IoT applications are making it easier to buy and sell real estate, and manage rental properties Image Credit: Shutterstock

Technology is constantly evolving and making our lives easier. Said Haider, regional director of Middle East sales for real estate technology provider Yardi, believes that new technologies such as artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things (IoT) are also changing the real estate landscape. Business models are changing, mainly because of digitisation and advancing capabilities of applications, Haider said. Yardi is investing heavily in real estate technology, also known as proptech, developing innovative solutions to have a major influence on the industry.

Yardi designs, develops and supports software solutions for real estate owners and managers. Its products are available for nearly every real estate vertical, including commercial, residential, investment management, homeowners associations, student housing, construction and more. Another area where technology is making a big impact is sustainability. Yardi has developed a platform called Yardi Pulse, a suite of energy solutions that handle utility billing and submetering, energy management and energy usage automation. Pulse helps Yardi clients achieve environmental goals and reduce energy costs.

Haider explains Yardi’s support for the real estate sector in an interview with Property Weekly.

How do Yardi’s solutions support the property sector?

Yardi Systems was founded in 1984 as a software start-up focused on property management and has grown to become one of the largest companies in the sector. Yardi’s innovative solutions benefit everyone in the chain, from corporations and developers to investors and clients. It offers a single connected solution that meets a broad range of business needs. We help real estate companies streamline their business processes and improve quality of service, which translates to improved performance.

For example, the Yardi Voyager is an end-to-end platform combining financial and property management information in a single, centralised database — with mobile leasing, resident services, reporting dashboards and facilities management accessible from smartphones and tablets.

We will soon introduce AI and machine learning with Yardi Elevate, a suite of asset management solutions that dives deep into operational data and goes beyond presentation with predictive insights and prescriptive recommendations. This cutting-edge solution is designed to elevate portfolio performance by lowering costs, balancing risk and increasing revenue.

The trend for workplace flexibility also provides an incentive for rental platforms and Space as a Service. The increase in smaller companies (self-employed persons) is resulting in increased demand for flexible and on-demand workplaces. Many corporates are trying to cut on overheads, opting for shared workspaces.

As part of this we have developed a software product called Yardi Kube that centres can use to manage members’ space allocations. Yardi Kube folds in a technology management system for shared workspaces, providing IP addresses, Wi-Fi and telephones that are crucial for this sector.

Yardi’s coworking module will be released in 2020 across the Middle East. The platform will provide the most comprehensive coworking software on the market as it combines financial, workspace and technology management all in a centralised database.

IoT is a technology where systems such as plumbing, electrical outlets, thermostats and lighting are connected and perform smart functions via the internet. From convenient property showing and increased energy efficiency to predictive maintenance, IoT applications are making it easier for people to buy, sell and own rental properties. Smart homes with IoT capabilities usually have a higher market value than those that don’t.

Yardi has launched an integration between its RENTCafé platform and Amazon Alexa to support digital assistance in rental units. The new RENTCafé resident services make it easy for renters to check account balances, pay rent, submit maintenance requests using only their voice and a smartphone. Yardi RENTCafé is a property marketing, leasing and resident services platform used in over six million residential units.

Are Yardi solutions mobile ready?

As real estate increases reliance on mobile accessibility, you must keep up or forfeit your competitive edge. Owners, vendors and residents are all seeking conveniences and efficiencies of mobile capabilities. We offer mobile solutions that easily complete procurement, maintenance and inspection tasks, handle prospect and tenant services, access CRM data, or approve invoices and purchase orders and more — all from a mobile device.

The RENTCafé Resident app provides easy mobile access to the RENTCafé Resident Portal. It allows residents to manage their profiles, view ledgers and pay rent from an iOS or Android mobile device. Residents can also use the app to initiate and track maintenance requests that include a description, voice memo and photos. The app is available in the iTunes App Store and Google Play Store.

Yardi Maintenance Mobile allows maintenance techs to access their assigned work orders from the field. They can add labour and inventory to work orders and record time, notes and progress in real time. They also can create new work orders. Yardi Maintenance Mobile currently supports iPhones and iPads, Android phones and tablets and BlackBerry smartphones. In addition, mobile-enabled maintenance web pages can be accessed from any web-enabled mobile device.

Our clients can now complete inspection workflows on a mobile device, even when active internet access is not available, so nothing is missed. Inspectors can make notes, record start and end times, attach photographs in the field and then sync with Voyager. Yardi Inspection supports all inspection types, including move-in, move-out, annual inspections, due diligence, safety checks, regulatory and homeowners association violations.

What are your regional plans?

We have 100-plus clients in multiple verticals in the Middle East and are expanding massively in the region. As part of our expansion plan, we are opening a new office in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in the next two years. We are also localising our sales and implementation team there. Our long-term plan is to have a new data centre in Saudi Arabia and work closely with existing clients to ensure maximum customer satisfaction.