This article was originally published on Bisnow. It has been edited to adjust to this format.
Multifamily property managers today have to balance more responsibilities and meet more expectations than they did just a few years ago, all while navigating an industrywide shortage of workers. This has them looking for solutions to simplify life for themselves, their overworked staff and residents alike.
“The people on-site today need to be experts on a lot of different things,” said Megan Griss, a regional sales director for STRATIS. “They have to be experts on their property, everything that happens on their property, the neighborhood and even be legal experts when dealing with leases. For a time, they also had to be health experts while they were dealing with a pandemic. They wear a ton of different hats all the time.”
Griss understands the plight of these CRE professionals. Prior to joining STRATIS, she worked as a property manager for several years, where she learned the day-to-day challenges of the job and developed an appreciation for centralized control of a multifamily building’s many moving parts.
Some of the buildings where she worked — and lived — had adopted an Internet of Things system that allowed people to control multiple building functions from a single app. Other properties forced them to juggle multiple apps or dashboards if they wanted to pay rent or buzz in a guest.
It is not hard to guess which setup Griss and her residents preferred.
“One of my jobs was at a new construction property that had no smart technology and where nothing was connected,” she said. “So, as far as how my move-in process went, I would move new residents into the property management system, then into the access control system, then the parking garage system and then their unit’s door lock system. We were working with three or four different dashboards in the back office, while the tenant would have to download another app to operate their thermostat.”
Griss recalled needing to set aside a “huge chunk of our time” on the calendar to prepare for as many as 20 move-ins in a single day.
The cumbersome process also reduced the frequency and quality of her face-to-face resident interactions. Instead, she spent much of her time in the back office entering data onto one of the building’s multiple dashboards.
“A moving-in process with systems that are not connected at all is pretty inefficient,” she said. “And that’s my nice word for it.”
At another property where she worked, however, Griss became acquainted with the STRATIS platform from RealPage’s Smart Building Suite.
“The goal of STRATIS is to bring everything into one dashboard for property managers and onto one app for residents,” she said. “My access control and any smart devices that we had on-site were all connected through STRATIS. When I was moving in a resident, the management software would send them an automatic email to access everything with one app.”
In a complex world, an integrated IoT property management system offers something many people crave in their lives: simplicity.
“People really want things in one place, like how they might organize their phone with folders so they only have to go to that one place to find certain apps,” Griss said. “People don’t want to carry keys around anymore, either. Being able to unlock your door with your phone is very important, but so is being able to control your thermostat while you’re away.”
Griss said STRATIS is trying to make property management and the resident experience even simpler. Through Whitesky, another company in the RealPage Smart Building Suite, the STRATIS platform offers communitywide WiFi as an alternative to traditional carriers and internet service providers. Not only does this make move-ins even easier, but it also provides more reliable WiFi for residents, she said.
A tool like that would have come in handy when she was managing a building, she said. But she’s glad to be able to offer it — along with her own experience as a manager — to her clients today.
“At the end of the day, whether you’re a resident or property manager, you just want to know that you have someone there who has your back,” Griss said.
STRATIS®, a RealPage Company, creates smart apartments and intelligent buildings and is the only platform of its kind built for the complexities of multifamily and student housing. STRATIS is installed worldwide across the U.S., in Japan, the UK, EU, and Latin America. STRATIS now serves hospitality, retail, and small to mid-size commercial, as well. STRATIS is an Inc. Magazine “Fastest Growing Company in America” and a Top Ten Entrepreneur Magazine “Best Company in America.” STRATIS was recently acquired by RealPage to enable STRATIS Smart Building, a more connected lifestyle, and unleash hidden yield through new revenue streams.