Hardwire Internet has important edge over Wi-Fi for Apartments

The world is linked by wireless Internet, but even Wi-Fi can experience some connection tangles from time to time.

While, Wi-Fi is a more popular, widely used method of Internet connection these days, don’t be so quick to bail on the good ol’ Ethernet cord – at least for the backend of your apartment community. Wi-Fi is more convenient and tops the resident demand list, but a trusty hardwire connection is immensely more secure and challenging to hack.

Convenience is a great sell, and your property probably won’t meet its occupancy goals without wireless access for daily use in your resident’s apartment homes. You have to have it. Although, when it comes to operations, nothing beats top-notch security, especially digital security, which some residents don’t realize they actually need.

The Package Concierge Premier system is eye catching at Blair Tower.As more apartment communities begin to rely on Internet connection for day-to-day operational functions, like rent payment portal sites and electronic package locker systems, property managers should consider some of the pitfalls of a wireless connection before rolling up the Ethernet cables for good:

Wi-Fi signals commonly drop with interference

Wireless doesn’t have as stable an Internet connection as a hardwire because it only works within a certain range, and is more susceptible to interference and objects blocking the signal. Any wireless user can vouch a Wi-Fi signal can get pretty feisty.

In an apartment community, if the wireless were to go out, it could disable an entire system that operates via Internet. If Wi-Fi loses a signal during a streamed video or game, it’s an annoyance. If the signal goes out at an apartment community running package lockers or a security gate system, it potentially puts residents’ safety and possessions at risk.

Wireless offers easier setup, less return on investment

A downfall of hardwired Internet is the setup and connection takes a bit more time and work to configure than Wi-Fi. However, hardwire is a vastly more consistent, and even faster, connection once it’s up and running. Property managers will get back what they put into setting up a more secure connection system for residents.

The return on investment from a hardwire connection is worth the initial time. Residents are more likely to use something that works efficiently, without many issues. Wi-Fi is quicker and easier, but will likely have more problems down the road, draining management’s time and energy and taking associates away from other important community tasks.

Not as much data protection

Since hardwired Internet is more difficult to hack, it is also better equipped to guard data than a password-protected, private Wi-Fi connection. When overseeing many different residents in an apartment community, data protection is crucial not only for the management’s sensitive and private information, but also for the protection of residents’ personal information and privacy.

Wireless encryption standards are always being changed because the connection is just not safe. With a hardwire everything is contained.

Of course, we are not suggesting to move to hardwire.

Smartphones have drastically changed the way we must think about cyber security and wi-fi capabilities.

Cell phones use wireless connection, so different resident and community apps are exclusively Wi-Fi driven. However, keep in mind, some community amenities that utilize Internet can benefit from connection via hardwire, like [Package Concierge’s] electronic package locker systems.

Wi-Fi is definitely convenient and a must-have amenity that residents demand in their homes. However, for an apartment community on an operational level, it’s not necessarily offering residents the security and reliability they need, which hardwire provides.

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Avoid a Package Tower! A Recap of Fun Shared During the NAA Learning Zone

The multifamily industry is constantly spawning fresh innovations year after year. What’s a better way to learn about some of the cool, pain-reducing apartment technology than with a little friendly competition?

At this year’s NAA Conference and Expo in Atlanta, we explored package management advancements in our Learning Zone. Participants played “Avoid the Tower of Boxes,” a hands-on experience of the common package management pain-point plaguing our industry today. We hoped to deliver that “ah-ha” moment about why things don’t have to be that way anymore.

Allison Blair discusses the importance of having a package management system in place.With the rise of online shopping, packages are towering up daily in leasing offices, and it’s only going to get worse. Leasing professionals face a daily average of 30 resident packages delivered on-site requiring significant time management. Onsite team members must stop what they’re doing to process packages, which can take at least 5 minutes per package. Add to that the struggle of finding a place to store all those packages and you’re bound to fall victim to a tumbling tower.

