Community managers are increasingly turning to technology and embracing digital innovations to help achieve their primary goal – ensuring the smooth running of their assigned communities, making them more efficient and environmentally friendly, extending their lifecycles, and most importantly, ensuring they provide investors, owners and tenants with unique real estate journeys and meaningful living experiences.
While the benefits may be obvious, the real question is how can technology integration be transformed from theory into practice, keeping in mind that adopting innovations are not the end goal, but rather the ultimate means to creating a thriving community?
Digital Properties for Community Management
There has been a rise in the use of digital property management tools to enhance living experiences. Portals and mobile applications are serving as hubs for residents, owners and investors to manage their properties virtually, using any internet connected device with no time restrictions. From staying informed about the most recent community news and events, allowing amenity bookings, making payments, accessing governing documents, viewing asset’s details, requesting maintenance, to even the more human-centric type of interaction, such as communicating with fellow community members, posting questions and getting answers to everything related to their neighbourhood. These digital community management tools are redefining how we interact with one another and are helping empower stakeholders and provide them with a voice within the larger property ecosystem.
Technology has also proven useful in times of crisis, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, allowing our communities to function amid lockdowns. Although quarantine measures have reduced in-person interactions significantly, technological solutions provided a unique virtual customer experience, through remote activities such as fitness classes and residential events, with the aim of keeping residents connected and engaged. Beyond the pandemic, these technologies may have long-term implications, helping communities in becoming more robust and resilient in the face of future threats.
For example, it has provided a convenient and elevated and real estate journey, laying the foundations for business in the post-pandemic digital economy through innovations like 360-degree virtual property tours and fitness and entertainment classes to encourage social distance and keep the communities entertained.
Technology and Innovation for Operational Performance
Community managers can implement cost-effective technology-powered practices such as automated lighting and heating systems, water conservation and electricity optimisation techniques and the installation of energy-efficient LED lights that help reduce utility costs for residents and lower operating costs for property owners. Additionally, adopting and integrating Proptech solutions to control and monitor assets, such as a cloud-based Building Management Systems (BMS), can lower costs by optimising energy consumption, improving health and productivity, assisting with real-time surveillance, and enabling faster emergency response. Innovative systems such as touchless technology can also allow for the reduction of contact points in entry doors, elevators, and washroom faucets, to name a few.
Community managers can also utilize predictive maintenance based on the Internet of Things (IoT), allowing for the systematic scheduling of the optimal maintenance and inspection routine to avoid unplanned downtime and unnecessary effort. Strong communities using technology and innovation, can therefore enhance the real estate experience, contributing to the satisfaction of everyone involved in a property’s value chain.
Green communities, shared values
Environmental sustainability is also high on the priority list of property stakeholders – Technology and innovation for operational performance results in healthier greener communities – technology can help lower water and electricity usage, improve air quality and lower the overall carbon footprint of a community. If we can reduce energy spending with innovation, it will in turn reflect on a unit’s monthly expenses. For example, 50% of service charges are made up of utilities, 10% reduction in that will have a meaningful impact on service charges and on the environment.
Today’s fast-paced, hyper-connected world is changing the role that communities play in our lives, as well as the roles we play within them. The widespread adoption of Proptech will continue to help businesses build stronger, closer communities and help managers address their most important business need – ensuring the happiness and wellbeing of their communities.
This article has been authored by H.P. Aengaar, CEO at Provis. This contribution is part of our ongoing knowledge-sharing series "Expert Talk".
The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not reflect the organisation's views in any way. This is a standard disclaimer statement.