ENERGY STAR Day

Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2019, is ENERGY STAR Day, described by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as “a celebration of energy efficiency” and a means to raise awareness of the benefits of favoring products and properties with ENERGY STAR® certification. And there’s a lot to celebrate. On average, ENERGY STAR-certified buildings use 35% less energy than typical buildings nationwide and command a premium of up to 16% for sales prices and rental rates. More than 34,000 buildings have earned certification, which requires an ENERGY STAR score of 75 or higher, meaning that such a building performs better than at least 75% of similar buildings nationwide. All told, ENERGY STAR and its partners have helped save American families and businesses more than $450 billion and over 3.5 trillion kilowatt-hours of electricity since 1992 while also achieving broad emissions reductions. Another facet of the ENERGY STAR program has been similarly fruitful for industrial plants, while ENERGY STAR-certified homes, apartments and products are built to an equally high standard of efficiency. Yardi is intimately familiar with ENERGY STAR and its benefits. Property managers use the Yardi Pulse Suite to capture energy data for ENERGY STAR® benchmarking and reporting. The company employs experts who can help clients identify conservation opportunities and comply with ENERGY STAR and other standards. Yardi is also sponsoring a series of webinars this month on new ENERGY STAR compliance requirements taking effect in the U.S. and Canada next year. The EPA, co-manager of ENERGY STAR, has recognized Yardi as an energy efficiency leader. In April 2019, the company earned designation as an ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year, the highest level of recognition the agency offers, in the service and product provider category. Check out the EPA’s toolkit for spreading awareness of ENERGY STAR Day through...

Data IDs Ideal Renters...

Identifying quality residents will keep your long-term costs low. Low occupancy rates in the current Canadian rental market allow property managers to focus on selecting the most desirable residents for their vacancies. It is important, however, to make quality selections quickly before those ideal prospects sign a lease elsewhere! Explore how technology can help you efficiently sign leases with the right residents. Know your applicants Basic credit checks aren’t enough to get to know prospective renters. Add a range of inquiries to screening process to give you deeper insights that help mitigate risk—without slowing down the process. “A more robust screening process doesn’t have to be time consuming. Online, automated applicant screening improves speed, data access, and accuracy. Your screening software should integrate with your property management platform for full transparency,” suggests Peter Altobelli, vice president and general manager of Yardi Canada. Screen confidently Regardless of income, prospective renters need to be held to the same screening standards. Equifax credit data, criminal and court records, fraud checks, employment and rental histories are all important sources of information to properly evaluate an applicant. “Consider adding Certn as well to your screening process as well. Certn is the world’s largest risk relevant database, uses data from thousands of publicly available records and incorporates artificial intelligence and machine learning to evaluate prospects,” Altobelli says. Certn data includes high-risk behaviors, criminal and court records from 240 countries, 350 Canadian court boards and tribunals, adverse media, eviction records, watch lists and social media profiles. Understand the benefits  Advanced screening technology that analyzes a range of reliable data can help you consistently choose quality residents. When that technology integrates with your leasing and accounting platform, it brings additional benefits. “An integrated screening solution compares your screening process with the overall...

Improving Comfort

Your tenant in the eastern wing is chronically cold. You’re fighting an uphill battle for safety as your tenant’s employees bring personal heaters into the space.  In the western wing, however, your tenant’s employees can’t get cool enough. They complain of high energy bills while swearing the humidity will lead to mold problems. Uncomfortable tenants are more than a headache. They are a threat to your bottom line. Thermal comfort can impact your tenants’ desire to renew their leases. Additionally, a commercial property with low thermal comfort may indicate inefficiencies in its climate controls or building envelope. High turnover and an inefficient building will adversely affect your bottom line. Thermal Comfort + Your Bottom Line The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers defines thermal comfort as the condition of mind that expresses satisfaction with the thermal environment. It is subjectively assessed by using the Comfort Scale or Thermal Index, both of which evaluate temperature, humidity, air velocity, and radiant temperature. As comfort is subjective, a commercial building’s thermal comfort ranking will vary from person to person. Health and Safety Executive recognizes an international standard which suggests that a building has “reasonable comfort” when at least 80 percent of its occupants are thermally comfortable. Improving Thermal Comfort in Commercial Properties There are three ways to notably improve tenant comfort and protect your investment: 1. Identify and Fix Leaks Address leaks in the building envelope. Contact a contractor to identify areas where your heating and cooling efforts are defeated by oversights in construction or maintenance. Resealing windows and adding weather stripping to doors, for example, are two quick fixes for drafts. Leakage significantly decreases the energetic efficiency of an HVAC system. As a result, the HVAC system may be working overtime to regulate indoor conditions. Have your units...

