Equipping Vehicle Logistics Networks for EVs

Zach Jennings, Chargie CEO, joined Automotive Logistics in a panel to discuss logistics of electric vehicles and give insight on how providers can prepare for future EV growth. He goes further in depth about some challenges in EV distribution and the necessity of adaption and investment to be ready for the EV future. Some big questions about not only charging infrastructure needed in the supply chain but also the bigger dimensions of EVs in trucks and railcars are tackled in this panel so be sure to check it out here to learn more!



Richard 0:11
Electric Vehicles sales continue to grow, and car makers are committing more and more investment resources to the next generation of mobility. But, but how ready is vehicle logistics and the distribution models that we have today? So conservative forecasts indicate that production of pure EVs will account for 25% of production in North America by 2029. Just by a show of hands, just in the room, just want to get a gauge whether there’s a an appreciation for this, there’s a ready for this. So if you’re preparing for 25% or less, by 2029, by the end of the decade, can you just raise your hands? Okay, no hands that I can see. So, who’s preparing for more? Hopefully, there’ll be a few hands. Okay, five people. Is anyone preparing for electric vehicles at all? Okay, I’m in the wrong room. So. Okay, well, maybe the next 35 minutes or so might change your mind. So here to talk through some of those challenges, and some of the impacts electric vehicles might have. And we’ll have on vehicle logistics. We have Charles Franklin, senior national manager of Business Development at GloVis America. And Zach Jennings, CEO of Chargie. Chargie are electric and EV, charging station manufacturer. And Charles, I think, you know, pretty much everyone in the room so you don’t get an intro. So, let’s crack on and get straight into it. So, my question to the audience, which fell a little flat. But my question to you, is the vehicle logistics network ready for mass electrification?

Charles 2:04
No, absolutely not. In fact, we had our vendor conference just a few months ago, where we had all the rail carriers, Port processors, auto haulers in the room and room looks like this. And I said, okay, how many of you are ready for influx, and I’m talking about next year. So I’m not talking about several years, where based on the customers I’m working with, I’m estimating anywhere from by the end of the year, 250 to 500,000 units that will be crossing our ports either in or out. And I said in the room, how many of you are ready for that? And just like your question, nobody raised their hand. And the challenge with that is they are coming. I mean, I have the forecast. I’m working on contracts. And we’re not ready by any means.

Richard 2:52
Okay, great. So we do have a session. That’s excellent. You also said yes, we’re ready, then I’d have had to shut up. So, Zach, for those who don’t know charging, perhaps you can share a little bit of detail about your story, your journey, and why you’re part of this panel.

Zach 3:07
Yeah, so we’re a turnkey operator of EV charging infrastructure. We do everything from the start from design engineering, permitting, installation, we have our own software. So, we are one single point of contact. So what we specialize in, is working with the customer to move forward with the entire process, including rebates and incentives to lower the actual investment to get those chargers installed. So we primarily work a bulk of our work has been with multifamily buildings, commercial, and then also some work at ports and logistics centers.

Richard 3:40
Great, thank you. And so Charles, you’re working with clearly a number of OEMs, existing players, new EV players as well. Those existing players transitioning for ICT to EVs, at the simplest level, is it says is it not just moving vehicles from A to B?

Charles 3:59
Well, what I’m looking at now, and that’s even how I was introduced to Zach, is we’re saying about, okay, who’s putting through these, putting these vehicles through the ports, both inbound and outbound, and you have various what amount of our problems is in trying to estimate our investment. All of these car carriers have different states of charge that they ship the vehicles, but also with the new as everybody’s been saying most of this day Amazon model where a lot of these dealers want to make OEMs want to deliver directly to the consumer, then they want these vehicles to leave the port fully charged. And so in a meeting just last week, we had and I’m sorry last but you laugh some of you guys in the room will laugh as well. They said they want us to process 150 cars a day, which sounds like a small number, but they want us to charge them 200% So that’s three and a half to four hours per vehicle per day. You know, I mean, and you know ports you don’t have that much time so that’s if you use the level two charger with his people educated me, if I did a level three, yes, I could do them faster. But then now you might blow up the grid. So, you don’t even know if your port can support those level three chargers. Number one and a level three charger costs 10 times more than a level two charger. And for the OEMs in the room, you know, if I asked you can I raise your rates two cents, you usually want to cut my head off. So, if I tell you I need to raise your rates enough to pay for these chargers, it’s not going to work. Lastly, if you if I take the level twos and I want to process that many vehicles fastly, now I have to do this charger far. So not only talking about the investment, but now you’re talking about real estate. And I don’t want to take up that much land to charge your cars. So, it’s a it’s an interesting dilemma right now we’re trying to figure it out. And that’s why we’re talking to folks like Zach.

