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...

Building, Fire Smart

For the past 50 years, California has been besieged by an increase in wildfires. More than 1.8 million acres have burned. Yet rebuilding efforts rarely reflect an inclination towards fire safety. Builders and homeowners must explore the affordable innovations available to end this deadly trend. The Underestimated Threat In 2018, the nation witnessed Camp Fire, the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in recent history. The fire blazed 135,000 acres and engulfed 14,000 buildings. Camp Fire claimed the lives of 85 people. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that wildfires will contribute to increase in frequency. The land burned by wildfires has increased since the 1980s, and “of the 10 years with the largest acreage burned, nine have occurred since 2000.” Though the frequency of wildfires has spiked, many homeowners are choosing to rebuild their home without additional fire precautions. The problem isn’t isolated to California. In Western Australia, for example, a series of deadly bushfires ravaged four regions in the course of two years. Few homeowners rebuilt their homes with additional fire precautions in place. Fire-Resistant Architecture Some architects specialize in fire-resistant structures, such as Glenn Murcutt. His work in Australia includes black ceramic tiles that reflect radiant heat, rooftops equipped with permanent water features, and powerful sprinkler systems that protect home exteriors. The fire-conscious elements of Murcutt’s designs add only 5 percent to building costs. In the absence of a specialized architect, there are several recommendations for fire resilient rebuilds: Consider wildfire burn patters. Build at least 30 feet away from ridges and cliffs. Wildfires travel fastest uphill. A 20° increase in slope can double wildfire spread. Customize vents for fire safety. Add flame- and ember-resistant vents or metal screening to attic and crawl space access points. Upgrade glass features. Double paned and tempered glass...

Artificial Intelligence...

Artificial intelligence—defined in the Oxford English Living Dictionary as “the theory and development of computer systems able to perform tasks normally requiring human intelligence”—is booming. Last year, technology market intelligence p rovider International Data Corporation forecasted a 54.4% compound annual growth rate of corporate global spending on cognitive and AI solutions through 2020, when AI-related revenues will top $46 billion. In 2016, global financial advisor UBS said, “We expect AI’s industry growth will start to explode and its impact on business and society will begin to emerge” by the end of the decade, pointing to a future where “AI-powered machines and software will likely start to untether from human supervision, embarking on their fateful path as sentient beings.” AI proponents tout such potential benefits as efficiency, elimination of manual tasks and new solutions for social problems. But not everybody is on the wagon. In 2015, for example, a host of business and academic leaders including Elon Musk, Steve Wozniak and the late Stephen Hawking signed an open letter urging restraint in the development and application of AI. “It is important to research how to reap its benefits while avoiding potential pitfalls,” the signatories said. Gary Smith, a professor of economics at Pomona College in Claremont, Calif., and author of the just-published book, “The AI Delusion,” also advises caution. Professor Smith offered his thoughts in an interview with The Balance Sheet. Q: Professor Smith, what do you see as the biggest misconception about artificial intelligence? A: That computers are smarter than humans. AI algorithms excel at narrowly defined tasks that have clear goals, such as tightening bolts, checkmating a chess opponent or reducing a building’s energy consumption. These tasks can be very useful, but AI doesn’t “think” in any real sense of the word. Q:...

A 3D Printed House

Back in 2014, we were excited about the giant 3D printer USC Professor Behrokh Khoshnevis had designed with funding from NASA and the Cal-Earth Institute. The robot was able to build a 2,500-square-foot home in just 24 hours. The process was then known as Contour Crafting and was barely in the research stage. Fast forward to today, the big machine has progressed and seems to have the power to aid the pressing homelessness issue. Currently, the world lacks homes for more than one billion people, according to a report by the World Resources Institute Ross Center for Sustainable Cities. Some areas are in more distress than others, such as El Salvador, where to build a house it tricky because of the land’s vulnerability to earthquakes, flooding and volcanic eruptions. Yet, San Francisco-based housing charity New Story built more than 850 homes in El Salvador, Mexico and Bolivia in the past several years. Those homes costed $6,500 each and each of them took more than two weeks to build. The slow process spurred the company to search for better ways to build. That’s how they came in contact with ICON, an Austin-based construction tech company, to create a 3D printer that can build a 600 to 800-square-foot house in 12 to 24 hours for as little as $4,000. This printer, called Vulcan, was unveiled at SXSW along with a 3D printed house, built to U.S. standards, that’s in an Austin, Texas backyard. The model in Austin has a bedroom, living room, bathroom and a curved porch and the ‘ink’ used in its development is in fact cement, which the company claims, will help normalize the process for potential tenants that wish to know more about the sturdiness of the structure. The machine is designed to...