New Tech Era

For decades, commercial property managers regarded information technology as a support function, one that was almost always isolated from the strategic direction of the business. Today, with virtually all property stakeholders expecting greater operational control and transparency, relegating IT to a peripheral or firefighting role is no longer an option. The consensus among Yardi’s Dhar Sawh and other experts who participated in a recent Realcomm-hosted webinar holds that IT, as a company’s technology implementation gatekeeper, should command status as a full partner and value generator. Sawh defined the purpose of a technology strategy as satisfying owner and investor expectations for favorable revenue, cost and risk mitigation outcomes. Performing the business operations necessary to achieve them requires visibility into revenue, occupancy and other indicators that spans the organization. That, in turn, requires connected solutions that unify people and resources, from vendors and employees all the way up to investors, in a common vision. He also pointed out that extracting cost and revenue benefits from current operations, rather than actively pursuing new yields, is the most reliable generator of investor returns late in an economic expansion cycle such as the current one. IT drives those results with technology that’s scaled across the organization and empowers stakeholders with automation and self-service capabilities like online invoice processing, payments and work orders. Another example of technology occupying a place at the core of a business is active sensors that monitor a space and preheat or precool the area before it’s occupied. This allows building owners to avoid charges for utility usage at peak times. “This is an example of integrating technology for the benefit of business objectives,” Sawh said. Once invested as a full partner in the business, IT can create positive experiences for owners and occupants by elevating...

Online Payments

Are online payments really worth the fuss? The short answer is yes! But don’t take our word for it. Check out seven reasons why online payments are a necessity for successful communities. Renters Seek Convenience Today’s residents love their smartphones. “According to recent reports, the average American checks their smartphone almost 50 times per day. For millennials, the number is even higher, at 74 times per day. With half of the renter population under the age of 30, digital technology is a game changer at apartment communities for both the residents and property managers,” said Esther Bonardi, vice president of marketing at Yardi. Online banking is one of many tasks that modern renters perform on their smartphones. It offers the simplicity that renters crave: more than two-thirds of respondents to the NMHC Consumer Housing Survey said they seek technologies to make their lives easier. You Seek a Competitive Advantage Offering online rent payments gives your communities a competitive advantage. The most recent NMHC Kingsley study reveals that more than 25 percent of respondents currently pay their rent electronically. Nearly four times as many would prefer to pay their rent online. “An astounding 90 percent of respondents say that online rent payment availability is important or very important when considering their apartment community. This is the second highest rating behind online maintenance requests,” shared Bonardi. Better Security Cash in the leasing office? No, thank you. Fraudulent or lost checks? You likely want to pass on those, too. Online payments offer greater security and fewer risks than cash or checks. Flexible Payment Options When residents have access to quick, easy payment options, you will receive your payments faster and on time. With payment processing, you have several options to extend to your residents. They can pay with traditional...

Senior Living Leases

Does your senior living community offer electronic leases yet? Maybe you’ve heard the term, but don’t know if it’s worth the transition. Well, rest assured, there’s plenty to like. From faster sales cycles to searchable online records, electronic leases make the move-in process painless – for both your staff and your residents. At their core, electronic leases, or eleases, are a legal and secure online version of the document that you already know so well. But you’re missing the full picture if you think it’s only a digital agreement thrown on a computer screen. A full electronic lease management solution like what Yardi offers can help you generate customized leases in a few clicks, get mobile signatures from family members and store the forms in one centralized place, saving hours of labor (and who knows how many headaches). We’ve built eleasing into the entire Yardi Senior Living Suite. From creation to approval to signing, everything flows together seamlessly so your sales counselors never have to retype a thing or search for another missing document. And at the executive level, you can manage leases across communities and states, pushing real-time rates for rooms and services to teams on the ground floor. Here’s a quick look at how the process works in the Yardi senior living solutions. Generate a new lease in no time with Yardi Senior CRM Once a prospect has decided to join your community, your staff can jump into Yardi Senior CRM and quickly create a new lease specific to that resident. Senior CRM offers an automated, online workflow, which guides staff through each step of the prospective lease agreement: Select the community, enter the deposit, choose a unit and add any incentives or concessions. They can then adjust the care level and...

