CEO, Tribe Property Technologies TSXV: TRBE
Technology can transform our homes and our communities. But it takes smart people to turn smart homes into intelligent communities.
For decades we’ve been bombarded with visions and promises of how technology would change not just our lives, but our homes. From the robotic maids of the Jetsons to the breathless magazine spreads about home automation, we were all so sure our humble abodes would transform into science fiction palaces of convenience. But rarely were these fantasies blessed with insight into what actually makes a home a home. Today, with so many technological advancements at our fingertips, and with so many more people living in dense urban environments, it’s time to rethink the “smart” in smart home.
Certainly, our homes have become more high-tech. We have doorbells that will text us photos of the people on our front steps. We have voice-activated devices with cute names that will tell us the weather or play us a song. We have autonomous vacuums that will traumatize our cats. But are these the biggest problems to be solved in our modern urban homes?
“Within the four walls of a home, there are obviously some great smart technologies and Internet of Things gadgets that can make people’s lives easier” says Joseph Nakhla, CEO of Tribe Property Technologies. “But the potential of property technology is significantly larger than that. The biggest opportunity is in moving the connection of the resident outside of those four walls.”
Tribe Property Technologies bills itself as a holistic tech-first one-stop-shop for property and community management. With their comprehensive platform that touches every technological need of residents, developers, community councils, and property managers, they’re expanding the idea of the smart home out into the community-at-large, and that makes all the difference.
The biggest problems arise when the simplest of solutions are ignored.
The soul of the machine: smart urban villages
“We think of the condo communities we are delivering now as vertical villages, with hundreds of homes literally stacked on top of one another,” says Nakhla. “Technology is a tool for unlocking the noble concept of the village that’s currently dormant in a building, and we see that spirit manifesting on our platform all the time.”
Whether it’s a resident offering music lessons to children in the building, or a parent advertising their teenager’s babysitting services, or someone with mobility limitations getting help with their groceries, this interconnection enriches everyone. And, on the very practical side, it also makes so many of the traditionally difficult and tedious aspects of urban community living easy and painless. The platform, in other words, is making the very dumbest bits of home life a bit more intelligent, and people are noticing.
“This kind of tech used to be the last thing a developer would think about,” says Nakhla. “But today, home buyers and renters are expecting their homes to mimic the new conveniences they experience in the rest of their lives. People can get a car to their door at the click of a button. They can get any kind of food they want delivered in 30 minutes at any hour through their phone. Why on Earth would they accept that booking amenities in their own building or scheduling maintenance requests for their home or paying their fees requires them to send a fax, or to text or call four different people? Why do they need to attend a full meeting if a digital solution exists to conduct a council vote? If they’re renting, why do they have to fill out papers and send in a cheque rather than apply and pay their deposit online? People’s expectations are getting higher, and I think they have a right to do so. Real estate developers and property investors thankfully, are becoming aware of that. They’re asking the right questions, seeking out the tools, creating budgets, and applying our data science to building and maintaining communities and their assets.”
Not just smart homes, but wise ones
When smart technology is deployed thoughtfully, it makes home living easier and more enjoyable, it makes communities richer and more interconnected, and it makes properties more resilient and more secure. When every aspect of the home, the building, and the community is collected in a single trusted platform, not only does it work together seamlessly, it also provides protection and longevity. After all, Nakhla says, history and continuity of the building are key, “What if I can take comfort in knowing that everything about my home is in one place, and if I am unclear about anything, there are people I can reach out to literally at my fingertips.”
We have the solutions; we just need to choose them. With the technology we have available, there’s no reason we should accept the same complaints about our homes, the same complaints about our property management experiences, as we did 30 years ago. The “smart” in the promise of smart homes, however, was never about the technology being intelligent. It was about us using it intelligently.
If we do that, then the future is here. And we can live in it.
The Value of Technology in Condo + Residential Community Living
There are more than 2 million Canadians living in condos, and more than 4 million living in rental communities. These living environments often resemble mini-cities, particularly with newer masterplan developments that can consist of 500, 1000 or even more homes. As multi-family start-ups continue to grow in size and complexity, Tribe Property Technologies looks at the key areas in which technology is playing a role in building, maintaining and protecting community living.