Note: Updated as of 10/22/2021, agenda is subject to change.
Download a PDF of the Preliminary Agenda
1:00 PM - 7:00 PM
2:00 PM - 3:00 PM
3:00 PM - 7:00 PM
OPTECH Expo Hall Open
3:15 PM - 4:45 PM
Real Estate Technology Alliance Annual Meeting (RETA) @ Marketplace Stage
Join the Real Estate Technology Alliance (RETA) Annual Meeting and get an update on the important progress they’ve made over the last year addressing challenges with new and emerging technology. And hear from industry leaders on the challenges they face and how RETA has helped lighten their load through the creation of new industry resources. This meeting is open to everyone, so attend and consider joining RETA to help create an industry tech ecosystem that supports innovation.
3:00 PM - 5:00 PM
NMHC OPTECH Exchange Open (New!)
Check out the brand new OPTECH Exchange. It’s a lounge, it’s a place to hear from dynamic speakers on two stages, it’s a place to meet your friends and your business partners, it’s a place to charge your devices and recharge yourself. It’s the OPTECH Exchange, make time to check it out and say, “let’s meet at the Exchange”.
3:15 PM - 4:15 PM
OPTECH Express - Telecom
4:00 PM - 4:30 PM
OPTECH Meet-Up – Women in Tech & Marketing
5:00 PM - 7:00 PM
OPTECH Opening Celebration
5:05 PM - 6:45 PM
OPTECH Opening Pitches @ the Marketplace Stage
4-minute Presentations from new and exciting companies
8:30 AM - 6:00 PM
8:30 AM - 9:30 AM
8:30 AM - 5:00 PM
OPTECH CONNECT @ Riverview Ballroom (Facilitated Networking)
9:30 AM - 10:30 AM
Opening General Session
Welcoming Remarks from NMHC President Doug Bibby
Here Comes the Sun! Industry Leaders Look Forward to a Brighter Future
While the last year and half has been a challenge, the future for the multifamily industry actually looks quite bright. Hear from top industry leaders on their plans for 2022, the opportunities they see on the horizon, and what they’re doing now to capitalize on new and emerging trends in a much-changed landscape for the industry.
10:30 AM - 10:45 AM
10:45 AM - 11:30 AM
Managed Wi-Fi: Is it Right for Your Communities?
Community-wide managed Wi-Fi is the communication infrastructure that supports the rollout of most smart building initiatives. It also supports business applications such as virtual leasing, and new flexible leasing models. But what exactly is Managed Wi-Fi? And what are the benefits and challenges for owners, managers, and residents? This session will answer all your questions and help you decide if Managed Wi-Fi is the right choice for your communities.
Self Service Leasing: What the Data has to Say
Some owners and managers have dubbed the data gathered during the pandemic as an anomaly, but the data discrepancy wasn’t that dramatic. The shift in the industry to self-service leasing might be more adaptation than anomaly. Owner/operators that implemented AI with CRMs, centralized leasing, and self-service leasing concepts to sustain business operations through the crisis have reported these technologies led to more qualified leads, increased closing ratios and optimization of the marketing funnel. Moreover, with the proverbial cat out of the bag, resident prospects are expecting these conveniences as part of their search experience. With a growing demand for self-service leasing, how can owner/operators look past the abnormality of the past year to evaluate the data to optimize self-service options and modernized leasing efforts in their communities. This data-rich session will share insights from surveys and leasing market trends to uncover what was good, what wasn’t so good, as well as the opportunities for improvement.
Food as an Amenity: Tech-Enabled Opportunities and Risks
During the pandemic, food deliveries to apartment communities increased by over 80%, creating many of the same challenges for property owners/operators that they experienced with package and parcel deliveries over the past decade. At the same time, a new crop of technology startups is offering products and services that promise to transform the way residents buy and get their food. The widespread adoption of three technology-driven trends—third-party food delivery, online food ordering, and ghost kitchens—is creating both opportunities and challenges. With a focus on food and technology, this session will survey the changing landscape of tech-enabled food amenities; explore how consumer brands are raising the tenant experience bar for multifamily properties; and discuss the role food and food amenities can play in LEED certifications and WELL Health-Safety ratings.
The Future of Leadership Is Human-Centered
We’ve recently witnessed industry-wide changes that point towards a new way of working. The next generation of multifamily talent is giving serious consideration to the type of career they want to pursue; finding roles that link their interests with purpose is paramount. And the industry-wide tech rollout for business continuity efforts made it possible for front-line and back-office employees to work remotely. To thrive in the next decade, the multifamily industry will need to adapt to these new realities. Before we get any further down the path of digital transformation, it’s important for management companies to step back and take a more human-centric approach to technology adoption. During the session, thought leaders from leading property management companies and technology providers will dive into what it means to take a human-centric approach to technology utilization and how you can go about doing this in your organization.
10:30 AM - 6:00 PM
OPTECH Expo Hall Open
11:00 AM - 2:30 PM
OPTECH Express Sessions@ Marketplace Stage (7 sessions)
10:30 AM - 3:00 PM
NMHC OPTECH Exchange Open (New!)
