Realcomm Recap

Yardi’s Rob Teel, senior vice president of global solutions, and Todd Huebsch, vice president of commercial sales, discussed key trends in the commercial real estate industry in interviews at the recent Realcomm and IBCon conferences. Excerpts follow. Q: What are some key shifts that you’re seeing in commercial property management? Huebsch: From an enterprise platform standpoint, software products historically have been developed for people in back office operations such as accounting and property management. Now we see the emphasis rapidly changing to the front office—people in the field who are managing leases, construction projects and facilities. Enabling that move is a series of mobile apps and role-based tools that simplify tasks and help front office people do their jobs faster, easier and more efficiently while seamlessly connecting to the back office. These new capabilities speak to reducing risk and increasing asset value Q: What is Yardi’s primary focus area at present? Teel: There are three. One is Yardi Elevate, which, in contrast to the traditional chief financial officer focus of property management software, is tailored to a chief operating officer whose direct reports might include the leaders of leasing, asset management, construction and facilities management. Another key focus is energy management, which addresses the needs of COOs and chief engineers who are looking to reduce consumption and expenditures and boost sustainability. Yardi has made five acquisitions in three years in this area and it’s one of our leading long-term strategic visions. And coworking has gone through a revolution in the last two years. Today about 1% of commercial offices in the U.S. are tagged as coworking space but we think it might go to 5-10% in the U.S. and globally within a few years. We made two acquisitions that brought us the Yardi KUBE...

Software is Eating the World

(Ed. note: The following article from Yardi Energy vice president Matt Eggers originally appeared in the Realcomm Advisory and can be read here. Reprinted with permission.) Software is undoubtedly changing the way that we interact with the world around us. We are no longer restricted to pizza and Chinese food delivery; DoorDash and others bring a diverse range of fine dining to our doorsteps. Kroger ClickList offers curbside grocery pickup, allowing us to bypass lines at the grocery store. Waze gathers traffic history to let us know how to skip the traffic jams. Yet commercial real estate is one area where the efficiency and power of software is not evolved to its fullest. When it comes to technology, commercial real estate is sometimes the last real estate sector to the table and the slowest to adopt. But the excuses are getting fewer and the value has become harder to ignore. Anant Yardi, founder and owner of Santa Barbara-based Yardi Systems, Inc., explained in a recent general session presentation, “For me, change is incremental. It’s not always disruptive. Change is something we have to count on. If you are successful in making small steps over the course of time, you will be successful.” The proof is in the pudding. Companies like Kilroy Realty Corporation, with Sara Neff as its Senior Vice President, Sustainability, have grabbed on to new innovative technologies and used them to their benefit: in just four years, she took Kilroy from having no sustainability program to winning awards, reducing their carbon footprint and saving money. But not everyone has the foresight or risk-tolerance to be early adopters of technology that runs on artificial intelligence, smart IoT components, and other new innovations. The technology is sometimes hard to understand, so building operators and engineers may be reluctant to trust these new systems. Of course, these professionals bring their intelligence, experience and personalized knowledge to bear on the challenges they face. But as in any industry, when it comes to tasks like computing and analyzing data, software wins. Yardi Pulse, for example, uses artificial intelligence to analyze and automatically reset some HVAC setpoints every 30 seconds. A diligent building engineer may make similar adjustments once per day, once per season or even less often. Daily adjustments can make their building run well, but Pulse Active EE can crunch more data faster, continuously responding to real-time conditions to make the building even more efficient, substantially improving the owner’s bottom line and the comfort of building occupants. Similarly, Yardi Elevate delivers in-depth operational data and predictive insights with recommended actions to elevate asset performance. Property owners and managers can stop wasting time worrying about the health or value of their properties and instead gain unprecedented portfolio visibility, maintain data integrity, and reduce risk to close deals faster, complete projects on time, and hit forecasted returns. Easy access to data and some level of automated control works in the favor of building managers and just makes sense, so why aren’t all building engineers and asset managers embracing the software that can make their jobs easier? There may be three very human reasons for this resistance. Resist the Resistance There may be an underlying fear that better and smarter software threatens job security. But don’t forget, that while software is able to crunch numbers and analyze data faster than humans, only humans can implement and use these software tools. With more information at their fingertips, employees can perform their jobs better, establishing themselves as irreplaceable assets for their organization. Chess computers have been able to beat the best human players for decades, but a computer teamed with a chess expert are to this day able to beat the computers! Pride is another factor. Engineers excel at what they do because they take pride in their intimate knowledge of the structure and its systems. Introducing artificial intelligence software may feel like handing over part...

