This Mac-equipped study room at U Center at Fry Street in Denton, Texas gives students access to new software. Image courtesy Doug Handel Photography via Humphreys & Partners
The shift in student housing amenities towards adding advanced technology through communities proved to be the most popular tech story of 2014.

This industry might be known for dragging its feet on adopting new practices, but 2014 turned out to be a big year for technological advances in multifamily. From rising digital amenities to a new benchmarking platform, we rounded up our 10 most popular technology stories to make sure you don’t miss a beat.

1. Head of the Class: 5 Key Student Housing Amenities – There’s been a shift in student housing amenities away from overdone common areas and toward digitizing every room. And soon, these advances will affect the entire multifamily industry as more students graduate into the rental pool.

2. Crowdfunding: The Future of Multifamily Investing? – Crowdfunding took the multifamily industry by storm, but not without some misconceptions. Here, we look at six myths of the popular funding mechanism to separate the facts from the hype.

3. Digital Rent: Online Payment Systems Evolve – Though many properties still largely deal in checks, cash, and money-orders, online payment systems for accepting rent are ever-evolving, with players like Zipmark and PayNearMe trying to make getting paid less of a hassle.

4. “Wonka-esque” Cableless Elevator Unveiled – ThyssenKrupp reinvented the 106-year old elevator design by ditching cables for magnetic linear motors, allowing an elevator system to move upways, and downways, and sideways, and backways. While the prototype is still in development, it’s expected to increase efficiency and usable square footage.

5. Rehab Reboot: Using Tech to Communicate In-Place Rehabs – Extensive rehabs can inconvenience and annoy your current residents, and usually result in low retention, but not for RMK Management. They leveraged technology before, during, and after the rehab to make sure their staff and contractors were on the same page and residents were constantly updated.

6. Making Sense of Business Intelligence – Business intelligence (BI) and big data became buzzwords in multifamily this year, but the novelty of these terms caused lots of confusion. Donald Davidoff, founder of D2 Demand Solutions and one of the original architects of revenue management software, breaks it down for us, sharing the four stages of BI maturation.

7. Business Intelligence 101: 7 Steps for Making Better Tech Decisions – It’s not enough to simply know what business intelligence is. You have to know how to use it. Here, the NMHC’s Rick Haughey walks us through several ways to better utilize data, and leverage the human intelligence of years of experience, to improve the decision-making process.

8. Package Locker Industry Lifts Off – These start-ups have entered the multifamily space to solve a growing problem: a leasing office full of packages. A few minutes to deliver a package a decade ago has turned into nearly two hours today because of the volume of packages from the growth in e-commerce. Package locker companies aim to take multifamily out of the package delivery business altogether.

9. Will the Internet of Everything Reshape Multifamily? – This year, the Internet of Everything (IoE) was called the next big thing in technology, possibly five to 10 times bigger than the whole Internet revolution. The goal: connect to everything so people can remotely perform any number of tasks. Four industry leaders weighed in on where IoE will take multifamily, or whether it's just hype.

10. Multifamily Data Exchange Offers Solutions to Performance Benchmarking – Last month, the Multifamily Data Exchange (MDX) announced its new performance benchmarking platform, hoping to revolutionize multifamily benchmarking. To grow its new database of information, the company is starting with a ‘freemium’ model so that anyone can access the data as long they contribute to it first.