11:30 AM - 3:00 PM
OPTECH Express Sessions@ Exchange Stage (5 sessions)
12:30 PM - 1:30 PM
2:00 PM - 2:45 PM
Too Often Overlooked: Transforming Maintenance Systems and Processes
Despite being one of the main frontline contact points with residents, being vitally important for good ratings and reviews, and being the team that is preserving and enhancing asset value, your maintenance department hasn’t received the attention it deserves. Maintenance services, turns and renovations are major pain points in today’s multifamily market – they also dramatically impact NOI, resident experience and asset appreciation. The upside is that property management teams now have access to digital tools and innovations that can make their jobs faster, more efficient, and less costly than the legacy methods. How can multifamily management shift safely from “the way we’ve always done it” to “the way it always should be done”? Join this session where industry peers share their firsthand experience implementing new field staff technology and how they overcame resistance to transform maintenance operations. This session is for those looking to orchestrate technology with human processes to eliminate friction so that property teams can do more and do better.
Multifamily Legal Risks Around Technology and Data
Digital solutions are a key component of every multifamily company's operation -- a component that is becoming more critical every year. But as technology and its solutions develop rapidly, so do the legal risks associated with them. This panel will help you understand the laws that may be impacted by using technology and data in multifamily operations, and how your teams can assess risk and minimize exposure. From hearing about best practices for managing resident and prospect data to comply with the developing patchwork of state privacy regulations to navigating the anticipated FCC restrictions on agreements between multifamily operators and internet service providers, this session brings market intelligence and legal insight to bear, apprising attendees how to assess and recognize risk in using technology to reach prospects and residents.
An Inside Look at RentTech Investment and Why It Matters
With a greater number of apartment operators choosing to invest in rather than build their own PropTech, it’s critical that the industry understands the world of Multifamily PropTech Investment, sometimes known as RentTech. This session will discuss the ins and outs of making an investment in a RentTech firm or individual startups and how to measure the risks and potential returns. Operators who have invested in RentTech or PropTech Funds will share their experiences and provide advice that attendees won’t want to miss.
The Culture of High-Performing Data-Minded Teams
One of the biggest tech lessons of the past 12 months? Invest in your people by making innovation, communication, and enablement a part of your culture. It’s simply not enough to implement a data platform and hire smart data scientists. You need a shared understanding that the stakes are more than just a set of KPIs. In this session, we’ll show how to empower teams to spot opportunities and make decisions by sharing knowledge and data. Learn how to align your team around a culture of continuous improvement to use data to be nimbler with our strategy and continually build a better resident experience.
2:45 PM - 3:00 PM
3:00 PM - 3:45 PM
How to Make Better Technology Decisions
If you’re finding it hard to keep up with the influx of PropTech companies, it might be time to shift your approach to evaluating technology. How do you strike the right balance between organizational goals and role-based technology? Are they mutually exclusive – or can you have both? Industry experts will share their perspectives on technology as a business discipline and how they balance top-level organizational objectives and user-focused features and functionality.
Optimizing Building Operations with ClimateTech
The latest trends in technology can help you reduce your carbon footprint while also lowering utility expenses across your portfolio. This expert panel will provide valuable insights into solar technology and billing regulations nationwide including how to recoup costs from solar installations, energy storage benefits, as well as maximizing ROI on solar investments as an owner or a REIT structure. We’ll also take a closer look at waste stream optimization and waste container monitoring as well as recent energy benchmarking mandates and what the future holds in other states. If you are interested in learning how to leverage the newest technologies to increase sustainability and save money, then this is the session for you!
Brand Management: The Art of Telling Your Brand’s Story
Every property has a personality, but when was the last time you reviewed your brand story and refreshed your digital content to make sure that personality is shining through? Prospects expect a consistent digital journey filled with relevant and informative content at every touchpoint. The same content on your website year over year just doesn’t cut it anymore. You need relevant, interactive, and fresh content on your website and across your multiple marketing channels to continuously attract new prospects. This session will explore the latest innovations in digital content, discover new ways to apply content across the multiple marketing channels, and identify how to build your brand equity to enable long term growth.
Top Cyber Threats and How to Manage Them
It’s been a bad year for feeling secure and certain about anything, and that goes double for cybersecurity. The US Government saw its most extensive hack in history and gas supplies were disrupted by cybercriminals and ransomware. And don’t forget that some of the greatest risks we faced weren't cybercriminals at all, but our very own employees practicing poor cyber hygiene. And now with many still working remotely and the cyber perimeter extended, the risk is even higher. Put it all together and you’ve got a world of risk. But the good news is that while the challenges have multiplied, so have the sophistication of the solutions. Experts will outline the top 5 cybersecurity threats and what you can do now to protect yourself.
