What a Community Association Manager needs to know about technology.
Scott D. Haugland, Partner
Broadband Technology Advisors
Technology services-internet or broadband, cable TV, phone and Wi-Fi directly impact all communities and their residents. Outdated, poor or inadequate services lead to unhappy residents and can negatively impact future real estate values. Community Association Managers (CAMs) need to stay current regarding technology advances, trends and changes within all technology based services delivered to or desired by the community. The basics include:
- Technology Advances-What’s new? What’s coming?
- Service Delivery Options-Fiber? Coax? Wireless?
- Industry Trends-Broadband Speeds? WAPs? 5G?
- Services to Consider-Video Steaming, Smart Home Systems, Video Surveillance/Security
- Service Provider Options-Who’s new? Who’s best? Who’s competitive?
- Professional Representation-Do you need it? Who does it?
Technology advances at dizzying speed. CAM’s need to stay current to protect their residents and their properties. No one wants to manage the community with the slowest or most unreliable internet service or be the only property in the area without updated fiber connections. As services advance, infrastructure requirements change and every community needs to be prepared to future technologies now or at the time of the next service provider contract renewal period.
All too often CAMs are unaware of the available service provider options or pending future technologies. They are then unprepared to guide their association directors in making long-term commitments. Common missteps include failing to upgrade network infrastructure to fiber, extending or renewing agreements without a competitive bid process or failing to recognize what the community will want in the years to come. ‘Future Proofing’ communities is essential.
As technology evolves so do the services providers. Advanced new technologies require new service delivery method upgrades such as fiber to the unit or wireless access points. Most service providers are happy to leave everything as it while continuing to collect their monthly fees. CAMs owe it their communities to be aware of technology trends and the various options available or becoming available to the community in the future. Only then can they pressure the service providers for upgrades, help negotiate favorable terms and keep the residents happy in the years to come.
Reading articles, joining topical webinars, communicating with other local area CAMs or attending a CAMICB continuing education course are all good places to start. Up to date information is essential for effectively negotiating with service providers at time of renewal and the renewal process takes time so start at least 18 months out if possible.
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