As the managing director of Bozzuto Management Company, I oversee operations for multi-family management. I have been witnessing various technological trends creating an impact in the PropTech space, the most prominent of which is smart home technology, which today has gone beyond“Alexa, turn on the lights.” Subsequently, the PropTech space has to consider the different elements associated with this trend such as infrastructure and devices. We have a pilot with IoTus group that provides a smart apartment platform on which users can control temperature, lights, and other such equipment in a smart home setting.
Another trend we are witnessing is the change in consumer communication and interaction patterns.All of our customers rely heavily on their mobile devices, and they want every feature on them—from scheduling to service requests—which can be configured on their devices. Recognizing the need, we have invested a tremendous amount in software that can fulfill this. We have recently extended our focus on enhancing the customer journey by investing in an ideal CRM system. This ensures that right from a consumer's initial visit to our website, to their interaction with it, the system can assist the associates in guiding the process (customer experience and journey) seamlessly while better understanding our customers.
Data is the New Fuel
As we improve the customer journey, it is essential that we streamline the data collection process as well. We need to maximize the performance of the assets; wherein, it is very important to comprehend how the assets are leveraged. As an organization, we manage data for various entities and so the data that we collect is scattered. To this end, we have invested in BI technology to gather more focused data that can provide us KPIs, about the performance of these assets.
At Bozzuto, we are focused each day on creating sanctuary for our residents, so we choose technology that supports this effort
It is interesting to note that when customers tour our buildings, many of them review and compare other properties simultaneously on their mobile devices. Our residents rely entirely on their devices for communication as well, but the retrofit is expensive, especially from a 5G connectivity perspective. Using the data available, we can recommend providers such that they can outfit a building in the best way possible.
Technology is the Name of the Game
For our organization, the biggest challenge is the adoption of new technology by the team members. It takes expertise to manage the building, and while technology can be a big help to them, they need to first take note of how they use it most effectively. This is where Change Management comes into the picture as we need the team members to grasp why the technology is important and how it can really help them. We spend a lot of time on training and support in order to increase adoption rates.
From a hardware perspective, asset control is significant as well. The end-users need to understand the use of new technology and its impact on building operations.
Cybersecurity and Connected Buildings
From a security standpoint, the number one task is to protect our infrastructure and understand compliance from a federal and a state perspective. We operate in 12 states today, which requires a great understanding of compliance requirements. This is why we invest heavily in cybersecurity in order to protect systems and data of our customers, residents and employees.
Part of our ongoing investment includes a great deal of training for our employees, so that they can stay informed and understand existing threats. Preventing a cybersecurity breach from ever happening is our primary goal.
Piece of Advice
For building operators, it is critical that they understand the impact of technology on the customers and the value of their assets.
For technology providers, they have to set an approach where team members are better able to understand how technology can help them do their jobs more efficiently, which ultimately means a better experience for our customers.