3:45 PM - 4:00 PM
4:00 PM - 5:00 PM
OPTECH Keynote: Beating Burnout: Cultivating Resilience in the Face of Endless Change and Chaos
Speaker: Suneel Gupta
In this one-of-a-kind talk, audience members will learn the art of reframing failure inside company cultures, and how to dramatically reduce their risk of burnout. Rooted in the latest neuroscience, you will leave with practical techniques for managing stress and anxiety while generating resilience, speed, and creativity. As the CEO of Rise, which helped thousands of people overcome challenges with physical and mental health, Suneel uncovered the hidden qualities of highly resilient people, which he now teaches at Harvard Medical School. Suneel and his brother, CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta, are sons of a mom who rose from poverty to become Ford Motor Company’s first female engineer.
5:00 PM - 6:30 PM
OPTECH Networking Reception
5:00 PM - 6:30 PM
Emerging Leaders Reception
Join NMHC’s Emerging Leaders for their first in-person event in almost two years—a special Emerging Leaders reception at OPTECH.
This event is open to anyone under 40 who is attending OPTECH. This is a great opportunity to build your network of next-gen leaders. No separate registration is required.
8:00 AM - 2:00 PM
8:30 AM - 9:30 AM
8:30 AM - 11:00 AM
OPTECH CONNECT @ Riverview Ballroom (Facilitated Networking)
9:00 AM - 9:45 AM
Intelligent Buildings & Connectivity: Pulling it all Together
While smart home and intelligent building technology and connectivity options have all advanced at different rates and have often been deployed independently, we are moving toward a more integrative and comprehensive approach to connectivity, smart home and intelligent building systems. The growth of bulk and managed Wi-Fi, 5G and other connectivity options only furthers the opportunity to create smart and connected communities with operational efficiencies and real time data that supports better decision making.
Demystifying Machine Learning and AI for Marketing Analytics
Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence are the latest buzzwords in the world of analytics, but how do they apply to your Marketing Analytics platform and strategy? And even more importantly, how can these new technologies be used to better inform and guide your business decisions and optimization of your marketing campaigns? This session will provide practical working definitions of Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence, discuss how these concepts can improve your marketing optimization strategy, and cover the evolution for building a Marketing Analytics system from the ground up.
Resident FinTech: A Win-Win for Residents and Managers?
Even before the pandemic, there was an explosion of new PropTech disrupting just about everything relating to resident finances. This resident facing FinTech includes new models for renters insurance, security deposits, and rental payment systems and processes including rewards programs to help residents create additional savings accounts and improve their financial situation. The social justice movement that gained traction during the pandemic had many apartment companies looking at ways they can improve the financial outlook and literacy of their residents. While new FinTech holds obvious benefits for residents, does it provide benefits to apartment owners and managers? The answer can possibly be yes. Join this fascinating session to find out how.
Developing DEI: Lessons from Industry Initiatives
For too many years, the apartment industry talked the talk on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) without walking the walk. Predictably, nothing much changed in an industry lacking in diversity. However, events of the last few years have led some companies to make DEI a priority and they’ve gained traction. With a growing body of evidence that diverse and inclusive companies perform better financially than non-diverse ones, the movement that began to support opportunities for everyone has grown into a business imperative. In this session you will hear exclusive, original research from NMHC on successful DEI initiatives including what factors contributed to their success.
9:45 AM - 10:00 AM
10:00 AM - 10:45 AM
Raised Expectations: Meeting Resident Connectivity Demand in the New Normal
Resident expectations for connectivity in their communities has changed. With more residents working from home and streaming more entertainment, the group of renters who make community connectivity their top priority has grown. So how do you both assure an exceptional and seamless experience for our residents and best market that competitive advantage? Join a discussion with the two new connectivity certification players and two major connectivity providers on how to meet the new raised expectations and how to market it as a community differentiator.
PropTech, AI and Humans: Working Together in Harmony
With an influx of valuable PropTech solutions expedited by the pandemic, and major advances in Artificial Intelligence, there’s no going back to the way things once were. But new technology doesn’t mean owner/operators must abandon fully current operations schemes. The human touch your team provides is what makes your organization thrive. Automating common workflows to handle all the nearly identical inquiries your overwhelmed teams receive each day can really improve their lives and allow them to focus on providing human-centered customer service. But how do you get the balance right between new PropTech, AI, and your valuable human staffing? Too often the decision is presented in binary terms: total AI or very little automation. As is often the case in life, the answer is less either/or and more all-of-the-above. Join this fascinating panel as they address one of the greatest challenges of our time, how to seamlessly integrate technology and humans to provide top-notch customer service.
Opportunities and Risks in the Single-Family Rental Market
Professionally managed single-family rentals are one of the hottest sectors in real estate. The strong demand and potential rent growth have many multifamily owners and operators ready to dive into this market. But there are differences with multifamily from both a market demand and investment perspective as well as with property operations. This session will look at both and give you the information you need to seize these new opportunities while assessing potential risks.
Multifamily Moneyball: A Home Run for Talent Management and Customer Experience?
Move over Brad Pitt. As operators have been able to better define the impact talent has on resident experience, they’re adjusting the makeup of their onsite teams, their training programs, and their success metrics to ensure operations success and maximizing rent growth and NOI. But is it working? This session will highlight the efforts of multiple owner/operators to integrate technology into talent management and resident experience and how it’s impacting property performance and employee satisfaction. Is Multifamily Moneyball a homerun for the industry?