Tidy Offices

One of the disadvantages of working in an open office space is that not everybody likes to clean up after themselves. Many have the bad habit of eating at their desk, so there will most definitely be crumbs on the carpet. Rainy days result in dirty shoes. Somebody celebrating their birthday can leave a trail of confetti on the floor and just like that, the whole space can be a mess in just a few minutes. But what do you do when you have a visit from your customers and the place needs to look sparkling clean, but the cleaning crew isn’t coming before they arrive? Robots Will Save Us This is when 21st century tech comes in handy. By using IoT technology, an intelligent robot vacuum cleaner concept was created for smart offices. Each of the robot vacuums has a different approach to cleaning. Some are methodical, while others may move around randomly, which can be a bit confusing, but in fact, they’re mapping the whole surface with in-built cameras or other smart sensors. Some of these devices are controlled via a mobile app that allows you to schedule the cleaning sessions and access status, battery and alerts through your phone, while others come with a remote control that allows you to direct the device to the exact spot you want them to clean. One such example of commercial indoor robotic vacuum designed specifically for office buildings is using an intelligent booking system in Outlook to schedule the automated services. The robot creates and updates its program in real time, considering existing bookings made in Outlook. In addition, the device analyzes when one room was booked and plans its next cleaning session so those conference rooms are always clean for the next meeting...

Get More from Yardi

Did you know that Yardi offers products and services for 18 industries? We are continually in development of quality software that maximizes technology and benefits your business. There are several ways to learn more about Yardi’s solutions for your real estate company. Online, All the Time The Resources page is available 24/7. Whether you’re looking for quick bites of info or in-depth analysis, we’ve got you covered. eBooks – These in-depth resources explain key benefits of our software solutions in reader-friendly formats. They’re rich with informative graphics and helpful data. Client Success Stories– Explore how clients in your industry use Yardi to revolutionize their businesses. Client success stories address tools for improved efficiency, going paperless, and other ways to improve the bottom line. Quick Videos– Got 3 minutes or fewer? Client interviews and “explainer” videos are an easy way to get your real estate questions answered and learn about Yardi software and services. White Papers– Dive into case studies that give you a detailed look at how fellow industry professionals used technology to advance their businesses. Product Brochures– Maybe you’ve heard the buzz about a new product and now you’re ready to learn more. Our brochures offer a high-level overview of product information. You will also find helpful contact information for additional details. Upon visiting the Resources page, you will encounter our latest and most popular uploads. Looking for something specific? Simply use the Filter to drill down into materials unique to your industry. You can also search by Solution Type. Live, Customized Experiences At Yardi, we value the opportunity to meet you face-to-face. These priceless encounters are a great way to dive into the nuances of the industry, your business needs, and how Yardi software bridges the gaps. The Events page delivers current...

Multifamily Ties

We’re living in a connected age. In multifamily property management, creating strategic connections can enhance the resident experience and deepen ties with communities and property managers. How? An article in the Harvard Business Review titled “The Age of Continuous Connection” explains how technology is driving meaningful customer experiences. “Thanks to new technologies that enable frequent, low-friction, customized digital interactions, companies today are building much deeper ties with customers than ever before,” wrote authors Nicolaj Siggelkow and Christian Terwiesch.  “Instead of waiting for customers to come to them, firms are addressing customers’ needs the moment they arise — and sometimes even earlier. It’s a win-win: Through what we call connected strategies, customers get a dramatically improved experience, and companies boost operational efficiencies. For multifamily operators, that means creating effective digital connections that anticipate needs and feel personalized. As a result, businesses will be able to free up onsite property staff for more meaningful in-person interactions. Connected businesses At the Yardi Advanced Solutions Conference (YASC) that took place in Washington, D.C., in May 2019, Anant Yardi spoke to clients about continuous connection and how it can be beneficial for real estate business relationships. “This day and age of continuous connection doesn’t necessarily mean we are communicating all the time. But it does mean that we are available, and we respond,” said Mr. Yardi. “Our goal is to provide a connection between the business, the consumer and the property. As we think about continuous communication, the basic way we do real estate doesn’t change. But the way we transact business may change,” he added. For Yardi, this means thinking about the user experience of all parties involved, from stakeholders and leasing staff to prospects and residents. How can we innovate the way people connect with their homes and management...

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...