Richard 5:52
Yeah. And Zach, just on that. Charles, you alluded to some of the different kind of charging options. But Zach, maybe you can go into that a little bit more detail, you know, what is currently available to market in terms of charging? And we’re talking about on a commercial level here? How do the different models vary? Is there a vehicle charging station ratio that you’re working to that there are guidelines out there? What do you what are you seeing?

Zach 6:15
So they’ve broken the chargers, at least in America into three different levels, level one is considered just plugging into a household outlet. From zero to full battery can be anywhere from 60 to 100 hours, it’s a very slow charge. Level two is a good middle ground, that’s where you’re looking at being able to charge a vehicle within approximately 10 hours. And those chargers are basically a relay. The actual vehicle has the inverter and does the charging and controls itself. The Level Two charger is more or less an outlet that passes the power to the vehicle with a little bit of computing power to collect data. When you get up to level three. Those are like the Tesla Supercharger network, EVgo those things you see on the side of freeways. Those are incredibly powerful. Those can charge a vehicle in under an hour. The downside to those is that they’re upwards of $100,000 per unit for the charger, let alone the infrastructure it takes to actually power those. So when you start looking at that infrastructure cost plus the actual charging hardware, you get into a very expensive installation, and then you’re getting in a game because it’s such an expensive unit itself, you want to keep cars utilizing it. So you’re always having to move and make sure people aren’t hogging the spot, or staying there too long. So it’s really comes down to a balance of do you want to put a multiple level twos and then do a level three. But if you do all level threes, that cost adds up quick. And when it comes to a ratio, obviously, we work with our customers to figure out what makes most sense for that property. And the use case. For example, in multifamily buildings for apartments, we normally do about 20%. That’s a good ratio, at least to start for now with the obvious idea that it will expand as utilization goes up, and there’s more EVs in that parking lot. But with every customer, you never know what they’re going to need. So we try to maximize what we can get in there now to see us. And we’ll get into this later, but incentives and rebates that are local to help bring that cost down?

Richard 8:07
Well, I mean, yeah, let’s get into that now, in terms of the Biden administration has invested billions into the growth of electric vehicles. Is there a clearer picture on how the sum will be, will, be allocated maybe specifically, with, with commercial EV infrastructure, and I saw that there was some news this morning. But supporting the noncommercial side, in terms of charging stations around standardization there, but what’s what’s happening on the commercial side, and specifically, what would affect our audience here.

Zach 8:44
So there’s a, we have actually a whole team of just government affairs that focuses on going to different areas and finding all these programs, because it does get incredibly complicated. We’ve had customers that are trying to take it on themselves, and they don’t maximize what was available. And you can actually stack a lot of these programs as well. So it goes all the way from utilities have their own programs, up to state level. And then obviously, federal, and from the Federal standpoint, most of what Biden administration is pushing through is targeting corridor charging, meaning when you’re on a trip, so that would be those level three chargers, you pull off charge for 30 minutes and get right back on the road. So we always work to figure out how we can work with all those programs to maximize what we can get for each customer. And a lot of the times you get 100% of that cost covered. So we always push and stress to our customers that you want to get those while they’re available. It is a first come first serve basis on the most part, and once they’re gone, they may renew them, but it’s not a guarantee. So there’s no reason to not get those things installed today and take advantage of that. When the actual charging hardware isn’t going to change much. The cables are standardized. There was a situation with Tesla back in 2012. The Society of Automotive Engineers did not develop a charging standard for the actual connector, so Tesla had to sell cars they created their own. So that’s why there’s that little bit of difference between their connector and everybody else’s. But since then, all other manufacturers have come together and agreed that the J 1772 is the connector of choice for all electric vehicles. When you get to level three, there’s, there were two options. Japan had a connector called a chatty Mo, which is around connector that Nissan a couple other companies were using, and everyone in America and Europe, were using a CCS combo charger cable. So as of recently, I think Nissan has and the Japanese companies have agreed to eliminate that standard, because that is the whole idea, you’d want to make sure that you’re not putting double infrastructure to be able to handle two different types of vehicles when everyone can be using the same thing.

Richard 10:46
And looking at the other end, you know, we mentioned the ports or looking at the other end and the dealership side. How do you see that market developing that need that growth? For charging infrastructure there? I’ll come to you again. And then Charles, I’ll come to you on potentially, the distribution models are changing in terms of that dealership model or direct deliveries perhaps and the considerations there but first to use Zach on that dealership side, what are you seeing from your customers from the conversations you’re having?