San Antonio Soiree

The BOMA International Conference & Expo begins today. Yardi will once again take center stage with its support of one of the commercial real estate industry’s primary trade shows. Besides being a top-level Platinum Sponsor for the conference, June 23-26 in San Antonio, Yardi serves as a Cornerstone Partner for BOMA (Building Owners and Managers Association International), a status the company has held since 2014. Yardi is as generous with its expertise as with its sponsorship. Booth No. 502 in the exhibition hall (#502 in the exclusive Cornerstone Partner Pavilion) will showcase how the Yardi Smart Energy Suite and the newly launched help property owners and managers prepare for future challenges while meeting today’s immediate needs. That’s a fitting message for the booth’s location in the Building of the Future-themed section of the hall. “The Yardi team looks forward to demonstrating how execution of key business processes in a single connected solution can improve tenant retention and comfort, portfolio visibility, cost control, revenue forecasting, deal management and regulatory compliance—and that’s just a few examples,” said Matt Eggers, vice president of Yardi Energy. Elsewhere in the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, Yardi employees will take the stage at BOMA’s educational sessions. Global solutions director Arjun Rao will moderate a panel, “See the Deal: How Software Helps you Visualize Your Pipeline and Close Deals Faster,” that showcases advances in deal management and visualization technology. Meanwhile, a Pop-Up Talk presentation by Eggers, “How to Automate the Pulse of Smart Buildings for Energy Savings,” will focus on integrated technology solutions that collect, analyze and communicate energy use information. This insight helps facilities managers, executives and occupants save money by identifying poor-performing buildings, equipment and spaces. Conference attendees can also learn how helps Cousins Properties Inc. keep costs under...

Data at Risk

A report published by the Identity Theft Resource Center and CyberScout found there were 1,579 data breaches tracked in 2017. That figure represents a 45% rise over 2016, and an all-time high number of such events. More than half of the breaches (870) listed by the report were associated with the business sector. Other categories reported by ITRC and CyberScout include 374 breaches in the healthcare sector and 134 breaches in the banking/credit/financial sector. “Each year we see an upward trend in number of data breaches cited in these reports. These troubling statistics are a good reminder for property managers to take proactive steps to avoid the potential catastrophe of a data breach,” said Jay Shobe, Yardi vice president of cloud services. According to the report, the most common breaches occurring in 2017 involved hacking of user accounts to gain access to protected data. Hacking typically involves phishing scams, where scammers fool users into entering a username and password into a forged online form, and ransomware which can infect a computer when a user clicks on a nefarious email attachment. In the case of ransomware, access to data can be locked until a payment is made. On a positive note, the study found that the rise in breaches isn’t purely due to increased illicit activities. An increased willingness of organizations to make breaches public knowledge, as opposed to keeping them quiet and privately handled, also boosted the number of 2017. “Companies can avoid a lot of negative attention by responding to data breaches with transparency, as opposed to covering up attempts to steal their clients’ data. When individuals know their data is compromised they can take proactive steps to mitigate immediate and long-term impacts of a breach,” said Shobe. The Security of the Yardi...

Senior Living

Without the right tools, running a senior living community is extremely challenging. Piles of paperwork can be overwhelming, and manual data entry can cause errors. When care staff get bogged down with administrative tasks, they have less time to spend with residents. In your back office, the accounting team spends time chasing down billing and cutting paper checks. These inefficiencies add up to become costly for your organization. But, here’s some great news: the Yardi Senior Living Suite is a single software platform that lets you connect, control, track and improve all aspects of your business. Watch a video about senior living software Here are three key ways the Yardi Senior Living Suite can transform your senior living operations: Centralize data to work more efficiently Lower your total cost of ownership, reduce paper and improve your bottom line by managing resident care, finance, operations and marketing with a single connected solution that begins with Yardi Voyager Senior Housing, a property management and accounting platform designed specifically for senior living. Having all of your operational and resident information centralized in one secure, cloud-hosted database with mobility enables complete oversight across your business, instant data access and more responsive care services. Optimize care and improve oversight Gain real-time executive healthcare oversight, keep resident health records free of errors, limit your liability and improve resident satisfaction with Yardi EHR, a full-service electronic health record solution specifically designed for the needs of senior living providers. Get advanced clinical reporting with detailed analytics and instant access to financial data. Customize your care billing options and provide flexible, individual rate plans. Allow caregivers to spend more time with residents and eliminate errors with simplified record keeping that includes easy information sharing at the point of care and a mobile app...