And so, the tower begins

Our Learning Zone attendees were challenged in a cordial tower-building battle to simulate manual package processing vs. managing packages with a package locker system. It was truly an eye-opening experience.

Teams were each given 20 boxes separated into five daily operational activities, such as maintenance requests, tours and calls. Each box had entertaining icebreaker questions written on them. Participants discussed things like “where was your favorite vacation?” and “what is one thing on your bucket list?”

Once everyone in the group answered each question, that team could start building their tower. The faster they talked, the faster they could start building. Needless to say, things got a little loud (isn’t funny how when people talk faster they tend to get louder?).

But there was a catch. One of the teams had three boxes that read: “Stop. You get five packages.” These three boxes represented the interruption caused when a package is delivered to the office. Obviously, this team took much longer to build the tower, and inevitably finished last. This exhibits how much of a drain manually processing packages truly is on overall time management.

Then the “ah-ha” moment…

While our little competition was friendly, it did showcase how innovative package management solutions can profoundly impact daily operations. Without interruption, leasing teams can focus more on customer service for both prospects and residents.

This is what package lockers and package rooms deliver – continuance. For both your operations but more importantly, your residents. With a package management solution in place, they have access to their packages 24/7. They no longer have to wait for the leasing office to open or for a staff member to retrieve their package. They can come home, retrieve their own package and get back to their life, uninterrupted.

The Package Concierge Premier and Express System compliment one another at NAA 2017.We hope our competitors enjoyed the game and got a sense of what it’s like for leasing team members at communities with – and without – a package management solution.

Visit us at www.packageconcierge.com for more details.

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Top 10 Hidden Holidays You Need To Prepare For

We all know about how the winter holidays always lead to a profound uptick in the number of packages your residents are receiving. But as ecommerce continues to rise exponentially, there are so many other times throughout the year when package delivery may surge at your properties. Check out our list of “Top 10 Hidden Holidays” you need to be prepared for:

You can find anything you need on the world wide web for the hidden holidays.

  1. Super Bowl Sunday. Once your team is out, you frantically buy gear for your de facto team of choice (let’s just say my son now owns a Falcons sweatshirt). Besides, how else are you going to get all football themes napkins, bowls, plates, etc. the Super Bowl Party?!
  1. 100th Day of School. Yes, this is a thing and not something we made up. It’s mostly celebrated by younger students sometime in February, as schools have fun with the number 100. Many Pinterest-loving mothers are known to order craft items at this time, which can lead to a sneaky increase of packages in some circles.
  1. Valentine’s Day. That oversized Vermont Teddy Bear isn’t going to drive itself to your significant other’s home. And neither is that sparkling necklace or whatever else you’ve ordered to make sure you’re not the goat on the international day of love.
  1. Memorial Day. Everyone wants to get away for Memorial Day. But it’s even better to leave town with that new tent, new fishing supplies, new tarps and other camping accessories. Late May always leads to a package boom.
  1. Independence Day. Yes, it’s illegal to ship fireworks by mail, so we’re not even going to go that route. But it’s also the heart of barbecue season and summer house parties, which leads to an uptick in online ordering of wide-ranging supplies.
  1. Amazon Prime Day. The monster online retailer held its first holiday exclusively for its own “Prime” members in July 2015, predictably resulting in an online ordering frenzy. 2016’s Prime Day, which Amazon touted as “one-day-only global shopping event,” was even bigger. The retail giant has vowed to bring back Prime Day this year although an official date has not been announced. So what can we expect from this year’s Prime Day?! If it’s anything like last year when we saw more than a 30% increase in packages two days after Amazon Prime Day, it will be one of the biggest package delivery days EVER!
  1. Back to School. Mid- to late-August means back-to-school time. This can create a sizable package rush, particularly for student housing communities. College students are continuing to seek alternative methods to purchase textbooks, such as sites like Chegg and eCampus, rather than buying them for full price on campus.
  1. Labor Day. While Memorial Day unofficially signifies the beginning of summer, Labor Day serves as its end-of-summer counterpart. That means one last chance to escape the grind. It also means heavy discounts on outdoor merchandise as retailers look to make a push before camping season ends.
  1. Pre-Halloween. While it’s a given that packages will arrive in droves during the Christmas season, this holiday can creep up on you. Some even call it a pseudo-holiday because no one ever gets the day off for Halloween, but expect a full package room as people continually opt to purchase their costumes online.
  1. Home Events. As families convene, host homes don’t want to disappoint. While orders of kitchen and culinary supplies increase, families also commonly spruce up their homes to make a favorable impression on their visitors.

