Senior Living Priorities...

Senior living community operators spent much of 2020 working to stabilize their operating environments. Technology has played a major role in that adaptation. “The need to have technology access in senior living has jumped up a level, and it will stay there,” Laurie Orlov, founder of Aging in Place Technology Watch, told Senior Housing News. Zoom meetings, virtual tours, video chats and other capabilities that maximize safe interaction are “likely to continue long after the coronavirus has been contained,” adds a blog article posted by Life Care Services, a Des Moines, Iowa-based senior housing community operator. Eighty percent of respondents to a Senior Housing News survey in August reported increasing their tech spending this year to address the COVID-19 pandemic; 68% said their companies implemented telehealth since the beginning of the crisis. Looking ahead, 87% of survey participants expected their organizations to increase their technology budgets in 2021 for resident monitoring, contact tracing, telehealth, virtual activities for residents, virtual tours for prospects and other operations. “And that’s just the beginning,” Life Care Services says. New applications coming over the horizon “will make life easier, safer and more engaging for residents,” including motion and voice controls that eliminate the need to press buttons or grab handles, virtual reality systems for more immersive community tours, wearable smart technology and even robotic pets for memory care residents. Other areas that senior living operators are targeting for expanded investment include resident safety and emergency call systems, air purification and other infection control measures, wellness programs, and sales and marketing. Access to technology will also become a larger factor in families’ evaluation of senior living options going forward. “If you go into a community … and there’s no Wi-Fi in the room, people will not put up with that,”...

Technology Tools

Isolation is necessary to keep senior living community members healthy during the pandemic – and a challenge to their well-being in other ways. As HealthTech magazine put it, “Important safety measures to keep high-risk people isolated during the pandemic hold a particular disadvantage for older adults in assisted living.” While the absence of sustained interaction can’t be completely mitigated as COVID-19 runs its course, a number of collaboration tools give senior living community residents vital mental and physical stimulation plus social engagement with the outside world. “Advances in technology for senior living are more focused on improving quality of life, providing data that enhances housing and developing personal devices that give seniors more control over their environment,” according to Craig Fukushima, managing partner for The Fox Group LLC, a health care consulting firm in Upland, Calif. Many of the technology tools leveraged by older adults are familiar to the non-senior population: smartphones, tablets, videoconferencing, telehealth. HealthTech reports that residents at Connecticut-based Maplewood Senior Living, for example, use iPads for video chats, virtual cocktail hours and birthday parties. A Thrive Senior Living community in Germantown, Md., added Alexa-enabled voice control and smart speaker devices. And Seattle-area operator Merrill Gardens outfitted seven of its communities with devices that support video calls with family and activities such as virtual card games and trivia contests. Video games are another way to keep seniors active. Fitness trackers can help them count steps, compete in competitions and create workout routines. Other apps offer quizzes, puzzles and other stimulating activities. The gap between tech-savvy younger generations and their elders is narrower than some people might think. An AARP survey published in January 2020 revealed that 51% of older Americans bought a smartphone, smart television, wearable device or other tech product in...

