Q: How has the apartment industry changed in the past 10 years?

A: This is a very exciting time to be a part of the apartment industry, and it is incredible to see just how far we have come in such a short time. Not that long ago, it was unheard of for real estate companies to talk about things like consumer branding or using technology to develop sophisticated operating platforms. Today, the leading apartment companies are doing more than just talking—they are making real progress to improve the business in these areas, and these efforts are having a profound impact on our industry. Real estate companies have become respected members of corporate America and, in fact, 11 real estate investment trusts are included in the S&P 500 Index—three of which are apartment companies, including Archstone-Smith.

Got a question you'd like to suggest? Want to share your ideas with your colleagues? Have you discovered a great new product? To participate in Product Studio Q&As or share multifamily product information, contact associate editor Rachel Z. Azoff at [email protected].

Charles Mueller is the chief financial officer for Archstone-Smith, an Englewood, Colo.–based REIT that owns and operates more than 350 multifamily apartment communities.

ALL CLEAR: For years, window film has been used in the commercial real estate industry to protect office and retail buildings, as well as hotels and industrial facilities. Now, the same technology is available for multifamily and residential use. Hardglass Clear Security window film, which is fully transparent, holds shattered glass in place after windows are broken either by weather events—such as hurricanes or tornadoes—fires, or break-ins. The film is applied to window interiors once the windows are already in place, making installation easy for owners and managers. The film costs about $10 to $15 per square foot. For more information, call 800-220-2525 or visit www.cbhwindowfilm.com.