather than using a cable. The company said that H1 chip improves pairing connectivity and battery life. It also allows for a new “Hey Siri” voice activation feature which allows users to control volume and swap songs through voice commands. Airpods 2 are advertised to provide users with 50 percent more hands-free talk time, according to Apple. When exactly will the company release its newest version of the earbuds? Rumor has it they will land at the end of the year, or early in 2020. Sony WF-1000XM3 Sony’s new earbuds features an updated HD Noise Cancelling Processor QN1e, which cancels out ambient sound. Pretty useful when you’re in the subway and don’t want to be disturbed. The newest Sony earbuds also offer two microphones on each earbud that improve noise-canceling and also enhances voice quality on phone calls. WF-1000XM3’s case is slightly bigger than the...

Tech for the Team

You’ve finally found your dream real estate management software. You’re pumped about the efficiencies that your organization will gain and the money that it will save. But before you can reach those results, you’ve got to get your staff on board. Without proper employee buy-in, the implementation process will be slow, tedious, and less productive. The six tips below can improve employee buy-in. Get leadership enthusiastic about the new technology. C-Level and mid-tier leadership need to understand the benefits that new technology will offer them and their teams. They also need to receive answers to their questions well before implementation begins. With those two factors in place, leadership is better able to present the change to their teams with confidence and gusto. “Ensuring they’re informed and can provide input throughout the transition are essential in earning their support,” states Elizabeth Dukes, employee experience expert at Inc.com. Pinpoint the administrative tasks that devour staff’s time. Understand the pain points around the current workflow. Explore any non-essential tasks that hamper productivity. Then explain how the new real estate management software will address those issue. Note how the technology will streamline day-to-day workflows, permitting staff to focus more on what matters most. Identify inconsistencies in task execution. Inconsistencies are often a red flag. They indicate a point in the process that seems too time-consuming for staff to complete properly. Reiterate the importance and benefits of following protocols. Then show employees how the new software can make it easier for them to achieve consistency. 4. Educate staff on role-based, flexible training software. Employees dread learning new programs for several reasons: Some trainings are too broad, wasting their time on information that is not applicable to their job. Most trainings cater to auditory learners, which make up only 30...

Rural Broadband

Rural communities face a notable dilemma. Internet service providers (ISP) claim fast broadband coverage in remote areas but often fail to deliver. As a result, you struggle to offer efficiency to your staff, residents, and prospects. A few hacks can help you improve your broadband offerings until more permanent solutions arrive. Rural Broadband Setbacks Nearly 63 percent of rural Americans have purchased broadband internet connection but many struggle with connectivity issues. Towns with slow broadband face economic setbacks. High-speed internet is a foundational principal in modern businesses and institutions. Without it, commerce wanes. Reliable connectivity is needed to reach prospects and provide services for customers. To address the broadband overage gap, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) set aside $4.5 billion in rural grants for broadband infrastructure improvements. The program stalled before it gained momentum. The FCC soon realized that there were major discrepancies between coverage maps issued by ISPs and functional coverage experienced by users. An investigation is underway to determine if carriers have violated rules and submitted incorrect coverage data. Coverage maps matter. Towns that are dubbed “well connected” are ineligible for FCC improvement grants. Yet businesses and residents of these towns have problems with basic functions like sending emails, streaming webinars, and using navigation around town. “Our maps simply do not reflect the state of deployment on the ground. That’s a problem,” explains FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel. “We have a digital divide in this country with millions of Americans who lack broadband where they live. If we want to fix this gap and close this divide, we first need an honest accounting of high-speed service in every community across the country.” Based on coverage maps submitted by ISPs, about 24 million people lack access to broadband at home. In contrast, an independent study...

Better Lead Conversion...