Smart Guide to Proptech Software

So, you’ve decided to invest in innovative property management software to navigate the challenges of remote work and our changing economy. One look around the proptech marketplace reveals that there are dozens of options available. Many seem to offer similar services. With so many options on the market, how do you know what’s right for you? Below are five key features to look for when choosing property management software. Seamless integration with the ancillary software There are plenty of property management solutions that are compatible with ancillary software. There are, however, a few problems with integration between different platforms: Primarily, there is no guarantee of long-term integration. When you’re dealing with two separate companies, there are opportunities for acquisitions and other changes that may affect long-term compatibility and availability of either product. Secondly, there are two software systems that need regular updates. That means more maintenance and headaches for your staff. When one system receives an update, you can only hope for the best with the other. If they’re not in sync, you may experience delays, lose functionality or accuracy. That’s wasted time for your staff and costly errors for you. Seamless integration occurs when both the property management software and ancillary products function on a single platform by a single provider. Such integration ensures optimal efficiency and accuracy in the long-term because there is less work to keep products and data in sync. Mobile-ready and browser agnostic A web-based property management solution is essential as remote work environments become more commonplace. Web-based and mobile-ready software allows you and your team to work without being tethered to the leasing office. When working from home, out in the field or travelling, you can securely access the information you need. Your office staff will be empowered to complete rent payments and procurement online –checks, money orders, debit and credit cards, and even cash—without prolonged processing times, fewer in-person meetings and zero trips to the bank. Additionally, browser agnostic software (easily accessible with any major web browser) increases user flexibility. You can get the job done on any operating system including Android, iOS and Windows and with any browser such as Chrome, Safari and Firefox. Automated tools that promote efficiency Both remote and in-office employees benefit from tools that help them focus on what’s important and bypass tedious tasks. Fortunately, today’s property management software offers impressive automation tools. In marketing, customizable automation tools deliver targeted messages to prospects, send follow-up correspondences, handle appointment and tour scheduling and even update your ILS. Once your prospect becomes a resident, systems can automatically transfer prospect data to a resident file without redundant data entry. Staff can automate workflows including leasing, move-ins and move-outs, work orders, purchase orders and check writing. Those features are just a sample of the automated services available through modern property management software and add-ons. Automation frees up time for staff members to focus on building relationships, closing sales and earning loyalty. Scalability Is the software prepared to grow with you? Property management software is a powerful, long-term investment. Consider a solution that will grow with you through pandemic recovery and beyond. Protect your investment by choosing a platform that is configurable to your current needs and scalable to your future. Innovative solutions make it easy to add and integrate marketing, customer relationship management, procurement, facilities management, energy management and business intelligence solutions as needed. Save time by skipping new core product evaluations and training as your organization and needs grow. Built-in enterprise management and accounting all in realtime When it comes to accounting and property data, few things matter more than safety, consistency, accuracy and transparency. Seek property management software with built-in accounting that meets all applicable accounting standards and regulatory requirements. With cloud services, accounting and property data can produce real-time reports with a single source of truth for more informed decision making. Get 8 questions to ask before choosing...

Digital Lease Management

Digital technology and tools are transforming every industry all across the world. Every day the digital transformation is opening up new opportunities, possibilities, and offering new levels of accuracy, efficiency, cost-savings, and growth for businesses. The unprecedented pandemic and the new lease standards IFRS 16 and ASC 842 have further reinforced the need for digital solutions like lease accounting software. Those companies which have implemented new lease standards have realized that lease management software is critical for maintaining balance sheets and financial statements without errors. The complex nature of new lease standards also asks for digital lease management and accounting solutions which can generate positive results. Therefore, digital technologies and software are a must for success in the lease management and accounting discipline. Benefits of Digital Lease Management and Accounting Implementing the new lease accounting standards can be overwhelming. Gathering necessary data, modifying each of the leases and calculations can be complex. Many leading organizations are missing the opportunity to automate lease-related tasks and improving efficiency. It is high time to use digital technology and experience its many advantages. Lease management and accounting software can benefit businesses in many ways. Centralized Data The world is going digital with industries storing important data using digital tools and advanced technology. It is a complex task to maintain an enormous amount of lease data, obligations, and provisions on spreadsheets. Moreover, it becomes difficult when different members of the technical and other teams need access to it. Lease management software solves this significant problem by providing centralized data. It can be accessed by anyone from anywhere whenever you need it. It saves time and increases productivity. Tracking the Leases Another advantage of using lease management software is that it makes tracking all information related to leases easy. You can find the lease commencement date, expiration date, and other tailored insights as per your need. The reporting features can help you analyze lease spending. Thus, lease management software gives you better control over lease data and helps in managing them effectively. Compliance with Latest Standards The new lease accounting standards direct finance and operating leases to be included in the balance sheet. This requires extra work and effort where leases need to be modified to comply with the new standards. Using a lease accounting software will help with calculations, disclosure requirements and other software features will make it easy, efficient, and cost-effective to carry out the implementation process. Make Better Deals The tailored reports, auditing features, and better control over leases help you in making better leasing deals. The software makes it easier to understand the errors and highlights benefits which eventually helps in adding or removing provisions that benefit your organization in the long run. Seamless Workflows  Digital lease management and accounting solutions enable seamless workflows for the lease accounting and management team. Automatically generated reminders, easy landlord reports, intimation letters as part of the schedule makes day to day operations easy. With new digital innovations happening across the industries, it is time to embrace the latest lease management and lease accounting software. Yardi’s Corporate Lease Management Software simplifies operational and system changes to comply with new lease accounting standards. For more details,...

