Although there may be reasons that community Associations are resistant to change, Condo Boards need to get with the times. If your goal is to lead a better Condo life, you’re going to need to utilize 21st century technology. This might be anything from electric car charging to modern communications. There are many ways technology improves Condo Associations.
Today we are joined by Andrea Drennen of TOPS Software. Andrea Drennen, CMCA, is a CAM industry veteran with more than 15 years of experience that she brings to her role as TOPS Software’s Marketing Director. She shares her passion for CAM Management through the TOPS CAM Blog and in speaking engagements at events across the country. TOPS Software is a multi-award winning software solution for community association management. Ms. Drennan joins us to provide her take on how technology improves Condo Associations.
Note – there are affiliate links on this website to Amazon as examples of products. Better Condo Life does not endorse these products; they are provided only as examples. If you were to click and buy, we would receive a small commission.
Using Technology to Improve Finances
In the end, money is a near universal driver in all things, including Condo Associations. Just like online banking has probably changed how you deal with personal finance, there are similar benefits for community Associations to reap from technology. “Smart Banking is one example of a major efficiency that technology can provide,” notes Ms. Drennen. “Through it, the community’s bank can connect directly to the management software, like TOPS [ONE]. The interface automatically pulls assessment payments made to the bank’s lockbox into the app so there is no need to have extra accounting staff manually inputting checks. And on the payables side, when a check clears the bank, it’s automatically reconciled in the software.” This approach also help protect from fraud. TOPS is one of many great solutions that can help communities with their finances.
“Green tech” is another instance where technology improves Condo Associations. For example, you might install electric vehicle charging stations or solar panels. “There are also technologies that can actually make the community money, like solar panels on roofs, allowing the community to sell the excess energy they generate back to the power company,” says Ms. Drennen. Companies like Tesla (via acquisition of SolarCity), Sunrun, and others allow for installation of solar panels without large capital expenditures.
Internet of Things
The Internet of Things is the name for the interconnectivity of numerous devices and sensors in our home. It might be a doorbell camera that lets you know when you have a package, or fridge that lets you know when you’re out of milk. Many people have a Google Home or an Amazon Alexa. Condo-customized versions of these devices are another example of ways technology improves Condo Associations.
“There are some very exciting technologies that are on the horizon that incorporate the Internet of Things – for example, Internet-connected electronic locks that the homeowner can use to allow entry to authorized workers, but only on the date and time-frame they specify,” says Ms. Drennen. Perhaps we’ll see Amazon Alexa “Condo edition” coming sooner than we think. Such technology will undoubtedly improve convenience for Condo Associations who are forward-leaning and embrace technology.
Ensure Your Community is Up to Date
Your community does not have to become Matrix-esque to still reap significant benefits of technology. “The simple fact is that your residents encounter technology on a daily basis,” says Ms. Drennen. “The phones we carry in our pockets are better computers than the desktops of just a decade ago. We are more connected than ever, and any community that fails to acknowledge (or take advantage of) that will continue to fall behind. People will still buy homes without asking about the technology the community uses. However, their expectations will be higher once they become community members.”
While you may not have an app or a virtual reality experience, your community does need to think about where technology can improve the experience. This might be establishing a social media presence, digital collaboration tools, or utilizing TOPS. Every community is different, but it is clear that technology has become mandatory if you want to lead a better Condo life.