Want to capture high quality leads and increase occupancy at your senior living property? Of course, you do! One tool from the Yardi Senior Living Suite, Senior CRM, can help you boost lead conversions in four ways. Wait, What’s CRM? CRM stands for customer relationship management. It’s software that’s used to handle interactions with prospects and mine their data. That data is then used to strengthen your understanding of the prospects so that you can better meet their needs. CRM software captures quantitative and qualitative data about your prospects’ behavior. That information can help you strategize your marketing efforts with greater precision. Robust CRM software can help you increase occupancy in four key ways. 4 Ways CRM Can Help You Increase Occupancy 1. Improve Marketing: CRM enables you to track and analyze the performance of your online marketing channel. Once you identify the most effective channels, you can tailor your marketing spend to optimize your return on investment. You’ll learn what works, what doesn’t, and where to spend your money. 2. Shorten Lead Response Times: Did you know that 64 percent of online shoppers give the first company to call them back an advantage over the competition? If you don’t respond to customers within 24 hours, they begin to question your professionalism, reports Velocify. CRM makes it easy to shorten lead response times and get an advantage over your competitors. You can automate follow-up emails and appointment reminders. Mobile-ready CRM software also enables your staff to contact leads on-the-go so that they never miss a beat. 3. Optimize Contact Strategy: With CRM, your marketing team can test and compare strategies to learn what works. Nearly 60 percent of companies use testing to optimize conversion rates. Testing is important because every company, prospect, and marketing...

AI, Examined

Editor’s note: The following article by Kevin Yardi, vice president of consulting practices for Yardi, was originally printed as a Realcomm Advisory on May 31, 2019. It is reprinted here with permission. Various aspects of big data, AI and Machine Learning have been reported extensively in this space and elsewhere. I’ll use this opportunity to highlight some key points that I think are particularly important to helping the commercial real estate industry benefit from these capabilities. Just what are we talking about? “Big data” means large, complex data sets that most traditional software platforms can’t manage. AI refers to computer systems that can perform tasks normally requiring human intelligence. Machine learning, a form of AI that enables systems to “learn as they go” without being explicitly programmed, supports informed decision-making by assembling and analyzing property information more quickly and more accurately than other systems. The expansion of digital data availability, computing power and software enhancements, along with cheap storage, have made these options viable for commercial real estate. What are the commercial real estate benefits of AI and Machine Learning? AI and Machine Learning can give companies better-structured data that improves business performance. For example, AI systems can detect patterns in conditions affecting energy consumption without being requested, then optimize the target temperature every 30 seconds to ensure comfort without using more energy than necessary. They can also learn from past performance to react to changes in occupancy, weather and other factors. All this translates into better performance through lower utility, energy and equipment maintenance costs; increased tenant comfort that reduces service calls and increases retention; regulatory compliance; investor satisfaction; and higher ENERGY STAR® scores. In short, AI saves energy and money while creating more comfort than humans could do on their own. More...

Securing Senior Data

Senior medical records hold a vast quantity of sensitive data. As care providers strive to work together on patients’ behalf, that data is circulated and altered. There is minimal accountability when changes are made. The result is a chaotic web of transactions with incomplete and often inaccurate information. Additionally, the ever-changing tide of medical programs and coverage criteria impedes efficiency. Blockchain has the potential to improve the handling, accuracy, and accountability of senior records. Hope for the Future, Today Blockchain may improve the accuracy and efficiency of senior data transactions. It can masterfully create configurable records of transactions and other sensitive data, bundled together under a single patient profile and secured with cryptography. When applied to provider directories, the technology can also be used to streamline the verification of benefits, eligibility, and legal authorizations. Currently, senior care providers have difficulty verifying benefits and confirming medical eligibility. The information needed is stored in directories that are regularly amended, lack cohesion and are sometimes riddles with redundancies. In its flawed state, maintaining the current provider directories costs about $2.1 billion each year. When all the necessary data is updated and stored in a single location, caregivers are empowered to make better decisions, faster. Blockchain could revolutionize healthcare by creating an efficient system that is also secure, conforming to antitrust and privacy laws. That efficiency could lead to a lower cost of care. Obstacles to Overcome Blockchain technology is already in use at financial institutions and major corporations worldwide. In its current applications, blockchain successfully improves data-sharing between providers and payers. But before the technology is widely accepted, its advocates must overcome obstacles to blockchain adaption. Trust is a major hurdle. For many, blockchain still feels too new to be trusted. PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) surveyed 600 tech executives...