Let’s chat

Property management chatbots have been a hot topic lately, especially for multifamily rentals. A chatbot can meet renters’ increasing demands for digital communication and capture more leasing opportunities, but only if it’s used wisely. First, we’ll talk about why you should consider “hiring” a chatbot if you don’t have one on staff already. Then, we’ll show you three things your chatbot should be able to do. Finally, watch a short video to get chatbot tips from expert marketer Drew Davis, who spent months talking to chatbots in different industries to see what works and what doesn’t. Why a chatbot? Employing a chatbot as part of your customer experience team can ensure you never miss an incoming leasing opportunity, day or night, and it frees up onsite staff to focus on assisting applicants and residents. If you don’t have a chatbot yet, you’re probably losing leases to competitors that do. That’s because customers expect instant and accurate answers to their questions. They hate waiting. In fact, in a survey on response times that included more than 3,000 customers, 88% of respondents expected a response within an hour, with 33% of them saying they expect an answer in 15 minutes or less. Is that realistic for your agents, especially when you factor in after-hours contacts? Probably not. That’s where a chatbot comes in handy. But do people really want to talk to a bot? Recent data says they do. The 2020 NMHC/Kingsley Apartment Resident Preferences Report found that 48% of renters say they would use a chatbot in their next rental search. That number is anticipated to grow as chatbot adoption becomes increasingly common across multiple industries. A 2019 report by Chatbots Life predicts that chatbots will handle 85% of human interactions online within the next...

Simple, Streamlined Procurement

Efficient, automated procurement and single-point supplier management are within reach. Through Yardi Marketplace, HD Supply Canada offers tools of the trade for multifamily, hospitality and healthcare property managers. It is a collaboration that empowers clients to work with greater simplicity, efficiency and savings. For Munawar Quraishi, general manager for HD Supply Canada Inc., teaming up with Yardi was a merging of interests. Both organizations emphasize caring for employees, clients and the community. Quraishi says, “Improving our people’s lives is at the core of everything we do. We know that having engaged, successful people within our business will drive the success of the organization.” He continues, “We look at the right balance of people, profit and processes.” To enhance its processes, HD Supply Canada sought a collaborator with similar perspectives on innovative technology. Together, Yardi and HD Supply Canada aim to advance the future of maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) buying and distribution. HD Supply, Canadian market leaders HD Supply Canada is the leading supplier of MRO products for multifamily living, hotels and long-term retirement care in the nation. Its pick, pack and distribute business model offers next day shipment. Product availability constantly grows: currently, HD Supply Canada offers 14,000 SKUs. Within the next several years, the goal is to get over 100,000. The process includes consulting subject matter experts on new products so that clients can rest assured they’re getting high quality and value. “Our sales team engages with vendors and peers to research and give our customers the best solution,” says Quraishi. Getting quality products into the hands of clients has involved process innovation at HD Supply Canada. The supplier was determined to implement digital solutions that streamline processes for its staff and its clients. HD Supply Canada + Yardi Marketplace add value for clients “Yardi Marketplace helps us act as solution providers for our customers, not just transaction executors. Having one platform for orders, payment and analytics will give our customers a previously unattained degree of visibility and help improve their productivity,” explains Quraishi. Previous transactions occurred via fax, email, phone and website. This approach resulted in unnecessary time delays and errors. “Yardi’s integration takes away the ambiguity of purchase order development before it gets to us, whether that’s a price change, error or issue with the print catalogues,” says Quraishi. An online marketplace also allows property technicians to maximize their time by using a mobile-ready service to place orders while they’re in the field. Clients note that site-level productivity has improved once operating on Marketplace. Additionally, HD Supply Canada conducts enterprise resource planning (ERP) through Marketplace. This allows the customer to make better decisions around budget and pricing. “This technology was a big play for us: it allowed property owners to understand how they’re spending dollars, especially in a time like today with COVID-19 where budgets and working capital become more important,” Quraishi says. “Such budget and capital insights allow clients better visibility than they had in the past.” Pouring (not trickling) the savings to clients Improved efficiencies within HD Supply Canada have a resounding impact on clients. HD Supply Canada reports that Yardi Marketplace has facilitated fewer price discrepancies, fewer errors with purchase orders and better visibility into approvals and budgeting. The organization now picks, packs and ships without completing the approval process via disparate systems and methods. The streamlined approach expedites business at multiple levels. The future of technology in MRO buying + distribution  Quraishi and his team collaborate with technology companies like Yardi to usher the distribution industry into the future. “We believe technology is the solution to help us grow and we will grow with it,” says Quraishi. “Our investment in technology allows us to enhance the customer experience. We believe our system will pull information quickly and provide superior data to our clients. Those resources will help customers understand what they are buying, standardize those purchases and realize cost savings in the...