Zach 11:18
What it really comes down to is available power, a lot of dealerships don’t want to spend that money, and they don’t have the power available. So it gets more expensive. But what we always recommend is, you really want to look at it, how long is the dwell period or the time that vehicles will be parked? If it’s going to be there for days, you do not need to worry about getting big level three chargers to blast power into those vehicles. Maybe you have one just so in emergencies or visitors can use that. But the idea is of those cars gonna be parked on the lot for a while, you get a lot of level two chargers put those in and just let them trickle charge up. It’s a much more cost-effective way. And it’s easier on the grid as we spoke about earlier.

Richard 11:53
Well, right now there’s no cars on the grid. On the on the lots as we hear that, obviously that will hopefully change in the plans are for vehicle ramp ups to happen. So, again, interesting, do you invest now for the for the short term or the long term, and hopefully there’ll be stabilization. So, Charles, but I’ll come to you on that distribution model and how that might be impacting vehicle logistics specifically,

Charles 12:19
Well selfishly in regard to EVs. I love when dealerships have the power because that means that I can receive that vehicle, process it and get it out. So yes, there’s a revenue opportunity for us to charge them but we’re more concerned you know, port is a flow through. And so, I’m we’re really concerned on how much that’s going to bog us down. Because as most of them for particular for my poor processing friends, and you know, you’re taking 1000s and get one vessel might have 3000 cars, what happens when all 3000 of those are EVs and all 3000 of those need charging, and you now got another vessel coming in two days, I don’t I don’t see how we can manage that. Even if we had, you know, look like a drive in, those of you as old as I am, when you used to have to drive in theater and you pull up the speaker. I mean, even if your yard look like that, and you can hook them all up, you couldn’t get 3000 cars out in two days, it just couldn’t happen. So, I liked the model for the dealerships to champion because then we could process them, send them out and let them top them off at the dealership. However, as we say, going back to the Amazon style, we have customers right now it’s a requirement. Actually, we have one customer we already have in place. Now, we have to do 80 to 100% charge before we deliver those cars. Right now they’re in their wrap up. So they’re not getting a lot of cars, and we’re able to handle it. But at the same time when they start doing a high volume. We’re trying to figure out how much we need to invest. And that’s the scary part. Because right now at some of our ports we have doesn’t sound like many, six chargers. And if you go there right now, I promise you the four of them, there’s nobody using them. And so we spent all this money and get you know, had the chargers or whatever number and nobody’s using them. What are we going to do? So our biggest challenge now is trying to do that estimation. So we’re estimating what we’re going to do. So we’re talking to folks like this, we may even engage with Chargie, and say, here’s our business model. Here’s the power grid were on. Here’s The forecasted volume, what’s our infrastructure, and then speaking again, selfishly as a processor, and anybody who handles vehicles. OEMs will tell you, here’s our forecast, and then they move that freight to another port. And now you got all these charging stations here. So it’s we’re working, we’re going to make that solution. We’re very flexible, but at the same time we have to manage the investment versus the risk of that investment.

Richard 14:40
Yeah, absolutely. You know, in terms of the policy investing in getting the right infrastructure in place, is that going to become a competitive advantage, differentiator when we’re selecting import and export routes and models like that?

Charles 14:56
I’d say yes and no and the reason why I say that most of the time, at least as we’re talking about ocean transportation, the vessel, the origination of that freight and the destination of that freight is going to drive the port. And so therefore those ports that receive and or ship out those vehicles is going to have to upgrade. Now the question is, where’s the cost? Who’s going to do that? So right now, if we use the Tesla word, in a lot of instances, Tesla has provided those chargers. But most of the customers I’m engaging with now are giving me requirements and asking me what you’re charging capabilities, which was the plan, so they want me to invest. And then I saw my friend Dona, I can’t see the lights. But she’s the port with me I say, oh, so what are you guys going to invest? And so we’re trying to figure out and then naturally, he says, where there could be rebates, but there’s limits to those rebates. So first, somebody has to write the check, before the rebate happens in hopes of a rebate. And then there are some limits to rebates, depending upon how big your company is, if you’re over a certain revenue peak, then you don’t qualify the rebate. And so you wrote this check, oh, I’m gonna get my money back. And so, so it’s, we’re in the middle, we’re going to make it happen. Like I say, we’re working with some customers. And then as my title alludes to business development, not only mean sales, but it means developing partnerships and relationships to support our customers. So when I talked to some of my other port processing friends, you’d be amazed at how some of the biggest Roro ports in America, there are zero chargers today. So it’s so I don’t have an answer. I just know that we’re studying it. And it’s and it scares me.

