It’s not often that one finds oneself struggling to stay warm in Florida, but it’s been happening this week in Orlando, where we’ve been these last couple of days, along with a few thousand of our closest friends at the 2020 NMHC annual meeting.
Among the gathered throng of multifamily dealmakers huddled (mostly indoors to avoid the cold) one could not help but notice a marked break from the previously mandatory uniform of grey pants, white shirt and blue blazer. Many attendees commented on the degree of self-expression in the clothing (we’re talking blue, and even the occasional checkered, shirts) and the apparent disruption of a long-established order. But it was a different type of disruption that grabbed at least some of the attention this week.
About that tipping point
On Wednesday we were treated to a rapid-fire panel featuring luminaries of three technologies that have more potential than anything to transform multifamily operations. A succession of providers of AI leasing agents; smart home technologies and self-tour came to the stage to answer questions from operators. The dialogue - although too quick to do much more than whet the appetite for further research and discussion - touched on some themes to which our industry should be paying attention.
As Rick Haughey (NMHC’s VP of Industry Technology Initiatives) reminded us at the start of the session, our industry has moved “from laggard to leader” in proptech. A year ago in our 20 for ‘20 white paper, we noted that the industry was at a technology tipping point, largely because of those three technologies. What’s impressive is the progress that has been made in 12 months.