iPad 2020

Apple’s newest iPad Air features a 10.9-inch liquid retina display and five finishes including silver, space gray, rose gold, green and sky blue. The device includes 3.8 million pixels, full lamination, P3 wide color support with a resolution of 2360×1640 at 246 pixels per inch, True Tone and an anti-reflective coating. Given the fact that many users now have a mask on their face much of the time, making Face ID complicated, the new iPad Air includes the throwback Touch ID sensor. The sensor is integrated into the top button and allows you to unlock iPad Air, log in to apps or use Apple Pay. iPad Air shares the same magic keyboard as the iPad Pro, as the difference between them is very small—11 inches for the iPad Pro. Apple’s most advanced chip iPad Air includes Apple’s most advanced chip, A14 Bionic packed with 11.8 billion transistors for a better performance and power efficiency. The A15 Bionic handles even the most demanding apps such as editing 4K videos, play immersive games, create works of art and so on. Using five-nanometer process technology, the latest A-series chip includes a six-core design for 40 percent boost in CPU performance and a new four-core graphics architecture for a 30 percent improvement in graphics. Environmentally Friendly Part of Apple’s plan to become carbon neutral by 2030, the new iPad Air uses a 100 percent recycled aluminum enclosure and 100 percent recycled tin for the solder on its main logic board. Additionally, the new speakers in the device use magnets with 100 percent recycled rare earth elements so the device remains free of harmful substances, is highly energy efficient and uses wood fiber packaging that is recycled. New bits and pieces The Air moves to USB-C like the iPad...

Hospitality to Healthcare

Senior housing providers are witnessing a major shift within the industry. Traditionally following a hospitality format, today’s senior living specialists now adapt pages from healthcare models. The pandemic prompted senior living staff to implement more on-premises care methodologies. The results are fewer in-person touch points, enhanced health tracking and preventative care. With these changes come new challenges. Bob Kramer is the co-founder of the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing and Care (NIC), a Yardi partner. Kramer shares his insights on the challenges faced by senior housing professionals as they shoulder more on-premises care for residents. Learn about the benefits of the NIC Actual Rates Initiative for senior housing market data. A transformation born from necessity In recent history, senior housing providers focused on the resident experience. Staff left health care in the capable hands of off-site experts. COVID-19, however, required staff to renegotiate the barrier between hospitality and health care. In addition to their existing responsibilities, housing providers initiated on-premises health care tasks. “[The pandemic is causing] what you might call the creative destruction of some of what has been the paradigm to senior housing and care,” Kramer explained during a panel interview. “The senior housing and care model that we don’t do health care, and that we ship out our residents for health care services, I just don’t think that model will survive.” He continued, “That doesn’t mean senior living providers need to abandon hospitality-driven models altogether. But it does likely mean they need to rethink how they coordinate care within their communities.” Reimagining doctor’s visits and communication “In just the past six months, older adults have learned to fear the hospital, the emergency room and the doctor’s office, as these are places now associated with a deadly pandemic,” Kramer said. With the help of site staff, residents have taken comfort in telehealth options. Housing professionals forged partnerships with health care providers to offer remote care. Through this alternative, seniors skip unnecessary transport to medical specialists. They receive assessments and basic care from the comfort and familiarity of their communities. Community staff members implement software to help manage residents’ chronic conditions and any changes in wellness. Routine maintenance that was once handled off-site now takes place within residents’ rooms. Emerging from the pandemic, it’s unlikely that telehealth services and community-centered care will fade from practice, suggests Kramer. Staff can rely on technology and data to make the new on-site care model more efficient and secure. Data and interoperability at the intersection of senior housing and health care Interoperability and data management are lingering concerns with senior living providers. The concern has only grown as more care takes place within communities instead of hospitals. An upcoming change in policy may provide the guidance and structure that senior living providers seek. The Interoperability and Patient Access final rule from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) requires all health plans to present their data as an application programming interface. Proposed to take effect by July 1, 2021, the policy gives developers insight into general health care data. They can then use that information to address interoperability issues in new technologies. The data can also highlight trends in resident behavior or assessments that allow staff to take proactive care measures. As with all things data, the more information uploaded, shared, and properly analyzed, the more accurate insights become. “The challenge is making sure they have the means to upload their observations that are then screened by an algorithm searching for red flags and are instantly shared with those responsible for the delivery and care for that individual,” Kramer said. While site staff will enter their observations, residents can be empowered to share their health data on their own. Kramer expects strong participation. He observes that many Boomers want to be proactive about their health. “I do think that this is the role of tech, in enabling Boomers to self-direct...

