Contributed Article

By: Rick Haughey, Sarah Yaussi and Valerie M. Sargent, National Multifamily Housing Council; Broadband Communities 

The National Multifamily Housing Council’s top technology conference always highlights exciting new trends and tech in the multifamily industry. 

As the season squarely turns to fall, multifamily professionals across the country are beginning to look forward to attending the 2023 NMHC Conference & Expo in Las Vegas, NV.

Well known as the preeminent tech-related conference centered solely in the multifamily space, OPTECH pulls together some of the most strategic thinkers in multifamily to have conversations centered around the best technologies available for the operational side of the business. This is where technology pioneers go to bring the latest and greatest technology to property management professionals to help them shape the future of multifamily. 

What can we expect? AI, AI, and more AI!

Whereas centralization was the big theme for last year’s event, this year it’s all about AI. How does artificial intelligence help bring efficiency and frictionless ease to property management? Anything that brings automation to a task, such as having a virtual assistant schedule meetings or tours, return an email to a prospect, or send a text message immediately upon receipt, can help a staff member do his or her job more effectively.  

As the benefits of AI begin to become more apparent, OPTECH will be looking at the potential risks of generative AI, machine learning, and large language models that owners and operators should work to mitigate. The first steps may be creating internal structures and governance to vet and assess the AI being integrated into new technologies.  

Part of that assessment should be focused on their data strategy since AI is only as smart or dumb or dangerous as the data it’s using. At OPTECH, multifamily operators will explore not only how you create your strategy, but whether AI can help you clean up that data while simultaneously keeping it safe and protected And keeping it safe is more important than ever, with cybersecurity threats representing increasing reputational risk. Those risks shouldn’t deter from the reality that the future will be data driven. That future belongs to those implementing data-driven strategies that produce descriptive, predictive, and prescriptive analytics that create business intelligence, which then supports faster and smarter decisions. 

One of the most exciting sessions about AI will be the closing general session, Translating AI Concepts to Multifamily Context,” with Nicholas Thompson, CEO of The Atlantic and former editor-in-chief of WIRED. He will cover the potential of AI and how jobs can evolve alongside this technology, streamlining operations and reducing manual effort. An industry panel will bring it all home as to how AI will likely disrupt the multifamily world.  

The customer experience continues to evolve

While the initial deployment of smart home technology was somewhat isolated and discrete, think a smart thermostat here and there, the technologies and the operations they can facilitate have evolved and require a much more comprehensive approach. Smart home and intelligent building technology deployment now require some strategy around the overall customer experience and mapping the journeys of those who work, live, and visit our communities.  

Each of those journeys require different levels of access throughout the community, which can now be controlled through smart technology. Onsite staff need access to places restricted to residents, prospects need access for virtual tours that may include the front door, one unit, but not the gym or the package room. Service providers, like dog walkers and grocery delivery, need an even different level of access. And residents have different needs still.  

Beyond access control, layers of new technology and apps to reserve an amenity, pay their bills, schedule maintenance, and so much more, have created a renewed focus on the overall customer experience. And similar to smart home tech deployment, we are seeing a once haphazard approach to customer-facing technology evolve into something more strategic and intentional. 

This evolution will be captured in part in the 2023 NMHC/RealFoundations Customer Experience (CX) Survey and Report, a new benchmarking report that will be covered exclusively at one of the OPTECH Opener sessions as thoughts center on how optimizing the tech stack can give a competitive edge. 

However, with the property technology landscape being so radically upgraded, many are struggling to assess whether they have the resources and staffing necessary to support their technology investments and infrastructure. NMHC will bring details from its 2023 NNMC/One11 Apartment Industry Technology Benchmarking Survey and Report to help attendees see how they measure up with their expenses and staffing. 

Connectivity remains a most desired amenity

OPTECH will also be the place to hear the first takeaways from the 2024 NMHC/Grace Hill Renter Preferences Survey Report, the multifamily industry’s largest and most comprehensive consumer insights report. The report reveals what renters like, love and won’t rent without when it comes to apartment features, community amenities and a host of services and technologies—including access and security features, smart home tech, connectivity packages, work-from-home amenities and more.   

Both consumers’ and operators’ increasing focus on all things access control, smart home and CX tech has renewed ongoing efforts to make sure you get the right internet connectivity in place. Without that telecom backbone, all efforts to create a seamless and frictionless customer experience could be upended.   

As part of Broadband Communities’ ongoing partnership with NMHC, BBC’s Multifamily News Correspondent, Valerie M. Sargent, will be joining NMHC to cover the OPTECH Opener “Connectivity Explained” portion of the Town Hall event to discuss how network infrastructure and smart solutions can help create a seamless internet access experience for residents.  

Questions you may have about upgrading service in an existing building or how regulatory issues may impact your connectivity solutions will be addressed. Look for information from two research reports on connectivity from NMHC and 20for20 and the Real Estate Technology Alliance (RETA) to be shared during this session.  

And so much more!

An attendee fan favorite, NMHC’s Opening Pitches sessions feature four-minute fast pitches from new startup technology companies entering the multifamily market, highlighting their creative solutions. Educational sessions at the conference will dive further into AI, lessons learned with EV charging stations, digital search experiences, PropTech, ESG, data warehousing, fraud prevention, and automation/centralization. Ask Me Anything roundtable sessions with cybersecurity and data protection experts, marketing experts, and CTOs will answer pressing questions on those important topics.  

Natalie Nixon (Creativity Strategist; President, Figure 8 Thinking LLC), Reid Blackman (AI Ethicist and Philosopher, Founder and CEO, Virtue Ethics Consultancy), and Brian David Johnson (Former Chief Futurist, Intel Corp., Author) will all participate in the general session, “Unleashing Human Potential in the Age of Automation” to discuss the future of the transformative power of AI and potential implications of utilizing this technology in the workplace.  

There will be a robust agenda with much to learn, along with one of the most sought-after Expo marketplaces filled with cutting-edge technologies and hands-on demonstrations from valuable multifamily partners in the industry. Yes, there’s truly something for everyone. We look forward to seeing you in Las Vegas! 

Rick Haughey is vice president of industry technology initiatives for the National Multifamily Housing Council and can be reached at Sarah Yaussi is vice president of business strategy for the National Multifamily Housing Council and can be reached at Valerie M. Sargent is a multifamily speaker, trainer and executive consultant and is the multifamily news correspondent for Broadband Communities. Contact her at For more information, visit, or