Scaling Coliving Apps, Software and Technology

Coliving has gained importance in the last couple of years. If you look at the news articles containing the word "Coliving," you will find 95% of them written in the last 2 years. This says a lot about the industry. Coliving is trying to set itself up as a dominant asset class niche with a strong business model. We have inroads, but still, a long way to go. We need to prove that Coliving can be a strong business model at scale. And, when we talk about scale in any industry, we have to speak about technology. Scale is not possible without the implementation of technology.

In pursuing a better business model, the customer experience has to improve, which is one more reason to talk about technology. Technology can help us achieve operational excellence with a better end-user experience. There are so many options today, but none of them was specifically built for coliving. Everyone is trying to retrofit the existing ones for use in Coliving. Still, if the industry grows from here, we need to build solutions and softwares specifically for coliving.

Below I am mentioning the 5 technologies that can help coliving grow and become sustainable.

In pursuing a better business model, the customer experience has to improve, which is one more reason to talk about technology. Technology can help us achieve operational excellence with a better end-user experience. There are so many options today, but none of them was specifically built for coliving. Everyone is trying to retrofit the existing ones for use in Coliving. Still, if the industry grows from here, we need to build solutions and softwares specifically for coliving.

Below I am mentioning the 5 technologies that can help coliving grow and become sustainable.

Property Management Systems (PMS)

The PMS horizon has expanded in recent times to fulfill the ever-changing end-user needs. Now, a PMS is expected to do so much more. It is community curation to its management, better analytics for data-driven decision-making, automation of workflows, customizations, integrations, and whatnot. PMS is expected to reduce the manual intervention to remove uncertainties and build repeatable and scalable processes. It should also be accessible from anywhere across devices to make sure that you can easily manage many more properties.

But, we have to be very careful about choosing the PMS we implement as it can make our break our business. So, first, we need to map out all the current processes and then look at the touch points that need automation and improvements. Once this is done, it will become easier to map out PMS and implement it in a much better way.

With coliving, we create a service and a community layer over the long-term living solutions that are currently nonexistent. Hence, the role of PMS becomes much more important; if done right, it can be the single most important factor in the growth of the segment as a dominant asset class.

There is always a debate on build vs. buy. Building tech for it should be left to people who are only doing this if you focus on creating awesome places. This way, we get the best of both worlds. But this is not possible without an interactive dialogue that organizations like Co-Liv, Conscious Coliving, etc., are fostering. Solutions like JumboTiger make sure to work with all actors and stakeholders and build a future-proof PMS that can be a single window into the coliving world.

Access control

Security and privacy are some of the most important factors for any rental living, inclusive of coliving. Every operator wants to ensure a safe space for its resident. The use cases include zone restrictions, on-site security, remote move-ins, and move-outs, etc.

Over the last couple of years, access control technology has become an essential part of rental portfolio management, and Salto Systems is at the forefront of it. They have integrations with PMS, which provides a great experience unified to the end-user. This fosters transparency and trust in the ecosystem, which is very important to build great communities.

The application of access control just goes beyond security. With the integration capabilities, the access data enriches other applications with the help of IoT and opens the doors for limitless innovation.

Camera surveillance

With coliving facilities becoming bigger and bigger, there is a need for better visual control to operate, manage and secure a coliving space. The camera surveillance with doorbells or in common areas significantly improves the security of the place. This reduces unfortunate events and enables multiple other cases like maintaining accountability towards communal spaces, informing when things are out of order, etc.

Camera technology can also enable operators to provide enough proof to diffuse any conflict in coliving space.

For example, Eagle Eye Networks offer video surveillance as a service that can be linked up to an unlimited number of locations, cameras, and users, increasing its scalability. In addition, it uses cloud storage which can be integrated into other platforms. Not only does their technology perform traditional surveillance, but it also produces insights into how customers are using spaces. If you’re testing out different functions for your shared spaces, then this is a useful tool to understand how your customers inhabit those spaces.

The recent cross-use of technologies that were earlier used in other real estate domains has opened new paradigms for all the stakeholders.

IOT devices

Did you know that you can save a lot of money and time by using different IOT devices? For example, imagine you have your electricity controlled by IOT, so when someone is not there is a space, it just dims itself or even turns itself off. This is environmentally sustainable and saves a lot of costs.

Another use case includes using water sensors to limit water wastage in the kitchen, bathrooms, etc. There are even funnier use cases where you can put a weight sensor on the bed, which is empty, and program it so another resident cannot use it. This is an interesting problem most of the coliving spaces face.

Carlos of Coliving from the Trenches has explained this beautifully in his blog titled "Coliving and Technology." You can read it here.

IOT devices

Did you know that you can save a lot of money and time by using different IOT devices? For example, imagine you have your electricity controlled by IOT, so when someone is not there is a space, it just dims itself or even turns itself off. This is environmentally sustainable and saves a lot of costs.

Another use case includes using water sensors to limit water wastage in the kitchen, bathrooms, etc. There are even funnier use cases where you can put a weight sensor on the bed, which is empty, and program it so another resident cannot use it. This is an interesting problem most of the coliving spaces face.

Carlos of Coliving from the Trenches has explained this beautifully in his blog titled "Coliving and Technology." You can read it here.

Community app

At the core, the only thing pushing the coliving movement forward is "Community." With the use of technology-enabled solutions, it can be well maintained and enhanced. Many such solutions are available as separate community apps (Glynk, Sowebuild, etc.), and many of them are part of PMS solutions like JumboTiger.

In today's time, it is equally important to foster community offline and online, and hence these tech solutions become much more important looking at the current generation behavior. These solutions help create an internal community and removes the initial hesitation of reaching out to someone. Hosting events, sharing expenses, and booking facilities in space are some of the features used extensively by operators, according to the mobile app survey by Conscious Coliving.

All of this improves community well-being, helps in community curation, and great tenant onboarding. All will also result in long-term or repeat custom, leading to better growth and the opportunity to scale up quickly.

Community apps/ PMS solutions also enable the operator to provide over-the-counter service and earn extra revenues. In addition, some PMS solutions also take neighborhood development into account and help build local economies.

Exploring and choosing among all the technology solutions for a coliving space can feel overwhelming, frustrating, and confusing for an operator. Hence, Conscious Coliving came up with a guide to help coliving operators navigate the realm of coliving technology to be best able to create their own thriving coliving community. So please do give it a read.

Source: Article on LinkedIn by Cate

We're launching on Sep 15!