Advanced Wireless

Wireless technology is an intrinsic part of everyday life. Whether it’s for mobile work, communication, entertainment or staying informed, the ability to have wireless connectivity anywhere we go is critical. The landscape of wireless is changing. It is faster and more widely available now than it ever has been in the past. Let’s explore how the new normal in wireless is shaping the commercial real estate industry for landlords and tenants. One of the ways in which connectivity has affected consumers is the time they spend in an establishment. A shopping mall for example, will see their crowds linger if they have better service inside the building or stores. Sporting venues throughout the world are spending millions of dollars on infrastructure enhancements to be able to give fans the ability to keep up with other games in real-time, a reason many fans cite as a motive to stay home and watch multiple games simultaneously. Brian Schwartz, vice president of IT at Macerich, said on a recent Realcomm webinar that there are several ways to enhance connectivity. Improving Wi-Fi, distributed antenna systems (DAS), CBRS and newer tech like LPWAN and expanding use of sensors, will all play a role for the connected customer. LPWAN is key for transmitting significant amounts of data over long distances and was created for machine learning and IoT interconnectivity. They are able to support a large number of devices at ultra-low power. It has become an expectation that venues provide Wi-Fi connectivity. It should be readily accessible and free to use, which means it doesn’t generate revenue, but it could be a source of gathering analytics. Property managers should require users or guests to sign in using an email or phone number, opt into a newsletter or some sort of...

Autonomous cars

Back in 2015, General Motors, Google’s Waymo, Toyota and Honda made announcements that by 2020 they will have driverless cars. Elon Musk was even more optimistic and said that Tesla would do it by 2018, but when that failed, he moved up the release date to 2020. We are in 2020 and as we all see, there are no sign of driverless cars on the streets. Musk recently commented that by the end of this year, Tesla will have fully autonomous cars. While Tesla may have the technology to enable a car to finish a journey without any human input—what the industry calls level 5 autonomy—the actual development of the vehicle not only has to be safe, but also meet complex legal requirements. How do they work? In theory, self-driving cars need to be outfitted with cameras that can see all the objects around it and be able to react rather than steering into one. These cameras help the car to view objects, while there are also sensors that help them detect objects like pedestrians, other vehicles and road signs. Lidar uses lasers to measure the distance between objects and the vehicle, while tracking speed and direction. The sensors send data back to the car’s control system or computer to help it make decisions about where to steer or when to brake. There are also cases when bad weather, heavy traffic or roads signs with graffiti can negatively impact the accuracy of sensing capability to self-driving cars. We will have to wait and see if an autonomous car can drive as well as a human. Autonomous cars cannot make eye contact with others to confirm who has the right of way, react to weather conditions or make judgment decisions that are much more difficult...

Tech’s Role

Many jurisdictions are now allowing for reopening, requiring managers and landlords to balance the value of workers returning to the office with the need to keep them safe. There are tech advancements that will facilitate offices reopening, such as touchless door access, Bluetooth tracking, parking vacancy sensors, temperature readings and countless others. But the reality of this situation is that these enhancements were not created for a post-COVID world. We had the ability to leverage these tech drivers before, as Brandon Van Orden, senior vice president and CIO at Cousins Properties, explained. However, it has become a necessity for companies to use them more frequently now, some experts suggest. What about those who make a personal decision to stay remote? Some workers may have comorbidities making them especially vulnerable to COVID-19. Some may be unable to arrange childcare while schools remain virtual. Regardless of the reason, many workers may not be ready mentally or physically to re-enter the workplace, and businesses must weigh the human elements of this just as much as the tech components of reopening. In-office Value There is one big question that nobody can yet answer: how long will capacity restrictions be in place? Because this is an indefinite timeline, it is much harder to determine in-office schedules. Some offices are moving to a hybrid work environment, which many experts believe is the future of work. It could mean that workers alternate days or weeks in office or it could mean that each day has multiple shifts, but the benefits of being in a work setting are numerous. The initial wave of work from home success was tangible. Employers were generally pleased at the rapid adaptation to a WFH model and employees showed they can produce at a high rate when...