App-Based Future

It’s 2019, and safe to say that the world is fully immersed in the digital age. A recent report from Hootsuite claims that 67% of the world’s population are unique mobile users and 57% are internet users.  There are around 4.38 billion users of the web, and 95% of the population of Western Europe has internet access available. According to the “Manifest 2018 Consumer App Survey,” around 51% of respondents use apps between once and ten times a day. And as of late 2018, there were approximately 4.1 million apps available from the Google Play and Apple App Store. Consumers have now come to take it for granted that live in a fully digital world.  There is increasingly a sense of expectation, tinged by frustration, when we cannot find a digital application to accomplish a given task. The new norm is an expectation that, within a matter of seconds, we will instantly be able to access and assess millions of pieces of data on almost any topic. The Internet, the go-to source to conduct research and answer any question serious or frivolous, delivers the ability to arrange and organise our daily lives. Instantaneous research helps us with personal, informed decision-making as well as educating us and helping us make specific lifestyle choices. The list of life-altering, or some may say, life-enhancing applications are mind-blowing when put in perspective. Take travel as an example. Researching a holiday destination, finding accommodations, sourcing and booking door to door transportation, researching and building your trip itinerary, where you will visit, where you will eat and even checking out the anticipated weather conditions before you pack means you can organise the perfect trip in a short period of time from anywhere. The list of examples doesn’t end there and...

Cable Free Cometh

Charging cables, while a necessity, are something we’d like to never have to use again. That means batteries too. Battery technology, despite the increasing need in the auto industry, is only slowly advancing, but the results show potential. Researchers have been investing resources into annihilating cables; not long ago researchers from the University of Washington presented a system they named Power over Wi-Fi (PoWiFi). More recently, scientists from MIT and the Technical University of Madrid are looking into a new way of converting energy from Wi-Fi signals into electricity that could power electronics. Their latest study involves a new kind of rectenna: a device that converts alternative current electromagnetic waves into direct current (DC) electricity. The rectenna uses a flexible radio-frequency antenna which captures electromagnetic waves, including those carrying Wi-Fi, as alternative current (AC) waveforms. This antenna is then connected to a novel device called rectifier, for which the researchers used a two-dimensional semiconductor just three atoms thick (called molybdenum disulfide—MoS2), one of the thinnest semiconductors in the world. The AC signal travels into the semiconductor, which converts it into a DC voltage that can be used to power electronic circuits or recharge batteries. In short, this battery-free device passively captures and transforms ubiquitous Wi-Fi signals into useful DC power. Furthermore, the device is flexible and can be set up to cover very large areas. “What if we could develop electronic systems that we wrap around a bridge or cover an entire highway, or the walls of our office and bring electronic intelligence to everything around us? How do you provide energy for those electronics?” asked Tomás Palacios, a professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science & director of the MIT/MTL Center for Graphene Devices and 2D Systems in the Microsystems...