AI + Robotics

During the recent Argentum Senior Living Executive Conference in San Diego, sociobiologist  Rebecca Costa shared scientific breakthroughs that are prolonging the lives—and quality of life– for seniors. Preventing Falls In seniors, falls are directly linked to shorter lifespans. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that the death rate from falls among adults ages 65 and over has increased 31 percent from 2007 to 2016. The rate is growing the fastest among seniors aged 85 or more years. Understanding the cause of falls has helped researchers develop tools to prevent them. An article in the National Library of Medicine National Institute of Health reveals that changes in gait are the predecessors to falls. Gait disorders are often indicative of lesions in the nervous system, adverse side effects from medications, the onset of dementia, or misalignments within the spine, hips, or knees. With advanced technology called predictive analytics, caregivers can now foretell when a person is going to trip within three weeks with 86 percent accuracy. Sensors attached to the senior or the senior’s support mechanism (such as a can or walker) can detect a 3-5 centimeter per second change in gait, walk or stride. This information is then sent to caregivers in the form of a digital alert. The information sent by the sensors can help caregivers determine the best method of treatment for the senior. Treatment could include physical therapy, alterations to a sedative prescription, or tests for brain and nervous system health. By preventing falls through Predictive Analytics and accessories, seniors can avoid assisted living for up to four years. Nanobots Promote Health from the Inside, Out A post released by the World Economic Forum explores how nanobots are being used to fight cancer. Nanomachines, or nanobots, are robots made of organic,...

Apple WWDC 2018

This year’s Apple WWDC keynote, held at the San Jose McEnergy Convention Center in San Jose, was a big surprise for many, not for what it showcased, but for what it didn’t—hardware. Even though the event is clearly about software, Apple has gotten us used to  announcements of future or refreshes of current products. But this year’s session was all about a large variety of enhancements to its iOS, tvOS, watchOS and MacOS platforms, designed to further optimize the overall Apple experience. News on hardware will reportedly be announced in September. iOS improvements include faster speeds and enhanced responsiveness for the iPhone. This even applies to the older versions, like the 6S, which the company claims will fire up 50 percent faster than previously with its camera will be ready to snap photos 70 percent faster than before. iOS 12 should work just fine on all devices capable of running iOS 11, including the little 5S. This was pleasant news for those hanging on to older phones. Maybe the nicest touch added to the operating system is Screen Time, which could help curb smartphone overuse. New usage reports will show how you’re wasting your time and, should you want to, you can set limits for those apps that eat up too much of your time. Grouped notifications are an attempt to cut distractions, and parents will be able to limit their child’s screen time. For many, this announcement was bizarre as it is unheard of to have a company use one of its biggest annual events to showcase ways to use its products less. But the reality is that Apple doesn’t make money from the time people spend on its devices, it just needs as many people as possible to buy those devices. If...

Proptech Innovations

Ed. Note: Neal Gemassmer (pictured, right)  is vice president of international for Yardi. This piece on global real estate technology adoption was originally authored for Property Week. It is relatively easy to raise a few hundred thousand pounds and start a company, so I think the number of new proptech start-ups will continue to grow exponentially.   It may have been a relatively late adopter where technology is concerned, but the real estate industry is now embracing it. Thanks to the advent of simpler programming languages, the accessibility of cloud storage and the weight of investment capital aimed at the sector, setting up a proptech company has never been easier.  On top of that, the now widespread use of apps offers a simple way of getting your technology into customers’ hands via the App Store or Google Play. With this in mind, it is no wonder that new companies are springing up in the sector on an almost daily basis, each of them aiming to solve a particular problem or simplify a complicated process.  But as the property industry’s use of – and understanding of – technology becomes more sophisticated, it is technologies that make a fundamental difference to the way businesses work and create real value for their customers that will succeed.  Although it has only been encapsulated in a neat buzzword in the last couple of years, proptech has been around in one form or another for far longer. Yardi Systems was founded in 1984 as a small software start-up in the property management sphere and has grown to become one of the largest companies in the sector, learning a lot along the way. In the US residential market, where Yardi has its roots, customers have been able for many years now to identify a...

