From the Winter 2019 Issue
How Can Technology Bring Communities Together?
Technology to Manage Business and Life
It’s a challenge raised frequently by condo boards and property managers alike – what can we do to build a more cohesive community? With everyone from young professionals to retirees packing their days with activities, it’s often a challenge to get owners to engage at all with their neighbours, let alone engage with their condo’s governance processes.
Despite common challenges, it is possible. Not only possible but rather straightforward, to build a more connected community by using readily available technology. These tools not only make condominium managers’ lives easier but also help keep communities connected.
Here are four ways in which tech- nology can help build community and facilitate better communication.
There’s a lot to love about mobile apps, and the same is true for property management apps specifically. First, they allow communication directly with homeowners 24/7 from anywhere, using a smartphone. With the right app, condominium managers can send announcements to their communities and respond instantly to reports from anywhere in the world.
Other convenient features of property management apps include an ability to manage guard tour patrols. Managers get real-time incident alerts, schedule patrols and notify guards about patrol time changes. Many of the most challenging security issues can be taken care of right through a smartphone.
Unit owners can also benefit from mobile apps, especially when it comes to service requests and booking of amenities. They can use the app to reach management at any time and from anywhere. In fact, using these apps means that managers can spend less time doing administrative work and more time doing projects that add value.
Getting a large condominium community together for frequent meetings can be a challenge. Most people work full-time jobs and don’t have time to attend special meetings. Online property management tools help solve this problem with online discussion forums. This feature allows unit owners to voice their concerns and discuss pertinent issues on their own time and in a safe environment. Worried that things will get out of hand? Most boards prefer to leverage the software’s moderation
features to facilitate civil discussion. Unlike a private Facebook group, a discussion forum is a platform that management owns and controls. That means the manager has complete control over what happens and it’s easier to moderate the discussion.
All told, cloud-based discussion forums are the present and future of communal connectivity.
The File Library is a property management software feature that allows management to store all of the corporation’s files in a large cloud interface. Managers can even set permission levels on some of the files so they’re only available to select groups of users.
It doesn’t matter if management needs to share a PDF, Word, Excel, or photo, the file library will organize everything into appropriate categories that are easy to search.
Also important to mention is the ability to notify users once a file is uploaded. Managers can even use it to track viewing and engagement on each file to measure how effective communication efforts have been.
Finally, the File Library’s quick search function is where users can search for specific files and eliminate the headaches of digging through various folders just to find a single file.
Successful condominium boards often use committees to accomplish different tasks, from budgeting to landscaping to organizing community events. Technology can come in handy when it comes to promoting the smooth function and productivity of these committees.
Good quality property management software can be used to facilitate communication between committee members, the board and the community at large. Committees can use surveys to obtain useful feedback on what’s working and what isn’t within the community, and private discussion forums to discuss the results. This makes it easier to make informed decisions that contribute to well-being and togetherness.
Committee members can also use this technology to solicit community involvement when planning events. Features like discussion forums and a shared event calendar are a convenient way to keep everyone in the loop, whether it is about upcoming meetings, maintenance or social events.
Software also makes it possible for each committee member to upload and organize files related to specific tasks. This facilitates better collaboration and increased productivity.
Contrary to popular belief, technology can bring people together when used effectively. It allows us to keep in touch with less effort, whether we are trying to connect with our neighbours or unit owners. Thanks to technology, people can share experiences, communicate faster and keep up with the world around us using just a mobile phone.
Property management software can be particularly helpful at creating connected communities. Condominium boards and managers use this software to communicate frequently with homeowners and facilitate better service delivery.
As a result, unit owners feel empowered because they’re always well-informed about what’s happening in their building or neighbourhood. Managers are able to solve problems without being physically present while making sure that each committee fulfils its duties. It’s a win-win for everyone and the result is an organized and interconnected community.
Brian Bosscher is the president and founder of Condo Control Central, a leading Toronto-based company that provides web-based communication, management and security cloud solutions for condominiums of all sizes. He is also a former board member, having served more than 12 years as both treasurer and president. He can be reached by phone at 647-557-8479, or by email at email@example.com.