Mobile World Congress 2019

Barcelona was again the epicenter of mobile tech last week when some 100,000 visitors attended the 2019 Mobile World Congress at the Fira Barcelona exhibition center. Foldable phones and 5G capability grabbed the spotlight, flanked by new multimedia applications and car updates. 5G foldable phones Two major smartphone brands presented headline devices: Huawei and Samsung. The Chinese manufacturer showcased the Huawei Mate X, a 6.6-inch device when used as a phone that expands in to an 8-inch tablet-like device. Despite its popularity, it comes with a sky-high price and will retail for $2,600 when it launches later this year. Mate X feeds off the company’s Kirin 980 processor and is 5G-compatible thanks to its multi-mode modem Balong 5000, marketed as the first chipset that supports Vehicle to Everything communications, providing low-latency and highly reliable solutions for connected vehicles. Additionally, the Mate X has backwards compatibility with 4G and 3G networks.  The internal storage provides 512GB, expandable by up to 256GB through the card slot. Mate X is equipped with a massive 4,500mAh battery, which will get the phone charged up to 85 percent in just 30 minutes. Considering that 5G will consume more power than 4G, the boost in power will be more important than an upgrade. The device will include a three-camera array for the rear camera with 40, 16 and 8 megapixels, and one for the front camera. The foldable display is made of plastic, which brings some novelty to photographers. The setup means subjects will get a live preview of photos as they are being taken. A potential issue is the fact that Mate X wears its large screen on the exterior of the device, unprotected. Even though Huawei claims the hinge and the screen are durable, and that a special protector will keep scratches off the screen, skeptics will need convincing. Samsung’s Galaxy Fold is wrapped in mystery (and kept inside a glass case). The $2,000 device was introduced in London during the company’s Unpacked event, where nobody was allowed to touch it. Tech fans hoped that the MWC environment will enable them to get closer to it and maybe get their hands on the shiny device. But Samsung’s protectiveness remained the same, which led critics to project that perhaps Samsung rushed the launch of this revolutionary concept. Samsung’s foldable smartphone has a 4.6-inch HD+ Super AMOLED display which turns it into a 7.3-inch tablet. It is powered by a 4,380mAh battery—needed for the 5G network—also with fast charging capability. Galaxy Fold packs 12GB of RAM and a Qualcomm 855 processor and internal storage of 512GB, which cannot be expanded. Galaxy Fold sports six cameras—three on the rear, one with 16 megapixels and two with 12 megapixels, a 10-megapixel selfie camera on the front and two above the 7.3-inch display inside the fold with 10 and 8 megapixels. When folded, the device looks chunky,  perhaps a better fit for a shoulder bag than a pocket. This leads to one big question: do these foldable phones really give us the best of both worlds? Are these devices innovative enough to make people want to spend thousands for a convertible phone? Or will consumers continue to purchase two devices for communicating and in-depth reading and browsing? Mobility, AR, AI Tech giant Hewlett Packard and automotive supplier Continental have partnered in the development of a new platform for sharing vehicle data. Built with blockchain technology to attest data security and transparency, the application will help OEMs and other automotive players trade better and monetize their data, in addition to differentiating their brands. HERE Technologies and Volvo have also partnered. HERE will provide map data for off-board cloud services that provides the location of cars and other geographical info. Volvo is developing these services in its own cloud environment and plans to deploy them to enhance the driver experience. Microsoft released Hololens 2, a gadget designed for commercial clients...

Key Features

As an operator of a coworking space, you’ll have many choices when selecting a management platform to power your shared workspace. Compare pros and cons and check what features each choice provide, but make sure these five features are included in your software. Robust Accounting Accounting is a vital component to the operation of your space. You may choose a software that integrates with third party applications such as Quickbooks, FreshBooks, or others. That is a significant step up from manual labor. In a perfect world however, your management platform would have all accounting solutions built in. This will eliminate third party apps for accounts payable, payment processing, merchant services, and reconciliation, among other functions. ILS There are numerous benefits to having an ILS (internet listing service) built into your coworking management software. List your space and eliminate marketing time and dollars. Potential members can check out your space at a glance, and improve the quality of your leads. In addition, you will greatly benefit from the ability to sell your services online in real time. Offer spaces, services, and just about anything else you can list. Keep track of sales and revenue live. Real-time Reporting Real-time reporting goes beyond just statistics. Being able to track data and results live will help you track sales, revenue, space usage, and many more driving factors of the success of your space. At the end of the day, the goal is to increase your revenue and provide better service to your members and guests. Real time reporting is at the core of all those goals, as you’ll have visibility to change membership plans, designs, and service based on tracking data over periods of time. Learn more about the benefits of CRM and automated booking in your coworking management software on the...