Visit our website here to help you manage these holidays to come.

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Flawlessly Deliver the Gift of Love

Has this ever happened to you?

You spent hours researching and planning the perfect gift for your special someone. You went so far to make your purchase with a prepaid gift card online so they wouldn’t see what your ordered on the bank account. You had it all planned – nothing could ruin it. Or so you thought.

Valentine's Day packages

The package arrived but you weren’t home when it arrived so your special someone picked it up. They mindlessly open it and that perfect gift you spent so much time trying to surprise them with is staring them directly in the face.

All of that planning ruined with a misstep in the package delivery process. It is probably safe to say a lot people can relate to some part of this shipping mishap, and that’s unfortunate.

What is fortunate though, there is a solution for apartment dwellers: a package locker system.

Package Concierge® offers a robust and innovative interface for our locker installations providing every resident a unique, individual access code. That’s right, each person, not a code for the apartment home, ensuring there is no longer a potential the wrong person will pick up the package.

This practice in individuality will certainly come in handy this Valentine’s season when residents are really hoping to surprise their special someone with something they will love. In the last 3 years, we have seen a significant increase in the number of packages delivered the week before and the week of Valentine’s Day – some communities are receiving 50 percent more packages in these two weeks and seeing their package volume return to normal the week after.

How heartbreaking would it be if any of these packages were discovered before they were given? Show your residents some love and contact Package Concierge® today to set up an installation!

Still looking for that perfect gift? Check out these 5 online sites still offering 2-day shipping:

  1. Amazon.com – This is a no brainer if you are an Amazon Prime member. With access to hundred of thousands of gifts, you are sure to find exactly what you are looking for. And if you aren’t a Prime member, you can sign up for a 30-day trial to make sure your package arrives in time.
  2. Walmart.com – Now this may not evoke the spirit of Valentine’s Day but the major retailer has recently announced free 2-day shipping for any purchase more than $35. If your loved one is looking for something like a FitBit Charge, new camping gear or even the uber popular InstaPot, this might be a new go-to shopping site for you.
  3. Sharperimage.com – For those who enjoy a tech-savvy treat, Sharper Image has unique high-end gifts such as a light and massage therapy hair brush or heated indoor-outdoor slippers. Use promo code VDAY99 to get free 2-day shipping for orders over $99 till February 10th!
  4. MichaelKors.com – Speaking of high-end, this top designer ensures that amazing purse, luxurious wallet or killer pair of sunglasses will arrive on time if ordered by February 9th. Just be sure to use the code VDay for free 2-day shipping.
  5. Apple.com – For the tech lover in your life, order any Apple product by 5pm today to receive free 2-day shipping. Apple Watch for all!
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3 Things Millennials Want In An Apartment

Millennials

Getting Millennials To Settle In Your Community

If there’s one generation breaking the mold, it’s Millennials. Born between the years of 1980 thru 2000, they constantly attract the attention of the media through their job-hopping habits, their diversity and their high levels of education. Being the most studied generation in history, Millennials have a different outlook on life than previous generations and are gearing up to change the spending habits of our current economy. This all might sound a bit intimidating at first but it’s great news for the multifamily industry. Millennials are drawn to renting for a variety of reasons and they cherish the ability to pick up and move whenever they like. Because of this, renting has never been more attractive. So how can apartment developers capitalize on these tech-savvy nomads? Here are the top three things Millennials look for in their future communities.

