Multifamily Innovation Flourishes in Collaborative Environments

By Dennis Cogbill

In the battle to sign new residents and get current ones to renew their leases, properties strive to have the best common-area amenities, the most appealing in-unit finishes, the best customer service and the most attractive move-in offers in their competitive set.

But when it comes to pushing the industry forward and developing innovations that optimize the living experience and boost an operator’s bottom line, those who work in multifamily should be ready to collaborate as much as possible.

I’m reminded of the phrase “a rising tide lifts all boats.” When industry members work together to problem solve, share expertise and scale new solutions, they create an environment in which all residents are better served and all operators have a chance to bring in more revenue.

Here are three important ways industry members can collaborate:

1) PropTech venture funds. A good example of this is Real Estate Technology Ventures’ Fund I, which raised $108 million from leading owners and operators like Aimco, Boardwalk, Cortland, Essex, GID, MidAmerica, Starwood Capital Group and UDR. The fund and others like it provide capital to supplier partners with emerging technologies, which are then tested in the investors’ portfolios. Ideally, the feedback from the owner/operators and the lessons learned by deploying the solutions in the real world enables supplier partners to produce solutions ready for widespread deployment across the industry.

2) Create technological solutions that integrate easily. Multifamily supplier partners need to place a real emphasis on creating technologies and solutions that can work together efficiently and easily.

As it stands now, too many technologies don’t integrate easily with other solutions. This can make it very hard for operators and communities to build a technological infrastructure that provides residents with a cutting-edge living experience.

3) Attend industry conferences, especially those focused on technology and industry progress. Multifamily conferences provide great forums for owners and operators to come together, whether in educational sessions or in more informal networking events, and discuss common challenges and opportunities for improvements and innovations.

These events, like MICA, also can allow owner/operators a chance to talk with entrepreneurs and tech investors about developing new solutions that can move the industry forward.

The innovative spirit is more vibrant now in multifamily than ever before. Across the industry, apartment communities are using things like self-guided tours, chatbots, advanced package management systems, mobile apps, smart-home technology and cutting-edge fitness centers to deliver vastly improved customer experiences.

To keep the innovations and great customer experiences flowing, it’s essential that industry members collaborate with each other.

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