IoT Blockchain

Editor’s note: By now, everyone has heard about the Internet of Things (IoT), which refers to the billions of devices around the world that are now connected to the internet, collecting and sharing data. Turning dumb objects – from refrigerators to cars to watches – into intelligent aggregators of data creates a new layer of machine learning, and digital communication. This merging of the digital and physical can be found in almost every industry, and is a significant growth area for real estate. Smart city projects are filling select urban areas with sensors, enabling them to understand and control the environment. Within a building, energy efficiencies can be made and predictive maintenance performed. Asset managers can now make better decisions based on real time data that doesn’t just create more awareness around the asset’s current position, but how it can generate more market value. So what’s behind the explosive growth of IOT? The following article by Yuen H. Lee of Augmentum, explores further. IoT is about connecting things that weren’t previously connected. Devices surrounding our everyday lives are omnipresent. Light bulbs, switches, wall clocks, door locks, appliances, etc. Going further, they may include devices we do not see but are omnipresent anyway: circuit breakers, HVACs, home gas shutoff valves, elevator controls, automobile parts, sensors, and smart phones. In a 2018 Bain & Company study, it is estimated that the combined markets of the Internet of Things (IoT) will grow to about USD 520 billion in 2021, more than double the USD 235 billion spent in 2017. A tripped smart circuit breaker can notify the homeowner what and where the problem lies. A group of tripped smart circuit breakers in a neighborhood can alert the utility supplier that a bigger problem may exist. An automobile...

7 Property Management Pitfalls

Property management is tough. Every day can feel like shooting at a moving target, that is invisible, and may decide to shoot back at you at any movement.  Proper preparation can take the sting out of your daily grind and propel your business to success! Below are seven common property management pitfalls with suggestions on how to fix them. High Turnover Whether it’s residents or staff, high turnover is a bad sign. Jen Piccotti of multifamily housing consultant group Manag Inc., defined high resident turnover as anything over the national annual average of about 50 percent. High staff turnover exceeds the national average of 32 percent per year. When your numbers hover near the national averages or higher, it’s time to regroup. Renters are a naturally transient demographic. Sky-high turnover primarily reflects issues within management. A recent survey by Unicom reveals that 27 percent of respondents said hiring and maintaining quality staff was the single biggest challenge. Of that pool, 49 percent said hiring and maintaining staff is “challenging” or “very challenging.” When staff turnover is high, examine daily operations. How can the environment be more conducive to growth and fulfillment? What can make the job more efficient, thus easier? Here is a hint: fix staff turnover first. When happy, empowered employees are in place, they can best address the needs of residents. When residents are cared for, high resident turnover will resolve itself. Poor Property Management Systems Nearly 10 percent of respondents cite time management as one of their most pressing concerns. Among them, 30 percent say that time management is either “challenging” or “very challenging.” A powerful property management system can reduce staff turnover by improving daily work conditions. Streamlining the leads-to-leases process takes a load off overwhelmed staff. Streamlining also reduces repetitive tasks like data entry and follow-up calls, resulting in better time management. The tide builds in your favor! When employees enjoy improved work conditions and better time allocation, you can lower operating costs via less staff turnover, less resident turnover, and more efficient management practices. They all come together with the right property management software. Mediocre Maintenance Staying on top of maintenance falls in line with lowering operating costs. Without regular maintenance, your property descends into expensive disrepair and your resident dissatisfaction rises. When you don’t care for your property, neither will your residents. Property damages escalate from there.  About 14 percent of the respondents claim property damage and unexpected maintenance were above all the other challenges! Set the standard for your property and your residents. Implement a regular maintenance schedule and stick to it. Then help residents help you! With online maintenance requests, you can stay on top of unit maintenance before small problems grow larger. Rejecting Responsiveness Like it or not, residents now expect 24/7 responsiveness. If you are slow to respond to prospect and resident queries, you’re sabotaging your success. First, get a respected customer relationship management system (CRM). That way, you can answer calls even when your office is closed. Secondly, enable all digital communications with an auto-response message. Let people know when they can expect a response from you. Not Reaching for Referrals Properties need a steady flow of leads and referrals to maintain high occupancy. If your property isn’t receiving consistent referrals, it may mean that residents are dissatisfied. With unhappy residents, poor reviews and limited referrals are bound to follow. First, learn what your renters want. Address those areas of concern. Once you are on the track to improved resident satisfaction, initiate a referral program that incentivizes word of mouth marketing. Nuisance Non-compliance Nothing ruins a business faster than lawsuits or expensive non-compliance penalties. Rules constantly change. Stay on top of changes with property management software that updates compliance for you. Also attend conferences that educate managers on developments in federal, state, and local laws. Dangerous Discounting When properties around you start to slash their rates, it’s easy...