Richard 16:41
I suppose while this while this landscape develops, and it seems like there’s a lot of people waiting, looking to see what others are doing, how the system can be worked? Is this potentially gonna cause a huge bottleneck? And when suddenly the volumes do rise up? And things aren’t ready? Things aren’t in place, and then suddenly, there’s a drive for demand?

Charles 17:02
It could and that’s one of the discussions that I had with Chargie yesterday, what’s the lead time? Because let us say that I do decide to put in 100 units. So I told actually, I told him 10, and he said, six to 12 weeks. But what if it’s 100? Does that make it six to 12 months? And then and then that’s one port. So what happens if all the ports so I see the bottleneck. But hopefully, if I’ve successfully secured all of these agreements, that you know, once you get the ink, it’s easy to get some green to follow that ink, and then we can start putting it in. So I think there will be a bottleneck. But I think the solution for that bottleneck is for the OEMs to determine their minimum state of charge. Right now naturally, unfortunately, we had a fire as you know, not Globus but the industry had a fire, which is causing a lot of people to look at every shipment. But let’s just say if everybody agrees, okay, it’s 30 to 40%. Okay, and they agree that that’s sufficient for it to go, then again, now I don’t need to invest. Because I’m gonna receive that car, and I’m gonna send it out. And maybe I have one or two, because yeah, some of them will have drained and they need to get charged. So we need to figure out what is the norm, and there’s no norm today.

Richard 18:15
Yeah, I just want to pick up on that point on the minimum standard charge for vehicles. Now, there’s a lot of handovers a lot of milestones within the vehicle delivery network. But you’re saying that that’s not standardized what the level of charge should be. And presumably each stakeholder would want to minimize their own cost their own charging time, their own dwell time at their own compounds or parts of the chain. So how do we how do you know this can cause a problem where vehicles are arriving less than less than standard charge, it creates a bottleneck that hasn’t been predicted hasn’t been seen. And right now, we know that getting vehicles to market is at speed is critical. So again, what needs to happen to either create this standardization, or, you know, where does the responsibility lie to ensure that the network flows smoothly?

Charles 19:10
And again, as most of you know, I’ve sat on both sides of the fence for 20 years as OEM. And now I’m a service provider. I put it on OEM. And the reason being is yes, they want to minimize their costs and to dwell on the compounds in the yard. But it’s just like anything, all ports are ocean property. So just like real estate, that’s the most expensive property in the world. Okay, so you’re going to I’m going to charge you more for consuming my real estate than I am for the juice and I’m going to charge you the real estate as well as the infrastructure to charge it. So it’d be much more friendly to the system and to their pocketbooks if they send those cars out with a charge enough to get it to its final destination because then I can treat it just like ICV ICE Vehicle. I receive it. I process it I put it on the truck train or wherever it wanted to go and it’s out. You do not want any vehicles dwelling at the port any longer than they have to because it’s just like your vacation. If you stay in this hotel more than seven days, when you stay in it one day, it’s gonna cost you a big difference because it’s on the beach. So you got to move them I believe.

Richard 20:15
That’s a great point. Zach, we’ve spoken a lot about the infrastructure. But there are also concerns about energy sources is their capacity to deal with this. Projections be current or future projections of this demand, everyone charging at the same time, commercial businesses operating at the same time, truck drivers looking to be at home overnight, so not wanting to charge during the day recharge, all at the same time, is the grid going to be able to cope what’s happening there?

Zach 20:45
So our previous company, we actually spun out it was based in Los Angeles, large scale solar provider for commercial solar. So solar farms, warehouses, airport hangers, so we understand the way electricity grid works demand and all those aspects. And really what it comes down to, it’s not about available power, there is enough power in the grid, the grid can produce massive amounts of power, when it comes down to the just like you’re saying is, the time that those peaks happen, when it’s ebbs and flows are valleys and mountains that you’re looking at, you really want to be able to shave the top off, because the way the utilities look at it is if we have to provide your energy at this very peak, we’re going to charge you extra for it because we need to supply that capacity. And by having all this down period of these power plants that only need to supply it the short amount of time, it creates a huge issue. So what it really comes down to, at least depending on the use case, is energy load management, where you can have those vehicles, okay, there’s a two hour window, there’s gonna be a massive peak in your time of use pricing is very common with utilities, you pay based on the time of day, the peak periods are more expensive, with the technology we have is you can actually have those chargers automatically slow down at those peaks if available. Obviously, if you have to get it charged, you just keep it going. But if you can, you lower the charge rates at that time, and then kick them right back up automatically. To avoid those peak periods. From an economic standpoint, you can be paying double, even triple the cost in those peaks. So by just slowing it down for a few hours and kicking it right back up, you don’t lose much time and you save a lot of money. So that’s really what it comes down to is the, you know, the sophistication, the algorithms to help stabilize the grid and kind of flatten it out more. And when gets real advanced and you have super big loads and you can justify it, you can add battery buffers, that will then kick in those batteries will be storage devices that can supply the power to the vehicles for those peaks. And that with the cost overruns the Delta, you can actually economically make that workout as well. And there are incentives for battery storage.

