Thursday, June 12, 2008

Get That New TV Installed Tomorrow

Looking for a reliable way to ensure that your residents don't gouge huge holes in the wall the next time they try to hang their new LCD TV on the wall?

Then check out a service called Zip Express. Zip Express typically partners with retail outlets (in-store and online) -- they provide nationwide next-day and five-day installation options for consumers, regardless of where they bought the goods. Depending on the item, the prices range from $199 for a standard Home Theater system to $399 for an on-the-wall TV installation package, which is very competitive when compared to the giants like Geek Squad.

One refreshing feature is that Zip Express guarantees the customer will be given a ONE HOUR window of time for the installer to arrive. It's easy to schedule online, and the installers take all the trash away with them. They can even show the customer how to program and use the new remote! (Of course, it's $149 for Universal Remote programming which includes reviewing the existing TV and A/V components to make sure that they are compatible with the remote control; programming primary commands for up to 8 devices; and training the customer.) No word on pricing to get rid of the flashing "12:00" for those of us who still have a VCR sitting next to our TiVo.

I could see a service like this working very well for apartment communities in some markets -- installation could be offered as part of technology concierge/move-in package:

"Hey new resident, not only do we have all these great technology amenities here, but we also understand that you'll be bringing a truckload of your own gear. Let us help you set it all up while you're getting settled in."
They get convenient setup on their schedule, you get a few bucks in your pocket. Reseller opportunities are available if you're interested.

Could this could work in apartment communities? Let me know what you think.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Multifamily Technology at the NAA Education Conference

I'm excited to be moderating a panel at this year's Education Conference, held at the end of the month here in Orlando. The session is titled "Tech-Savvy Residents Expect Tech-Savvy Homes."

2008 NAA Education Conference
My job will be easy, primarily because I'll be sitting next to some fantastic panelists: Henry Pye from JPI, Steve Sadler from Post Properties and Dave Hanchette from Russound. Henry and Steve are multifamily veterans that do nothing but eat, drink and sleep technology, and Dave is a home technology expert who brings great perspective from the electronics industry. These guys will cover the latest trends in apartment technology – focusing on real examples and strategies that will attract tech-savvy residents. Between the three of them, they've seen it all and will be able to share incredible opinions and insights that we all will learn from.

That said, I'm officially recruiting the help of the MT 360° community... If you have a question about all things technology that affect our industry, I want to hear it. Send me an email or a tweet, or just leave it in the comments below -- I'll give credit where it's due for any questions I'm able to use during the session. And if you'll be in Orlando for the event, please let me know -- it's always great to meet new folks and share ideas.

Now let's hear those questions!