Must-Have 2019 Tech

While the coworking industry continues to expand, its important to keep up with the best new technology. Let’s take a look at some of the most latest critical tech components for coworking spaces. CRM Every coworking space should absolutely have a CRM in place. It is truly one of the most integral components to a modern thriving workspace. Not only does it assist in lead tracking, but a CRM will improve your relationships with your current and prospective members. A CRM will streamline lead entry, customer life cycle tracking, vendor relationship management, and many other operational tasks. It drives efficiency and will enhance productivity, and directly leads to greater profitability. The technology-driven corporate world we live in today demands a CRM. According to a study by Gartner, CRM will be the single largest revenue area of spending in enterprise software by the year 2021. Not only is the CRM going to be a core tool for sales and marketing, but it will also benefit customer service. Since your members are reaching out via social media, phone, chat, email, and any other method they can find, it’s important to consolidate all their interactions in one place. The uses of a robust CRM are virtually limitless for all aspects of a successful coworking space. Automated Billing Whether you operate one space or multiple locations, automated billing is a vital component for success. Consider the time you’re spending balancing and reconciling your books. Consider the outsourced cost if you hire a bookkeeper. With the market becoming more competitive,  shared space supply is increasing, and organized operators can run more efficiently. In many cases, operators streamlining their business with automated billing (among other tech solutions) can offer the same product at a more competitive cost. Standout softwares combine an accounting package with merchant services. Yardi KUBE...

Voice Tech

Voice-controlled online entertainment is flourishing in American homes. Many multifamily firms have expressed interest in smart speakers and similar tech options for their properties. Until a few industry challenges are resolved, however, voice-activated gadget cannot fulfill their potential in multifamily applications. Growing Popularity Consumers love voice-controlled devices. In 2017, about 40 percent of broadband households used voice recognition software. The growth continues. Research and analysis firm Parks Associates estimated that household penetration will reach 47 percent by 2022. Voice-activated artificial intelligence (AI) offers multiple conveniences for users. With a simple command or question, users receive helpful information such as commute updates, weather forecasts, and reminders. Consumers also turn to voice recognition software to manage their other devices. Last year, the average American household had 8.8 devices with unique interfaces. Voice-activated technology bypasses the need to switch between devices by offering one interface for them all. The growing popularity and usefulness of voice-controlled AI are promising. Though the technology appeals to consumers, it may not yet offer full value to property owners. Growing Pains Consumer-friendly AI is capable of more now than ever before. Oddly, flaws with basic functionalities still plague the technology, causing trouble for multifamily applications. Command comprehension is the pitfall most likely to annoy users without causing serious damage. Voice-controlled tech may not respond properly because it does not understand user commands. Virtual assistants fail to accommodate for variables such as user syntax, dialects, and the use of non-English words or names.  As a result, user satisfaction with virtual assistants—and the properties that carry them—will vary. Connectivity poses a greater issue. Voice-controlled tech often integrates with other devices. A smart speaker like Alexa, for example, can control the thermostat, lighting, and alarm system for a unit. Unfortunately, interoperability—the ability for one gadget...

