Tech Adoption Begins With Younger Generation

“Millennials adopt technology faster than other generation,”Taylor Wiederkehr, software implementation analyst at Alliance Residential Co., said on the Property and Asset Management: Implementing Automation for Productivity Enhancement panel at RealShare Apartments. The panel was moderated by Mike Ballard, a partner at Ascent Multifamily Accounting, and featured panelists Bryan Colin, co-founder and CEO of Virtual APT, and Jason Lindwall, SVP of property management solutions at RealPage, in addition to Wiederkehr. The panelists were all focused on finding ways to encourage and communicate adoption of technologies.

Technology adoption begins with younger generations, said the panelists, speaking specifically about millennials, which are becoming the dominant demographic in multifamily rentals. “Tech does begin with the younger generation,” says Colin. “It is going to build from the younger generation. It takes time for people to accept and grow with.” Lindwall added, “It is interesting to watch the college student population today. The demands are moving into the mainstream, and technology is going to have to be there to manage those expectations.”

These younger generations also expect technology integration, so amenities like thermostat control, smart phone control and doorbell cameras have become important. As a result, automation is going to play a major role in the future of multifamily. “Automation is going to come across the board,” said Colin. “There is going to be a huge shift, and people need to be realistic and realize that 20% of the jobs that we have today are going to be gone in the next seven to 10 years. If you aren’t adding value, there is going to be a machine that will do something for you.”

Wiederkehr disagreed that automation would take jobs away, but he agreed that it was coming, and fast. “We are moving toward a fully automated environment. I don’t think that jobs are going to disappear, but there is going to be a shift in what we are going to be training for,” he said. This technology has already been created, but implementation and adoption are where the industry is lacking. “We are more antiquated than any other industry in the world, but we are also the wealthiest,” said Wiederkehr. “We see all technologies as being implementable, but we need to communicate those technologies.”

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