Creating Value

“Yardi Orion is the tool that helps us create value for our clients,” said Jeanette Ruscitti, vice president of operations for The REMM Group. REMM is a third-party fee manager with more than 5,000 multifamily units and 1.5 million square feet of commercial space across Southern California. REMM takes a hands-on approach, working with its executive and onsite teams to go “above and beyond” for its clients — and investing in technology is key to the company’s success. Yardi Orion Business Intelligence is a mobile-enabled platform that combines financial, operational and ancillary services data from Yardi Voyager to deliver holistic portfolio insight. With configurable dashboards and more than 200 key performance indicators, Orion provides flexible reporting that enables REMM and its clients to make fast and informed business decisions. Shawn Conerty, REMM’s chief financial officer, said, “We have used Yardi Voyager software for years and find it is the most advanced property SaaS platform available. Our teams are empowered by the centralized source of data and automated workflows that simplify operations from leasing through move-ins and move-outs, work orders, purchase orders, check writing and more. Yardi’s marketing and leasing tools, including RENTCafé, make life easier for our prospects, residents and staff with online leasing, rent payments and maintenance requests.” Conerty commented that REMM came to the table to analyze Orion with these previous Yardi successes in mind. “Orion draws from all the flows of information that go through those Yardi systems: occupancy, delinquency, exceptions, marketing, financials, etc.,” he added. Built right into its Voyager platform, Orion has proven to be the right choice for REMM to serve its clients and meet business goals, with mobile access that makes it easy for REMM’s executives to utilize the system on the go. Real-time tracking of rental...

Driving Profits

“The ROI using Voyager has been huge,” said Jason Hoffman, COO and vice president at Alliance Property Systems, about running its business on the mobile Yardi Voyager platform. Led by a father-son team, Alliance provides comprehensive HOA and condominium management services along with commercial real estate management throughout South Florida. A longtime Yardi client, Alliance has always invested in technology and started with DOS-based Yardi Professional in the early 1990s. To meet new challenges in a changing industry and move its business forward, Alliance switched to the cloud-based Voyager platform in 2015. As a result, Alliance has gained automated workflows for tasks that previously required time-consuming manual processing, and accommodates a business model of “roving property management” with integrated online services and mobile tools. Winning in a tight market Alliance has a portfolio of 70 properties and 6,000 units in South Florida and only 13 employees. To succeed and be profitable in a competitive market with tight margins, the company must streamline and optimize internal processes, according to Leigh Hoffman, Alliance’s president and CEO (and father half of the father-son team). A key way Alliance achieves this is by leveraging Yardi’s leading-edge technology across its business. For a true end-to-end solution, Alliance has added products from the Yardi® Condo Suite to its Voyager platform. Integrated online services and simplified workflows for payments, procurement, invoice processing and more increase productivity and reduce costs for the company. When asked if Alliance’s investment in technology sets the company apart, Jason commented that the Voyager platform “100% helps us win business.” And according to Leigh, “We are more competitive and succeed because we’re offering options to our customers to do more things online, including payments.” Empowering a lean team This biggest line item in Alliance’s budget is employee costs....

Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, they say, but I doubt Apple is pleased with the compliment Xiaomi has been paying since it launched its first smartphone back in 2011. Since then, the little rice (Xiaomi’s translation from Mandarin) grew into a solid 12.4 percent market share in China’s smartphone market. Chances are its growth will be boosted this year, with the help of the recently launched Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S. This Android-powered Apple-looking device is the company’s latest flagship smartphone. Design-wise, the Mi Mix 2S didn’t change from the version launched about half a year ago, and it’s understandable as it holds several design awards. The change happened under the hood, as it more often should. Back to the design features, the device looks exactly the same as its predecessor when regarded from the front—the 6-inch, full HD plus LCD display with 18:9 ratio and 1080p resolution and trim bezels on the side and top is unchanged, as is the 5-megapixel front camera, still placed in that awkward position at the bottom right corner of the device. The fingerprint sensor is still placed on the back. Mi Mix 2S is also made of ceramic with aluminum, but the company is interested in producing a full-ceramic edition, just as it did with the previous version; the color-scheme is minimal: black with gold trim and white with silver trim. On the back, there’s another story: the new dual-camera system replaced the single module and has been moved to the top left corner, mirroring iPhone X’s design. The camera system consists of two 12-megapixel sensors—one behind the wide-angle lens and the other behind a telephoto lens. The system features dual-pixel autofocus, four-axis optical image stabilization and Sony’s IMKX363 sensor with an F/1.8 aperture and 1.4-micron...