Yardi KUBE Preview

Ed. Note: WUN KUBE has joined the family of Yardi property management software. KUBE provides a suite of technology products for coworking and shared space management. This piece on the new platform originally appeared on the KUBE Blog. As we approach the much anticipated release of the new Yardi KUBE platform, we conducted a client-exclusive Q&A session to address a variety of topics. The response was overwhelmingly positive and we cannot wait to debut the new KUBE. We will beta launch in January 2019, and full roll-out is set for April. Below, we’re going to summarize some of the main talking points from the recent webinar. What are  the main changes for KUBE? It’s tough to put into words exactly the incredible extent to which Yardi is impacting our platform, but we tried to do so again in the webinar. Dale Hersowitz, our VP of Coworking, explained that Yardi is best known for building software for the real estate industry, from commercial to multiunit to many other facets. They are now fully diving into the Coworking world with the acquisition of WUN last year. The most important change for KUBE is essentially putting together a single stack. What does that mean? Yardi has a full general ledger suite, an accounting package, they’re also a merchant, they offer a vendor procurement solution, they are an e-broker, and KUBE will continue to provide the operational component to power your day to day functions of your space. No more third-party integrations. Yardi will encompass 7 modules in one tightly integrated solution. Everything in a single platform allows for greater efficiency, cost savings, prevents leakage, and enables operators to scale effectively. Enhancements and New Features The attendees asked several questions regarding the enhancements of the new platform. Yardi has a...

AP Efficiency

Property managers can save time, reduce errors and decrease paper use with Yardi Bill Pay, an automated vendor payment solution. Yardi Bill Pay, part of the Yardi Procure to Pay Suite, automates check writing, electronic payments and credit card processing for accounts payable (AP). Payments are issued and distributed, then recorded in the user’s Yardi Voyager database in real time. Yardi Bill Pay works seamlessly with approval workflows. Just click a button to authorize Yardi to make the payment on your behalf via ACH, check or credit card. The solution pulls daily payments from the user’s database, creates and transmits files to the user’s banking network, then sends acknowledgement files back to Yardi Voyager. Yardi Bill Pay users have always been able to process incoming payments for accounts receivable, and they can now manage that process and AP from one platform. More than a passive routing system, Yardi Bill Pay can be an active revenue earner by turning AP in a revenue center with credit card payments. Clients have the option of obtaining single-use Mastercard®-branded virtual card numbers to make payments to their vendors. Yardi completes the entire paperless transaction through vendor payment. Benefits of the credit card option include: Earning a rebate percentage on every dollar spent through a credit card Frictionless payment—you just process a payment in Yardi Voyager and the vendor sees the money in their bank a few days later Yardi assistance with vendor outreach Card acceptance driven through VENDORCafé , resulting in higher card acceptance rates than are possible through competing solutions “With both buyers and suppliers looking for ways to increase efficiency and improve their bottom line, virtual card programs can unlock shared value that meets the needs of all parties.” Single-use account solutions combine “the benefits of...

Welcome to Mobile 5G

We can all use faster internet! Make daily operations more efficient for your staff with the latest advance in US mobile technology. Beginning spring 2019, AT&T will offer a faster internet speed for mobile devices in 12 cities. 5G, Revamped If you feel like you already read about this early in 2018, you’re sort of right. AT&T introduced a version of 5G earlier in the year. It was 5G TF, which came with a ton of limitations. T-Mobile CEO John Legere was quick to point out those shortcomings on Twitter, “I cannot begin to explain how important 5G is going to be for this country, so I have to say congrats to Verizon on delivering its 5G* Home Service today. It doesn’t use global industry standards or cover whole blocks and will never scale… but hey, it is first, right?!” AT&T’s limited release was offered to residences via the Netgear Nighthawk 5G Mobile Hotspot in more than 20 cities. Now, the Dallas-based company ups the ante with mobile access on 5G NR, the more commonly accepted application that meets industry standards. The new 5G offers faster speeds and very low latency. That means you will be able to enjoy faster responsiveness from Yardi Voyager property management software: quickly upload receipts, forms, and other files to the cloud for easy access and safe storage. Your team can reach more prospects by live streaming property tours and events on Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat. With delivery and rideshare services skyrocketing, you’ll have an advantage with 5G. Your communities can offer safer access to driverless vehicles. The applications are endless. Mobility, Faster Without mobile devices that can keep up, mobile 5G would be unexciting. Fortunately, the first 5G-compatible handsets should be available in early 2019. Samsung has promised...