IT professionals have seen how technology needs have changed in recent years. The biggest difference in the real estate sector is quite obvious: people have spent a lot more time at home. To manage this change, real estate organizations have used improved technology.
We often advise our customers that the IT industry changes every five to seven years, so it’s important to be ready for the impending innovation curve. The pandemic has shortened this cycle almost overnight, with organizations having just weeks to implement new technologies to fix the problems. We are often asked to develop disaster recovery and incident response plans for customers to prepare them for disasters, but many of the best prepared were not quite ready for this unprecedented public health crisis. . For the less prepared, they didn’t really have a plan. They rushed as fast as they could with the spirit of “moving fast and breaking things”.
A return to stability is underway, and both seasoned and unseasoned real estate companies have found a sense of technological rationality. Our team found some interesting trends in real estate client IT implementations. Here are three of those transformative trends we’ve helped our clients with.
Improved video surveillance
As people “hunker down” at home, many building owners and property management companies have had increased demands on their traditional video surveillance and access control systems. Data got much bigger and systems couldn’t measure and manage property needs with the increase in residents, delivery people, workers, etc.
Traditional video system storage has been 30 days or less. Many states now require longer detention. For example, New York State requires three years of retention to cover the statute of limitations of liability. With the courts supported, our clients typically see legal judgments being rendered 12-18 months after the event. The only way to refute or substantiate a case is to properly archive video systems. Historically, long-term storage was very expensive. However, with the new cloud and local storage, long-term video storage is much more affordable, with many customers keeping three years worth of video.
Some buildings were monitored 24/7. But with the large number of people entering and exiting buildings, it has become overwhelming to monitor the number of potentially dangerous triggers. To augment or replace a first line of defense, AI-based technologies can now power advanced cameras to detect and deter vagrancy and vandalism. These robotic functions monitor and alert in real time and even make announcements through the placement of vandal-resistant speakers.
To solve a problem quickly, many real estate agencies and brokers did their best: they bought additional cloud-based software because of its quick deployment, easy training and lower relative costs. One issue we continue to encounter with customers is how to converge data and make it more efficient when using separate systems.
We have found many clients using multiple software to manage their sales and rental practices. Factors and variable data include portfolios, distribution of agents with team members, referral agents, owners and others in a non-standard ad hoc manner. Combine that with accounting software, customer relationship software, commission software, email software, marketing tools and the like, and you have an extremely complex setup.
We saw an increased need to connect all of these platforms into a single data warehouse, to consolidate all systems data into the “single source of truth”. Some software could probably be eliminated, which would reduce costs and make the process more efficient. This trend of technology consolidation has started with many vendors and will only increase in the future.
Customer relationship management
Many organizations have recently decentralized and hired outside of their traditional geographies. We are now seeing core teams of investors, developers and bankers struggling to communicate effectively.
Because many of the Mortgage Banking Settlors were hired quickly and had individual sales processes, our clients were left in the dark on various performance metrics. This made it difficult to effectively re-engage former clients, determine mortgage agent performance, and securely control sensitive contact information across the business.
Customer relationship management (“CRM”) technology can help organize the vast collection of siled contacts, provide unified marketing, increase sales and efficiency, create key performance indicators for management, and leverage the a company’s website as a new business generator.
The common theme we’ve seen is that the real estate industry is a technological explosion of tools and software. Smart organizations are embracing these new technologies. A thorough IT assessment can help organizations understand where they could get the most out of the aforementioned technologies and solutions.