2010. Does it feel like it was that long ago? In 2010, 3D TV arrived, Bruno Mars gave us, “Just the Way You Are” and “app” was the American Dialect Society’s word of the year. Here we are, 10 years later, at the start of a new decade, hurtling towards the end of a year that will be an historical one. This has been a year of adjusting, changing and adapting our lives – business and personal – to suit the environment we live in. No one could have predicted the onset of a pandemic (or could they?) and the effect it would have. But had we known in 2010, would businesses have taken steps to prepare more for it?
Change is always happening. If this has taught us anything, it’s that businesses must take the time to consider what to do now that will help prepare for the future. We’re looking ahead to 2030 and what the residential property management landscape might look like then. And asking, what can Residential Property Managers do to be proactive and adapt over the next decade?
Growing population = Growing portfolios
In 2010 the UK population was 62.8 million. This year that figure has increased to 67.3 million. And the Office for National Statistics predicts that the UK population will increase to 70.4 million in 2030. 3.1 million more people, means more homes. And with that, larger portfolios to manage. And more people to do business with.
When we consider those demographics we’re looking at people who are currently 10 years old being 20, those who are 20 now, will be 30 and so on. This is Generation Alpha. The children of Millenials. In an article in the Huffington Post, Social Researcher Mark McCrindle, “believes the omnipresence of technology in those formative years leads to increased digital literacy and gamification of learning but also shorter attention spans and impaired social formation.”
Natalie Franke, the head of community at the business management platform HoneyBook continues, “These advancements mean that technology for Generation Alpha “is not something separate from themselves, but rather, an extension of their own consciousness and identity.”
Generation Alpha have been brought up with mobile phones as the norm. With many parents giving their kid’s their phone to watch YouTube or to ‘play with’. Generation Alpha aren’t afraid of scrolling across glass, or pressing buttons to see what happens.
In 2030, the adults who will be moving in to properties will be tech savvy, app addicts and possibly the first generation to grow up with self driving cars. Digital ways and means to run their life will be expected.
Tech changes everything
Tech, tech changes everything. Ten years ago it would have been unimaginable for Residential Property Managers to have offered clients a portal to make payments via their website. In fact, would many Residential Property Managers have had a website?! We know the industry as a whole can be a tad slow to react to technological advances. In 2010, CPL Software was set up to solve many of the manual processes that were common place ten years ago in property management. Now we have to start looking ahead to ensure we have solutions in place to continue to move the industry forward. And that means using technology to create good client experiences for a world where tech will be even more commonplace to help run our lives.
At home with Generation Alpha in 2030
Let’s have some fun thinking about the homes of the future – in a decade. The homes that Generation Alpha will be living in.
Will ‘Ring’ become the standard when choosing an apartment block? Whilst Gen Alpha are at work – they want to know that their home is safe. It’s not possible to have a concierge in all apartment or tenement blocks. But it is possible to install technology that allows homeowners and tenants to see who is coming and going or who needs access to the building. Generation Alpha are used to instant results. They don’t want to have to wait another week if someone doesn’t get into the building to carry out repairs or maintenance. And Generation Alpha want the latest in digital tech. Will apartment blocks need to have video entry and Ring installed as standard?
Service as a rental?
Payment portals and apps have gradually become more and more commonplace among residential property management. However there are still many firms that do not yet offer easy electronic payment methods. By 2030, will Gen Alpha that’s going to have to change. Because what we need to be thinking about it is, will the next generation even be satisfied with having to pay their property maintenance bills with an app? Will they expect to pay using Apple Pay or paying bills on a monthly basis rather than quarterly or in single payments when work is done? The rise of ‘rental’, subscriptions and split payments is set to continue and by 2030, Gen Alpha might need an entirely new set up for paying their bills.
Will ‘snail mail’ be email?
When email became the new way to communicate, it wasn’t long before we started referring to Royal Mail as snail mail. Now we have apps for this and notifications flying in all over the place. Instant messaging has taken over offices everywhere and it could be how Generation Alpha will expect to communicate. If a message isn’t popping up into their immediate vision, it may well go unnoticed. How will Generation Alpha pay bills? Or receive information from businesses? Remember to turn on notifications could be the buzzwords of 2030 if you want to communicate successfully with clients.
There is no Planet B for Gen Alpha
As well as being digitally savvy, Generation Alpha will be the generation that is forced to clean up the mess that we’ve created on the planet. The UK and devolved Governments have made commitments to reduce carbon emissions by 2030. Our home life is and will be a huge part of this clean up. How we live, use energy, eat, dispose of waste, get from A t o B. These are everyday problems that require solutions.
The implications for Residential Property Managers are that the industry may be pivotal in driving change in how shared buildings are run. For example, organising and managing solar panels on roofs, insulation inside roofs, switching to LED bulb lighting in stairwells with motion sensors to save energy, using sustainable paint, or growing and maintaining vegetable patches could all be a reality of property management life in a decade.
We’re already seeing a shift away from diesel cars. Before it happened, no one could have predicted that London’s congestion charge would have been introduced. If all major cities in the UK place a ban on driving diesel and petrol cars in city centres, and city dwellers must shift to electric, who will be responsible for installing and managing the electric charging points in blocks of flats? We’re already seeing electric charging points cropping up in apartment blocks.
The other clean way to get around town (aside from walking) is of course, cycling. Bike racks in city centre blocks are already visible and as cycling becomes encouraged, more and more people will be two wheeling it to and from work. Which means bike racks will need to be a common feature in blocks of flats.
Imagine, in 2025, legislation is brought in to include these rapid shifts in how we live in cities and suburbs. It will change how residential property maintenance is carried out, placing Property Managers at the centre of the adaptations.
From 2020 to 2030 – what can Residential Property Managers do to be proactive and adapt over the next decade?
Change never happens overnight (unless a global pandemic hits). But when we don’t have to change, it takes time. 2030 will be here before we know it. And businesses must change to suit the growing and changing population. How will Property Factors and Block Management firms react? Will you be proactive or reactive? Getting ahead of the curve is the only answer. Predicting what might happen in the future allows us to start preparing now. To implement plans to move the business forward month by month and year by year. So that by 2030, the start of the next new decade, we’ll be ready for the needs and demands of a new generation.
Brian Welsh, MD, CPL Software has 30 years in the software industry and has been at the forefront of property management software solutions since 2010.
If you would like to discuss your business needs with a team of UK based experts in your field, please contact us today for a friendly chat or to book an appointment.