Digital Identity

In December, we named blockchain technology as one of the major trends for 2018. We were on to something. Even though blockchain technology is most often associated with cryptocurrencies, it has exceeded those applications. What is Blockchain? Blockchain is a digital ledger that records transactions in a series of blocks. It exists in multiple copies spread across multiple computers (nodes), impossible to tamper with thanks to the fact that each block of transactions (data) is linked back to previous blocks. Once you learn more about blockchain, it becomes clear that there are a vast number of uses available for the technology. Cryptocurrencies were only the beginning. Blockchain in the Real World The City of Austin is among the governments and private entities seeking ways to use blockchain technology to solve some of society’s biggest challenges. Currently, there are about 2,000 people struggling with housing insecurity in Austin. Several thousand more live in poverty. For people facing housing insecurity, identification documents are a serious challenge. Without safe storage, documents are easily stolen or lost. Securing housing, employment, and services becomes more difficult. The lack of documentation results in high costs, re-traumatization and diminished motivation. In July 2017, Austin received a $1.25 million three-year grant for research and development to improve existing homelessness services. With the funds, officials launched a pilot program that uses blockchain to help homeless persons protect their identities in the event that their IDs are lost or destroyed. Dubbed MyPass Initiative, the program is a partnership between the city of Austin, Austin-Travis County EMS and Dell Medical School at the University of Texas. The blockchain initiative will enable users to store information such as identification cards, social security numbers and medical history all in one virtual space. No matter where users show...

Sustainable Training

Do you find that your internal staff training program lacks engagement or consistency? Yardi eLearning’s featured topic for this month focuses on creating effective and sustainable training programs for busy real estate companies. Take the pressure off of your training team with these best practices. The Balance Sheet caught up with Michael Joiner of Yardi eLearning’s client services team to get the inside scoop on what this valuable training platform has to offer. What does it mean to have an Effective and Sustainable Training Program?  Joiner: An effective training program is one that meets the training needs of a company. A sustainable training program requires a balance between the administrative tasks—like scheduling training, assigning courses, communicating between instructors and students, validating student work, running reports—and maintaining existing training with the development of new training that meets additional needs of the company and its employees.  What’s one common hurdle that keeps clients’ training programs from being effective?  Joiner: Not identifying the needs of the learners. For instance, you can assign a ton a courses, but do those courses help bridge a skills gap or correct a behavior? Ineffective training programs assign courses for the sake of assigning content that someone thinks is necessary, but it may not be relevant or applicable to an individual. What’s one common hurdle that keeps clients’ training programs from being sustainable? Joiner: Focusing too much on developing new training and letting existing training become out dated. Out-of-date training leads to a lack of engagement and trust on the part of the learner. A sustainable training program creates new training initiatives while regularly updating existing content. How can users access this information after the webinar? Joiner: We’re teaching this class at YASC Washington, D.C. May 30- June 1, 2018. We’ll also be...

3 Reasons Why

Think you’re getting top dollar for your units? Odds are, you can be doing a lot better if you were working with a revenue manager. All Yardi RENTmaximizer users get a designated revenue manager to help them identify best practices for the highest revenues—even with those hard-to-move units. The role of a revenue manager is to first understand the asset, then the company’s goals for the asset. Is it a long-term hold or short-term sell? Do you want to improve occupancy or increase rates? Your revenue manager will work with you to understand your objectives. Your revenue manager can then offer insights and suggest ways to attain your goals based on different rules and settings in RENTmaximizer. Together, you can monitor the property to make sure that you are achieving your goals. When you work with a revenue manager, three things happen in your favor. You make the best decisions for your property based on accurate data, not just competitor behavior. “One of the most common mistakes is feeling the need to follow the competitor,” explains Tracy Hollins, Senior Technical Account Manager, CSD at Yardi. “Just because they dropped their rates does not always mean that you should.  They could have other issues causing lower occupancy where your property is performing just fine.” You gain access to historic data as well as current activity and emerging trends. “Another mistake is making assumptions based on what happened last year,” says Hollins. “Things are always changing and while historical information is important, you must not neglect what is happening now.” For example, don’t rush to make changes just because last summer was a very hot market with lots of leases. That doesn’t mean this summer will be the same.  Current trends play a huge role in savvy...

