While it doesn’t always pay to follow the herd, tracking the biggest property management trends is an important part of the job. Understanding what tools different managers are using to streamline their operations, become more effective, and deliver better outcomes to occupiers is critical to ensure that your own property management efforts are kept as efficient as possible.
In this article we will break down the three property management technology trends that are dominating right now in terms of effectiveness, adoption, or simple buzz.
1. Property metrics: Measure everything
The first property management trend we are discussing is the push to collect as much data as possible in order to streamline future operations. There are a few drivers for this.
Increasing attention to ESG
More property firms are carefully tracking ESG than ever before. Consider that CBRE’s 2021 Global Investor Intentions survey found that 60 percent of respondents already adopted ESG criteria for their own investments. This heightened ESG focus requires managers to be diligent in identifying and monitoring a wide range of data points from energy consumption to diversity, equity, and inclusion metrics and beyond.
Increasing power of measurement tools
Property companies have always been focused on reducing expenses, and now that there seems to be a sensor or measurement tool for every conceivable building expense, the sky is the limit for property optimization. Want to track waste generation, the number of people using your rooftop deck, or the average visit to your on-site gym? It’s all possible, and each of these figures could inform a better allocation of resources for the property as well as future investments.
It is also getting easier and easier to actually measure all of these important statistics and metrics. Managers today can choose from occupancy sensors, sensors connected to doors, sensors that recognize body heat, cameras, positional monitoring systems and beyond. This makes it simpler than ever to actually set up the tools that gather data. Conversely, it is getting harder and harder to say that important data is actually impossible to collect.
2. New approaches to manage hybrid spaces
Hybrid working has displaced traditional styles of working at many firms around the globe, and property managers are working to keep up with what these new strategies and approaches require. According to McKinsey, “A hybrid model is more complicated than a fully remote one. At scale, using it will be an unprecedented event in which all kinds of norms will be put to the test.” For one thing, we’ve seen an explosion in demand for tools to enable frictionless working. These tools include the likes of touchless access, guest management, and space reservations, the trifecta of features a recent Propmodo report paints as crucial tenant experience features.
The need to respond to hybrid applies to residential properties as well. Just as offices are adjusting to meet the needs of people that are only in the office on some days, so too are apartments adjusting to the growing ranks of remote professionals. Properties are increasingly being built with home offices built into individual units, and community spaces for things like meetings and recording audio or video are increasingly in-demand. Ensuring that access on both ends - getting into the office as well as the apartment - is equally important. One non-tech outcome? Expect complaints about barking dogs to keep going up!
3. No-code solutions
No-code solutions are ones that provide some element of software development functionality, from the ability to design one-off automations to the deployment of full-on mobile applications, without actually needing to do any direct coding. While some of the more advanced options still have a bit of a learning curve, tools like Zapier, Notion, and Bubble are increasing the ability of non-technical professionals to build custom tools to solve their challenges.
This has big implications for property management. With no-code solutions property managers can implement solutions for unique or one-off problems, like building an order-taking system for a Friday happy hour. Many no-code solutions also integrate well with other tools, augmenting the flexibility of the platforms in the property management toolbox.
More broadly, no-code applications are empowering non-technical property managers to start thinking like product developers. “Citizen development” is the term for this kind of product or tool development that takes place outside of the scope of the IT function within a given organization. A 2017 Gartner report found that half of all research respondents were aware of citizen development going on at their organizations. No-code could make these citizen development projects more quick and effective, and property managers will likely find many opportunities to implement the learning gained from these processes.
These are just a few of the trends we expect to shape property management tech in 2022. For more on the subject, check out our recent article on 2022 PropTech trends to watch.