  • Technology – This should be obvious but not all communities understand it. It’s not about Internet access and gaming areas; it’s also about the little things. Great examples making all the difference are USB chargers built into wall outlets, keyless electronic access throughout the property and even a simple digital rent payment system. These all display your community’s commitment to keeping up with the times. Hey, it doesn’t hurt to have tech-savvy amenities, such as a Package Concierge. They order a lot of packages and they want to receive them on their schedule!
  • Attractive Apartment Layouts – For Millennials, less is more. They’re willing to downsize the bedroom for a larger living room where social interaction takes place. Michael R. Ytterberg, principal at BLT Architects, believes in this characteristic as he states: “Within the apartment itself, one of the most important features that Generation Y renters look for is an open floor concept with a large living space. As a result, smaller bedroom spaces aren’t a drawback if the living space can support their naturally social lifestyles.” This makes sense given Millennials thrive socially.
  • 21st Century Health and Wellness Centers – A barren room stocked with treadmills and rusty weight systems won’t cut it anymore. In its place, fitness centers in multifamily communities have been placing a heavy emphasis on yoga studios, pilates and “fitness on demand” digital classes broadcast through large TV’s. Millennials care deeply about wellness and are inarguably one of the healthiest generations ever.

These three characteristics will help your community be lively and vibrant. While Millennials enjoy having the ability to come and go as they please, statistics show that if they’re happy, they’re willing to rent longer, which is great news for the apartment industry. Ytterberg reiterates this point when he says “Many Millennials today are willing to spend more on their monthly rent to live in a prime location that offers them convenience, comfort and choice.” If apartment communities can provide what they’re looking for, it may turn a generation of wanderers into a bunch of homebodies. And what’s better than happy residents who want to stay a while!

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Client Spotlight: Central Park at Whisman Station

Whisman_SceneicOur latest client spotlight is host to some of the most scenic views of any property we’ve featured. Central Park at Whisman Station is located in Mountain View, California. The vistas of the Santa Cruz Mountains compliment this luxurious multifamily property and create a beautiful landscape of the surrounding area

Managed by Alliance Residential, Whisman Station is just one example of their dedication to multifamily living done right. They also are advocates for luxurious living with a reduced carbon footprint. Alliance’s “Focus Green” program seeks to reduce the consumption of energy and natural resources at each community, as well as educate and encourage residents to participate in eco-friendly lifestyles. As they celebrate their management leadership this week, Alliance Residential truly has the best interests of their residents in mind.

Whisman_Lobby

After taking in all of the glorious scenery, you can explore even more of Mountain View on the bike path, or one of the numerous jogging/walking trails of the Whisman Station community. Other amenities include a fitness center, a relaxation spa, and a resort inspired swimming pool. And for members of the “green” team, there are new energy efficient appliance packages and electric vehicle charging stations.

Whisman_PoolIn an area where technology companies thrive and innovation is around every corner, Central Park at Whisman Station also provides its residents with a technologically advanced Package Concierge. The system is cozily tucked away in a convenient alcove, but don’t be fooled by its discreet location; this system has received more than 2,000 packages since it’s installation this past November!

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Package Concierge provides secure storage for items intended for Whisman Station’s residents. Brittany, a Sales Associate at the property, mentioned how the system has improved the lives of the residents. “The Package Concierge system works well, everyone likes it.” Brittany also said, “The notification that Package Concierge sends to residents when packages have been received are very convenient.” When we asked Brittany how often the Package Concierge system was utilized, her response was, “It is used quite often; we’re actually considering ordering another one!”