Argentum

Don’t miss the Argentum Senior Living Executive Conference and Expo on May 14-16, 2018. This year’s event will take place in sunny San Diego. The Conference Join more than 2,700 of your fellow C-level executives for three days packed with informative sessions and networking opportunities. Sessions covered include memory care, technology, hiring and management, safety, market trends and much more. Yardi’s Michael Remorenko will discuss the white paper, Senior Living Data Security. Attendees will learn how to safeguard sensitive data from online attacks and third-party hacks. Since 2015, data breaches have increased by 17.7 percent. Personally identifiable information (PII) such as social security and credit card numbers are valuable to criminals. Private information can be used to forge prescriptions, open new lines of credit and other offenses. Remorenko will present on the industry’s best practices—as well as groundbreaking advancements—that keep seniors’ data safe. For more information, visit Remorenko’s session on Wednesday, May 16, 2018 at 7:45am to 8:15am. The Expo You can explore Yardi’s latest offerings for senior living at our expo booth. The Expo showcases the latest solutions by leaders in senior living products and services. Yardi will have a 20 x 30 booth where guest are encouraged to test-drive Yardi’s senior living suite. Get answers to your questions about product offerings and how they can enhance your organization. Between the conference and the expo, there is a lot to do! Keep your schedule organized with the My Show Planner. This planning tool allows users to research exhibitors, schedule appointments, and add sessions to your itinerary. After the Show San Diego, the nation’s eighth largest city, has tons to offer visitors. The San Diego Convention Center, places guests in the center of the action. A short walk places conference attendees on the doorstep...

Investment Tech

A key investment management trend over the past few years is the increasing demands limited partners (LPs) are placing on their general partners (GPs) such as additional key performance indicators, fee disclosures, or a more active relationship, among others. Changes in the relationship between LPs and GPs involved in real estate investment, the maturation of the investment management industry and increasing sophistication of asset aggregators are some of the principal factors. Co-investment came into favor as a strategy for LPs, creating new challenges even as it solved others. In this new paradigm, advancements in investment management technology is key to making a potentially fraught relationship work for both sides. Analyzing opportunities and performance has created new challenges for LPs and GPs involved in private equity real estate investments. For example, LPs often request different standard data than GPs are accustomed to using; GPs must produce custom data extracts for each LP, a cumbersome and time-consuming exercise. For their part, the LPs often struggle to compile and aggregate data from GPs in analyzing their investments. With these challenges, many LPs and GPs are seeking new tools for collaborating and managing their real estate investment activities. One increasingly popular option involves employing a single connected platform that draws information from disparate data sources and aggregates complex ownership structures.  Such a platform provides clarity into investment programs, manages risk and allocation, and easily calculates returns and compares them to benchmarks. This approach can improve deal tracking, communication and investment decisions for LPs and GPs. Unifying operational and financial data within a single platform helps GPs by automating the complex accounting transactions associated with fund management. They can more easily manage complex ownership structures, consolidate financials and report to investors. Capital calls can be timed to up-to-the-minute operating...

Apple’s Marzipan

The iPhone is Apple’s most popular product, with superb design and flawless operating system. The Mac is a beautiful and powerful machine that turns working into fun. iPhones and Macs, as members of the same product family, communicate nicely through continuity module, but there’s one more thing that could make the experience even better. In fact, Apple users have been dreaming about this for a very long time. The unification of iOS and macOS becomes a dream as soon as one joins the ranks of Mac users. It’s sad to see how few apps made it to the Mac thus far. Since last December, rumor has it that Apple is almost ready to fulfill this desire. A Bloomberg report claims that Apple has an internal project, dubbed Marzipan, that seeks to make it possible for app developers to publish apps that will work on both the mobile iOS devices and on Mac computers. But here people have different opinions on how, if at all, this will roll out. Blurring the lines between iOS and macOS is anticipated to occur this year at the next major software kicks in. If Apple decides to stick to its usual release pattern, we’re looking at iOS 12 and macOS 10.14 (some say that Apple might even rename it all together and go with macOS 11 for such a big update). The update is anticipated to be launched at WWDC in June, following to launch to the public in September. Until then, we will stockpile our questions. The first set of questions that comes to mind has to do with the concepts of each OS: iOS doesn’t have a mouse cursor and runs only on touchscreen devices, while macOS has no support for touchscreen devices and needs a mouse...