7 Must-Have Apps

There are thousands of apps that claim to make your job easier. Since it is impossible to try them all, we’ve narrowed down the options for you! These seven apps complement the social media, communication, and content creation features on Yardi’s RENTCafé suite. Social Media Instagram is one of the fastest growing social media platforms in the US. Once you get the basics of creating a post, these apps can take your social media strategy to the next level. When users visit your Instagram profile, they can see multiple posts at once in a grid layout. Polish your profile with Planoly, a visual planner that allows you to create the most beautiful and impactful grid. You can also benefit from the app’s engagement data for each post. Instagram Stories is woefully awkward. Creating informative and engaging 15-second clips on your smartphone requires a lot of choppy starting and stopping. Fortunately, CutStory for Instagram does the work for you. Create a single, full-length video and CutStory will divide it up for you. This is a great tool for repurposing your YouTube and Facebook videos. Communication Video calls are an excellent way to conduct personalized property tours and meetings with remote clients. Google Duo is a versatile app for video calls that works for Android and iOS devices. You can even use it over WiFi, minimizing data usage. Content Creation Create professional-looking images with Afterlight 2. This free photo editing app features text, filters, and enhancement tools for eye-catching images. It offers comparable quality to subscription apps and can be used on iOs, Android, and Windows devices. As a blogger, I know how difficult it is to get people to stop and read! Infographics are a hot way to share information in easy-to-consume snippets, enhanced with...

Accounting Simplified...

Yardi Voyager Residential consolidates property management and financial accounting into a single platform. The fully-integrated suite of multifamily and marketing products makes it easier to manage the entire real estate cycle. Is Voyager Residential Right for My Organization? That depends on several factors. Are you a large organization looking for scalable solutions? Voyager grows and diversifies with you. Users gain access to real-time performance analytics across their entire portfolio, regardless of size. Organizations with smaller portfolios, such as family holdings, may benefit from Yardi Breeze. Do you seek a compliant, accurate and efficient way to manage your portfolio? Voyager financial management features meet all applicable accounting standards and regulatory requirements. Property management features streamline workflows for leasing, move-ins, move-outs, work orders, purchase orders, and everything in between. Would you prefer to leave software management to the tech pros while you run your business? Yardi’s award-winning cloud services manage data storage and updates on your behalf. You can focus on growing your business while Yardi handles the minutia of the software. Does a comprehensive suite of software seem more appealing than a piecemeal combination of products? Yardi Voyager Residential integrates with the Yardi Multifamily and Marketing Suites as well as Yardi Elevate. You benefit from a unified entity for marketing, customer relationship management,   procurement, facilities management, energy management, and business intelligence. Do you value flexibility? With Voyager, you aren’t stuck to your desk. Voyager comes mobile-ready and browser agnostic, keeping your team members connected whether they are in the office or in the field. Raising the Bar Yardi is an established company with a proven track record. For more than 30 years, Yardi has supported client success with quality real estate management solutions. Though established, Yardi continues to evolve. Ongoing improvements ensure that client feedback...