Not too long ago, Mountain View was just a stagecoach stop in the newly settled west. Now, it’s the home of “tech giants” like Google, Mozilla and Symantec. And for those that call Central Park at Whisman Station home, Package Concierge is the package management “giant” that they can depend on for convenience and security.

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Client Spotlight: Alexan on Krog

Krog1As we continue to showcase the multifamily properties of our clients, this spotlight blog is all about a “peachy” location; the Alexan on Krog, a Greystar property located in Atlanta, Georgia introduces itself by inviting you to, “Live Where the Beltway Meets Badass Restaurants and More-Than-Mainstream Merchants at the Market.”

Krog 4Brimming with a vast assortment of food choices, shops, vendors and artistic creations, the community around Alexan on Krog satisfies the most diverse palate. The property amenities include a clubroom with 12 HDTVs accompanied by multiple gaming stations, community bike share, and a 24-hour fitness studio. Don’t feel like going out to the movies? No problem! Residents at the Alexan can simply go up to the rooftop cinema and enjoy a film as they say goodnight to the closing Atlanta skyline; a major differentiator in the market. With so much to see and do, Package Concierge is on call 24/7 to provide peace of mind to those concerned about residential deliveries.

Krog 3Upon speaking with Ashley, the leasing specialist at Alexan on Krog, her first comments about Package Concierge were: “We’ve only received positive feedback from our residents about the Package Concierge system. It keeps things organized and is very convenient. Our residents, who are Amazon Prime customers, think it’s great!”

Krog 2Alexan on Krog gets its fair share of packages, making the Package Concierge system an essential amenity. Ashley said, “I observe constant use of the Package Concierge up until the time we close.” Ashley also made note of how fast and easy the system was to use, which helps everyone get back to working and playing hard in the many boroughs of Atlanta.

Krog 5Living in one of the busiest cities in America doesn’t have to be a stressful situation. Alexan on Krog is an oasis close to the beltline but far from the discomforts of big city living. Ashley says, “It’s wonderful to see this area grow and very exciting to be a part of the process.” We feel the same way and are proud to contribute with our Package Concierge system.

Alexan on Krog Information:

LEASING CENTER: 44 Krog Street; Atlanta, GA 30307

EMAIL: leasing@alexanonkrog.com

CALL: 404.331.0620

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Client Spotlight: Midtown Green Apartments

Midtown002

This year, Package Concierge will showcase a few of our clients and how we’ve been able to work together in solving their package management needs. For our first client spotlight blog, we’re highlighting the luxurious Midtown Green Apartments, a beautiful apartment community embracing a perfect blend of Southern charm and modern sophistication.

Located in the capital city of Raleigh, North Carolina, Midtown Green, a Greystar property, is the perfect location if you’re looking to be in the epicenter of activity. Conveniently located near multiple shopping centers, amphitheaters, and the downtown area itself, it’s hard to remain bored when living at Midtown. Even if you’re not in the mood to explore the sites and sounds of the city, Midtown Green has amenities that most would dream of such as convenient onsite retail including dining and a yoga studio featuring a 70” TV with Fitness on Demand digital classes. Among these amenities is (that’s right, you guessed it!) a brand new Package Concierge system, available to all residents so their packages are safe while they’re working or playing.

Midtown017

We reached out to Midtown Green to see what the property management and residents thought of the system. Leasing professional, Taya Burns, was more than happy to give us a few insights as she states: “The Package Concierge has been a great help. It allows the residents to get packages without having to rush to make it within our office hours and really helps alleviate the amount of packages in our office.” When asked about feedback from residents and property management alike, she says “We have gotten a lot of positive feedback from residents.  It has definitely made our lives easier with less packages in the office. Overall, they think the Package Concierge system is great and very innovative.”

Midtown030

The relationship Package Concierge and Midtown Green has is just one example of two organizations thinking ahead. We both have the lives of the resident in mind as we both strive to create bespoke experiences unique and exciting. We look forward to our continued relationship, and we’re positive that through our dedicated efforts, we’ll both continue to raise the bar in multifamily. Are you moving to Raleigh or looking for a new community to call home? Make sure you take the time to check out Midtown Green on your next apartment hunt!