Smart Glass

Smart glass technology allows for the control of light by switching from clear to shaded or completely opaque, depending on how strong the incoming light is and how dark you want to make the room. In other words, it alters the amount of light transmitted through typically transparent materials. The same technology found in smart glasses can be integrated into windows, partitions or other transparent surfaces and can be used in multiple sectors such as architecture, interior design, auto, offices, retail windows and consumer electronics. A smart glass, also called light control glass, switchable glass or privacy glass, can be of two types: active, when changeability requires an electrical charge, and passive, when it doesn’t require that. There are a few types of active switchable glass technologies and common applications: Polymer Dispersed Liquid Crystal glass (PDLC)—seen in privacy partitions in various industries Suspended Particle Device glass (SPD)—windows that tint to shade Electrochromic Device glass (ECD)—coated windows that slowly tint for shading Passive smart glass technologies include: Photochromic glass—eyeglasses with coatings that automatically tint in sunlight Thermochromic glass—coated windows that change in response to temperature How Does it Work? Smart glass managed through electricity allows users to control various forms of light by switching from opaque to transparent, allowing for dynamic light control. PDLC is most commonly used for indoor applications. The technology can be optimized to maintain its properties outdoors as well. The technology behind this type of active smart glass contains liquid crystals, a material that shares characteristics of both liquid and solid compounds, which are dispersed into a polymer. PDLC switches glass from dimmable degrees of opaque to clear in milliseconds. If you want privacy, projection and whiteboard use, PDLC is ideal when it’s opaque. The film limits visible light, but doesn’t...

iPhone 12

The annual release of a new iPhone is a big deal for Apple tech lovers. Although the company doesn’t really release advance leaks about their new editions, there are always rumors of anticipated new features. Apple should launch its new set of phones in the month of September as usual, but the coronavirus outbreak could delay its release date. The new devices will be likely called iPhone 12, iPhone Max, iPhone Pro and iPhone Pro Max as since the iPhone 3G up to the iPhone 8 release, the company used sequential numbers for their names. There are also a lot of discussions about whether a 5G phone will be released, but many believe that all new devices will have this connectivity. The four models that are expected to launch this fall are: 4-inch iPhone 12 1-inch iPhone 12 Max 1-inch iPhone 12 Pro 7-inch iPhone 12 Pro Max iPhone 12 Design and Displays The Apple iPhone 12 is supposed to be taking us back in time, before the release of iPhone 6, and have squarer edges compared to the past phones which had more rounded edges. Oher sources have shown that the devices will be slightly larger, due to its larger displays, but thinner overall than last year’s models—7.4mm for the 6.7-inch device, compared to the 8.1mm iPhone 11 Pro Max. Many iPhone 11 users are hoping for a free-notch phone, or a reduced notch, but without it how would a face recognition be possible? In terms of displays, all devices should have OLED displays, compared to the current version of iPhone 11 which has LCD display, with only the Pro models having OLED. Regarding the hardware of the new device, a A14 processor, 4GB of RAM and 128 GB or 256GB of storage...

5G Technology

What do we know about 5G connectivity at this stage in its development? First, we know it’s nowhere near the capacity it will have in the coming years. Second, we know that it will provide an incredible speed increase over 4G (potentially 100x faster downloads). Third, we can safely presume it will have a significant impact on commercial real estate. In a recent session at the 2020 Virtual BOMA Conference, Yardi solutions consultant David Franklin explained how 5G is already beginning to transform the industry and reshape communication standards. A world of new possibilities “The change to 5G will be as significant as the change from analog to digital,” Franklin said. While timing is still unpredictable, 5G will become ubiquitous. Existing cell towers may not have to be replaced and, while there will be millions of new towers that pop up, 5G connectivity will be available everywhere. This is due to the fact connection points will become easily installed anywhere from light poles to bus stops. The world of 5G connectivity will enable new apps and facilitate robotics and other AI and IoT enhancements. While 4G brought the capacity to video conference and download and upload at new speeds, 5G is going to top that by “connecting massive amounts of devices with very low latency,” Franklin explained. The progress made by 5G will empower a huge number of low-cost devices with low energy consumption related to IoT. The Internet of Things is already comprised of an extensive list of interconnected devices, but with 5G becoming more prevalent, this will enable more data collection, deeper data analysis, faster communication and, of course, new devices and tasks. Real estate operation already relies on IoT-related components such as thermostats, security cameras, lighting controls and energy conservation systems....