Powered by Bacteria

The energy industry is reinventing itself in combined efforts to limit as much as possible the effects of climate change. Evermore photovoltaic farms emerge around the world, evermore wind projects spring up onshore, offshore near shore, and even air borne—the industry is still in perfecting mode, new ideas turning into new ways to harvest green energy. There’s one more breakthrough in the solar energy world, coming from the scientists at the University of British Columbia. The Canadian researchers managed to develop a bacteria-powered solar cell that can convert light to energy, regardless of the weather, working as efficiently in dim and bright light, which could be a step forward in places like British Columbia and parts of northern Europe where overcast skies are common. Called biogenic cells, these solar cells made of living organism, are intriguing. This new cell generated a current stronger than any previously recorded from such a device. This is the first time when researchers connected nine biological-solar (bio-solar) cells into a bio-solar panel, in an attempt to replicate photosynthesis—the natural way to convert light energy into chemical energy that is later released to fuel the organism’s activities. Previous endeavors were centered around extracting light-sensitive dye from genetically modified bacteria, but the process proved to be quite costly, complex and also not quite safe as during the extraction process, the dye was often damaged by the solvents used. The Canadian team tried something different—they used E.coli genetically engineered to produce ample amounts of lycopene—the molecule that gives tomatoes their orange-red tint. Now, some of you might startle at the sight of E.coli, but this bacteria was chosen for cloning due to its low mutation and recombination rates. Lycopene is considered an excellent natural dye and is fantastic at harvesting sunlight. Their...

Choosing Software

Choosing the right property management software determines the efficiency and productivity of your organization. Jumpstart your selection process with these eight simple questions. Is the software installed at the premises or cloud-based?This is a matter of preference. Some organizations prefer installed software because data access does not depend upon an internet connection. The industry, however, shifts towards cloud-based platforms. Such web-based software permits users to access the data in the office, in the field and anywhere in between. Cloud-based solutions often include updates for the latest improvements and changes in compliance. Staff is free to focus on their roles, not the nuances of software.   What security and backup procedures are available? Cloud security services combine convenience with safety. Ensure that your cloud-based software offers data recovery, encryption and around-the-clock server operation monitoring.   Is the pricing model determined by the number of users or units? Software may be priced per licensed user or per unit. Licensing by user may be convenient for organizations with few employees and limited plans for growth. Pricing by unit allows the greatest flexibility and scalability. Staff growth and software usage are not hampered by paid licenses.   Is the product out-of-the-box or customizable? Turnkey solutions offer the ability the hit the ground running. Customizable systems will suite your portfolio more precisely and grow with you as your needs change.   Does the software integrate with other services necessary for your business? A fully integrated platform makes daily operations easier. The suite keeps data consistent between services such as accounting, leasing, resident screening, marketing, maintenance, and utility billing.   When is technical support available? Emergencies don’t wait for convenient office hours. Check support service hours to ensure that you can receive assistance on weekdays as well as weekends. Read...

The Excel Exodus

When it comes to Excel, there are two kinds of users: those who love it, and those who love to hate it. Regardless of which camp you’re in, there’s no denying the ubiquitous tracking tool has earned its role as a mainstay in offices in every industry across he world. But as the complexities of business have grown, so has the need for flexible tracking tools—a fact that’s increasingly obvious in senior living. With many different levels of care, various floor plans, myriad amenities and portfolios of communities, new time-saving tools can have a huge impact. In this post, we’ll examine common budgeting and tracking challenges faced by senior living operators and a solution that makes all the difference. The challenges: Antiquated systems are inefficient Since most companies purchase office software packages, it seems most cost efficient to use the spreadsheet that’s included to record and analyze the organization’s budgets. And while that strategy is an effective way to save money on paper, creating a scalable document to track all business operations from a blank tab in Excel is incredibly painstaking and time consuming—and once it’s been created, maintaining the document is no easy feat. If you recall the concept of opportunity costs from freshman economics, you’ll begin to understand that there is no efficiency in sapping countless man hours to make a tool not created for your business actually work for your business. Versions get outdated quickly—and aren’t easily shared Have you ever wasted time updating a spreadsheet only to find that you weren’t looking at the latest version? One of the most common frustrations with using static spreadsheets, rather than live solutions which are updated in real time, is the data becomes stale quickly, especially when multiple teams are making edits. On...