Condo Tech Tips

It’s an exciting time for the condo industry in Canada. Facing tech disruption, new building, increasing regulation and competition, condo companies need to rethink — and even reinvent — the way they do business. To improve operational performance and increase NOI, condo managers need software platforms that deliver actionable analytics and integrated online services. A Market on the Move  As revealed in the PWC Emerging Trends in Real Estate 2018 report, the condo sector in Canada is seeing steady demand in most markets. In downtown core areas, condo units remain attractive to young professionals with a live/work/play lifestyle, along with retiring baby boomers who are downsizing from single family residences to enjoy urban amenities. The condo industry is also evolving in response to new needs and pressures. Whether there isn’t enough supply to meet demand or oversupply is finally being absorbed, condo managers need a profitable strategy that suits every scenario — including new projects such as popular multiuse communities that are driving density in city centers. These trendy new communities combine a mix of condo units with retail, a range of services and commercial space. Beyond the concept of mixed use, these “developments-as-neighborhoods”  recognize the demand for a community infrastructure that includes schools, parks, shopping and medical services that consider needs of young professionals, young families and older residents, too. According the PWC report, “The age of the shrinking condo may be coming to an end: units are starting to get bigger, reflecting the needs of families and move-up buyers.”  Tip #1: Go Paperless and Save  To be more agile in a changing market and transform operations to be more profitable, you have to say goodbye to paper. By streamlining invoice processing and centralizing spend management with automated online approval workflows, you ensure...

Connected Homes

The internet of things has arrived. Connected devices get smarter every day. They learn our preferences for music, temperature, what time we like to wake up, and seemingly more and more about our daily routine. Home-based devices offer many personal benefits and conveniences. Heavy traffic between home and the office? Alexa will warn you to leave early. Need to take out the garbage cans tonight before bed? Google Home will remind you. Smart thermostats, such as those offered by Nest and ecobee, are also providing conveniences for utility companies to address peak power events. Residents who sign up with their utility provider can authorize their smart thermostat to self-adjust, either up or down depending on weather, so that their home consumes less energy during peak hours. If the automatic setting is not comfortable, users can make their own adjustment and reset the temperature as needed. Big Picture Benefits “Being able to do things like shut off the AC from a smartphone when you accidently left it on is an innovative way to improve our lives. But, as connected thermostats become more common, there are bigger benefits possible,” said Matt Eggers, vice president of energy for Yardi. One example is how clean energy sources become more viable as consumers participate in these programs. “Energy created by solar and wind can be intermittent because sunshine and wind speeds are constantly variable. Giving utilities a strategy to manage demand, for example by having temporary control over consumers’ thermostats, water heaters or electric vehicle chargers, allows them to bring on even more solar and wind sources,” said Eggers. Smart thermostats also save money for utilities by using less power when it is most expensive. Power costs can vary throughout the day based on time of use pricing structures....

For App Addicts

Your smartphone is the one thing you carry on you at all times. It has become an omnipresent device, with very few places where one’s not allowed to have it. It helps a great deal, but it’s ever more damaging as well. Today we face something that’s called ‘app addiction’ and there are more and more studies showing the damaging effects apps have on our brains. Analytics company Flurry released some data that shows that people in the U.S. use their mobile devices for five hours a day. More so, the tech-support firm Asurion found that Americans check their phones 80 times a day on average. Even more so, you’ve surely heard that Silicon Valley parents (from the ranks of those who built these apps and devices) are raising their kids to be tech-free. One Brooklyn-based company has proposed an alternative to the tech monopolies back in 2015 and now they’ve returned with a second model—Light Phone 2 is everything a smartphone isn’t, an intentionally limited gadget. The device is a 4G LTE phone with a black and white matte E-ink display and only a few features extra compared to an old school landline: it can send and receive messages, set up an alarm clock, and maybe it will be able to calculate a ride home and perhaps even listen to your favorite playlist. It can also store a decent contact list, too. That’s it—no social network tools, ads, email, games, or whatever else to distract you from the reality of life. Joe Hollier and Kai Tang, the company’s founders, came up with the idea while at a Google incubator where they were asked to design smartphone apps. They did… the opposite. The world already had too many addicting apps, it was time to...