Proptech Musts

So, you’ve decided to invest in more robust property management software to navigate the challenges of remote work and social distancing. One look around the proptech marketplace reveals that there are dozens of options available, many of which seem to offer similar services. With so many options on the market, what should you look for? Discover five key features to look for when choosing property management software. Truly seamless integration There are plenty of property management systems that are compatible with ancillary services by a different brand. There are, however, a few problems with integration between different brands and different platforms: Primarily, there is no guarantee of long-term integration. When you’re dealing with two separate companies, there are opportunities for acquisitions and other changes that may affect long-term compatibility and availability of either product. Secondly, there are two software systems that need regular updates. That means more maintenance and headaches for your staff. When those systems are updated, you can only hope that they will update in unison. If not, you may experience delays, lose functionality or accuracy. That’s wasted time for your staff and potentially costly errors for you. Seamless integration occurs when both the property management software and ancillary products function on a single platform by a single company. With seamless integration, you can ensure optimal efficiency in the long-term with less work for your staff to keep products in sync. Mobile ready and browser agnostic A web-based property management solution is essential as organizations honor social distancing protocols. Web-based and mobile-ready software allows you and your team to work without being tethered to the leasing office. When working from home, out in the field or travelling, you can securely access the information you need. Your office staff will be empowered to...

COVID Communication

For the loved ones of residents in senior living, concerns about the coronavirus have not yet abated, even as states reopen and life gradually returns to “normal.” Residents in communities are at a higher risk for COVID, and restrictions on visits remain in place to protect them. So it’s not hard to see why family members would want transparency from senior living providers. Has anyone there caught it? What protocols are in place to help? How is everyone holding up? Since the start of the outbreak, dozens of states have instituted reporting guidelines that require assisted living and skilled nursing facilities to report their COVID numbers to public health authorities. But some states have gone even further by asking providers to share those same numbers with the family members directly on a daily basis. Of course, many providers have already taken great steps to expand their communications. They’ve added FAQs to their website, posted notices to their online resident portal, and have sent plenty of emails to loved ones, residents, staff and vendors. At Yardi, we’ve had clients reach out for help setting up email campaigns like these, so we’ve put together a quick tutorial video that covers how you can create emails that can be sent in bulk to a customized list of contacts. Senior living email correspondence in Yardi Both Yardi Voyager Senior Housing and RENTCafé Senior CRM offer email correspondence. Whichever you choose to use, you can leverage templates to pull in information like the recipient’s first name, today’s date and facility name from your database. That way, you can easily customize your emails in bulk. The video will walk you through how you can choose your information categories, format your text and then filter your contact list. It also explains...

Aspiring to New Heights...

This is an exciting time for the team behind Yardi’s learning management software platform. Formerly known as Yardi eLearning, the product is now called Yardi Aspire, a name which showcases the software’s potentially exceptional benefits for users. At the same time, the features of Yardi Aspire have increased in demand as clients find creative uses for the software to solve 2020’s unique challenges At the helm of the Yardi Aspire team is Patty Evans, director of Yardi Aspire content and support and Yardi corporate training, as well as Yves Hajjar, director of Yardi Aspire product development. Read on to learn more about Evans’ outlook on the recent product changes. Q: Tell us about the change to Yardi Aspire? Evans: Yardi Aspire has evolved over the past several years. It was time for the product’s name to truly reflect the scope of the solution, including all the forward-thinking features designed specifically for the property management industry’s leading learning and content management system. Q: Describe the recent developments that led to the rebrand? Evans: The Yardi Aspire catalog inspires a higher level of engagement than simple “training” videos. We feel that videos can be helpful in quickly transferring information to a student who is already familiar with a concept or for basic topics. I think many would agree when I say that video-based training is a learning style that may not work for everyone. Additionally, the Yardi Aspire catalog contains much more than Yardi software product training content. Approximately 25% of the 1,200+ course library is not about Yardi software at all. We offer nearly 400 courses on compliance, human resources, professional development, safety, leadership, leasing, personal development topics and more. Q: What other features may be important for new users? Evans: We’ve spent time carefully...

