Fresh off its October 2010 deployment of an iPhone app allowing residents to pay rent, make service requests, and review account history, Englewood, Colo.-based Archstone this week launched its myArchstone application for the Android mobile platform.
“Less than 24 hours after launching the app for iPhone, we had customers asking for a similar app on Android,” says Dan Amedro, Archstone’s chief information officer. “That speaks to the incredible value our customers place in the ability to complete important transactions from their mobile devices.”
For the time being, Archstone is likely to sit pat on the Droid and iPhone platforms. “According to our internal surveys, less than one in six of our residents use Blackberries, so we’re not hearing nearly the same clamor for that app that we were hearing for the Droid,” says Archstone group vice president of strategic systems Donald Davidoff, who adds that the company is likely to also stick with apps for existing renters as opposed to rental prospects. “We’re comfortable with our strategy [to focus on resident-facing apps]. We just want to focus on being the easiest company for our customers to do business with.”
Also launching a smart phone app this week is Santa Barbara, Calif.-based AppFolio. Available starting today from the iTunes app store, AppFolio's iPhone app taps into the firm's web-based property management software, giving property and asset managers real-time access to all resident, owner, property, unit, and vendor records.
“At property inspections, we used to carry a notepad, camera, laptop, broadband card, etc., but now all we need is an iPhone,” says San Francisco-based Jackson Group Property Management owner Ray Scarabosio of the AppFolio smart phone application. “This mobility is a huge benefit to our business.”
Additional mobile and tablet applications could be on the way from AppFolio, which is already taking a mobile-first strategy when it comes to multifamily systems and software R&D. “Everything we design now, we need to think how it will look on an iPhone and how it will look on an iPad,” says AppFolio CEO Brian Donahoo. “The user expectation of all technology now is simplicity, ease of use, and seamless interaction. Technology that doesn't deliver that in an immediate fashion is often deemed a failure.”
Archstone and AppFolio are the latest in a string of smart phone apps that have hit the multifamily marketplace. Releases in the past eight months include: an iPhone/iPod Touch app by Chicago-based Apartments.com; ILS smart phone apps from ForRent.com and MyNewPlace.com; and resident- and prospect-facing apps (including augmented reality apartment search apps) by Highlands Ranch, Colo.-based UDR.
Meanwhile, Santa Barbara, Calif.-based Yardi intends to make all of its software offerings available via smart phone in the first half of 2011, while Carrollton, Texas-based RealPage unveiled new and improved smart phone and iPad applications for its OpsTechnology and PropertyWare platforms last fall.