Midtown Green Apartments Information:

LEASING CENTER:   201 Park at North Hills Street, Suite 108, Raleigh, North Carolina 27609   

CALL: 855-740-3322

HOURS:   Mon/Wed/Fri: 9am-6pm   

                   Tues/Thurs: 10am-7pm   

                   Sat: 10am-5pm   

                   Sun: 1pm-5pm  

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Tips for First Time Renters

leaseAre you looking to rent an apartment for the first time and feeling overwhelmed? Here’s a great list of tips we’ve compiled to help you through the process:

1.       Do Your Homework

Before calling a landlord or going to a showing, be sure you have researched the location and its amenities as well as the surrounding area. Conduct your investigation thoroughly. If you require transportation, a parking space or a pet friendly location, inquire about these specifics before moving forward.

2.       Talk to the neighbors

If possible, before you speak with the landlord, ask around the premise to see how other tenants feel about the apartment complex. The best resource you’ll find in apartment searching is current residents: they’ll have all the ups and downs you need to know.

3.       Act Confident

Once you do make contact with the landlord or the community, speak with confidence. Write yourself a list of notes as a reference and stand up for yourself, but don’t be pushy either. This also applies for when you go see the apartment.

4.       Ask questions

You are your greatest advocate, so ask questions if you have them. Often first time renters are too shy to question management or potential neighbors, but if you don’t ask, no one else will.

5.       Don’t go over budget

Even though you may love the park side apartment with three bedrooms, if its out of your price range, you must resist. Whatever you do, don’t go over budget. Your stress and anxiety will increase if you have to scrape for every dollar just to live on your own.

6.       Actually read the lease

Once you’ve chosen an ideal location and you are handed the leasing contract, actually read it. Don’t skim it. Don’t show it to your dog. Read the contract and be sure you understand everything contained within it.

7.       Take Inventory

When the time comes that you move in, the first thing you should do is document every scratch, loose floor board and dented appliance on paper and in pictures so whenever you move out, you aren’t held accountable for previous damages.

Photo credit to movinginsider.com

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How to Organize Your Apartment

When you first moved in, did your apartment look bigger without all your stuff? Now that you’ve filled it with furniture and nick-nacks, do you wish you had more space? Of course you do. The average apartment is only 500 square feet and you have collected a lot of things over your lifetime. There’s no need to worry over the possibility of throwing something out.  With a few

organizer2

Image from marthastewart.com

organizational tips and tricks, you can have a place for everything and everything in its place.

Under the bed- Purchase flat bins to store linens, extra pillows or even out of season clothing that can be easily pushed out of sight and underneath your bed.

Counter space- Clear your counters by keeping silverware in handy drawer organizers. Clean up your sink with a sink caddy and store cooking staples (flour, sugar, salt) in mason jars.

Closet space- Nowadays, a quick fix to a small closet is a great organizer and luckily they are readily available at most home improvement stores. For floor organization, use baskets or stackable bins.

Bathroom- Fixtures to clear up your bathroom are as easy as hangers for towels, an over the toilet baker’s rack or a water proof shower caddy.

organizer

Image from brit.co

Over the door racks- Use over the door shoe racks in all your rooms! For the kitchen, use it for spare utensils or spices; in the bathroom it could collect hygiene products and in the living room it makes a great DVD rack.

Stacking / Shelving- Where ever possible, get stackable storage bins or blocks to maximize your space. And likewise, hang shelving over areas that are otherwise not using the space well enough.

Without a doubt, these tips will help keep you organized and help banish clutter from your apartment. Who knows, throughout your time in the apartment, you might find great ways to reuse shoe boxes or coffee cans. Be creative. It’s all about functionality and live-ability. Have fun with it!

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