Rollouts That Rock

For senior living communities, rolling out a new system interface is no simple feat, especially for a service as crucial as electronic medication management. And when you consider that pharmacy partners must be involved too, it’s not hard to see why implementations are often tricky. But that doesn’t mean they can’t go smoothly. Our Yardi eMAR team has years of hands-on experience in software implementation and building close relationships with both community and pharmacy staff. Where other software vendors may cut the pharmacy out of the process, we prefer to show caregivers how things work with a representative from the pharmacy right there with us. Implementation collaboration We’ve found that bringing everyone on site for the initial implementation helps the communities and pharmacies understand the workflow better. Since they can walk through the processes together, they get a clearer view of how the other side handles a medication order. Of course, if issues crop up down the road, we’re always happy to help out. “Yardi is always extremely responsive. I get answers very quickly and action very quickly,” said Taylor Smalling, manager of account support and enterprise projects at Guardian Pharmacy Services. “That enhances the quality of the relationship and helps build trust.” Guardian, the nation’s third-largest long-term care pharmacy, is part of the Yardi Pharmacy Network. We’ve integrated their pharmacy software with Yardi eMAR for real-time medication information sharing and automated prescription fulfillment. So when it comes time to implement the interface at a new community, the setup is much simpler. “With Yardi, we are usually in touch with one or two people. We can work with them directly to get all of the interface components set up,” said Taylor. “It’s a really efficient process, and I think it pulls in the right...

Foldable Phones

Samsung’s Galaxy Fold was first introduced in London last year during the company’s Unpacked event as being one of Samsung’s most innovative designs in years. Since then, the company has released a newer folding phone called Galaxy Z Flip and reviews say that it tops the previews Fold version. The $1,380 device has a plus compared to the Galaxy Fold: it can fit into your pocket when closed, which wasn’t the case with last year’s released. The Z Flip opens vertically and revels a 6.7-inch screen with a layer of ultra-thin glass. Galaxy Z Flip Design This phone design brings us back to the memory lane when the old flip phones where stylish and everybody wanted one, except this is a way more modern and technology-advanced version of the old one. Samsung says the phone can flip open to up to 200,000 times, which makes it a pretty durable device. Another thing that the company has learned from its mistakes made with Galaxy Fold is that for this device they designed a thin layer of fabric that makes sure that dust particles don’t go between the gap that exist between screen and hinge, which was a problem for the original Galaxy Fold. On the phone’s exterior there is a 1.1-inch SUPER AMOLED screen that show you incoming calls, texts and alarms. It also displays the date and time, so you don’t have to flip it every time you need to see what time it is. Additionally, there is a mini-view finder with which you can take selfies the Z Flip is closed. To do that, you just need to press the power button twice to summon up the viewfinder and then hit one of the volume buttons to take the picture. This is a...

Interface Excellence

Change isn’t easy, especially when it comes to daily drivers like an eMAR. Habits are formed. Workarounds are found. And business as usual continues, even when new solutions offer better ways to get the job done. Take it from Ed Mason, director of technology and general operations for Mercury Pharmacy. “People don’t like change a whole lot. They just want to get through their lives and not have to worry about extra stuff. And that’s the hardest thing you fight. You have to have the mindset that this change is good.” With over a decade of experience in rolling out eMAR interfaces, Ed has seen their progression from products that required special equipment to services that only need a web browser. Ed was also an early adopter of ALMSA, the care technology that Yardi eMAR is built on. “Back then, ALMSA was the first of everything. It was the first real time, the first online, the first automatic update. It was really cool. I was just sticking ALMSA in every community.” Having set up eMAR systems so many times, he now knows the best way to approach change. When an implementation is underway, he tries to make time to get out to the site. He’s involved from the start to act as a resource and help the community get trained. This productive collaboration extends to his partnership with Yardi. At Mercury Pharmacy, which serves over 6,000 active residents in Washington state, Ed works closely with our implementation team to roll out Yardi eMAR. “What I like about the Yardi implementations is that you actually have trainers go on site to do it. With other eMAR vendors, most of it is done over the web,” Ed said. “Yardi spends a little more time training people,...