Richard 22:46
So beyond that, beyond the charging function, yeah, we’re getting into smart charging networks, you know, how can that not only help the grid, but how can that also have an impact on logistics as well in terms of yard management, vehicle logistics movements? How can that how can that support.

Zach 23:04
So we’re in a world nowadays of data, data is everything. So collecting that data, analyzing it using it appropriately is what becomes very important in those situations, you want to make sure that you understand what is happening with every vehicle on that lot, what their state of charge is and how long they’ve been going for. And then at the end of it, you want to be able to have notifications, those vehicles are finished, so you know that you can move them, you don’t want to send an employee to walk around and check the screens on every vehicle to see the status. So by having the data through the charger side, you have a centralized command station, you look at one pane of glass, that he’s able to tell you all this information, hey, these six cars are all finished, you know, send someone to go pull those out and put new ones in those locations. So that’s where really it comes down to. And to get that you need to have reliable communication, you need to have hardware that works every time all the time. And then you need to have redundancies behind that. So for example, a lot of our systems have either dual modems or at least dual SIM cards. So if you’re someone or we connect to the local network, but we always put redundancies in place, if something does go down, it fails over and keeps going. You do not want to be in a situation, especially with critical real estate, where you have devices or cars that are stranded because something on the chargers went down. So especially Time is money in that situation.

Richard 24:18
In terms of you know, we’ve talked a little bit about a lot about data, the need for greater transparency, greater sharing. A question I’ve asked before, but I’ll put it to you guys and Charles maybe to you is the framework there for data sharing in a in a noncommercial setting. Is it Is there a secured network? Is there things in place? And is there a level of acceptance and comfortable comfortability for data sharing to happen to really maximize the potential here

Charles 24:51
That that’s what Zach’s teams tells me. So internally do we currently have the data to support managing what he just said, heck no. And that’s why, again, going back to developing partnerships with people, I believe in letting experts do what they do. Because we’re experts in moving vehicles moving freight. And so we want to find partners that can support that. And so I don’t I don’t see us developing or designing an EV charging network database. But I’m sure as we said earlier, he said earlier today through via API, EDI, whatever, we can interface with his system and transfer that information to our customers and more equally as important to our transportation partners, because you don’t want a truck driver to show up for his load, and half of them are still charging, because he or she wants to load them up and get out of there. Which goes back to our initial point, if they have enough juice, just let them go. And, and it’s interesting, even with the consultation that we do with some of our customers who say I want this car to get to them full because it’s a brand new was going to the doorstep. And I said yeah but consider this as your customer where they rather get their car tomorrow with a 35% charge, or a week from tomorrow, full, and an additional $150 delivery fee. I said I said most of us will say give my car tomorrow, give me a 50 or $60 gift card, and I’d be happy to get a car. So again, I think the OEMs have to figure out what their business model is what the consumer demand is, and we’re, we’re flexible. I’ll do whatever you want. I’ll charge them up. And I’ll charge you for that charging them up and we’ll deliver them, but I think the industry as well as destiny is to figure out what does the customer truly want? And consider the impact of what they’re asking is on the supply chain.

Richard 26:42
Looking at some of the key trends coming out of electric vehicles, we’re seeing heavier weights, lower ground clearances, larger dimensions, versus traditional ice vehicles. Is road and rail equipment currently in use, essentially fit for purpose. No, right? Are they going 100%?

Charles 27:01
No. So in fact, we won’t say names, but we have a partnership with a very prominent EV manufacturer. And one of our first engagement with him I said is your car shippable. And it was very unique because as alluded to in other sessions, logistics is the redheaded stepchild of the automobile OEM family. So nobody considered about shipping it. They want to see how aerodynamic it is how fast it can go, how pretty it’s going to be. And they finish and they say here. And I said well, and they said what do you mean it’s a shippable. So we actually took the unit to one of our ports. We had six different auto haulers. We had three rail car designs, and we had a vessel. And so we spent two days just on loading unloading all only two of the auto haulers could the vehicle be loaded on and of those two, not all positions because of the lowness of the vehicle, only one rail car could accommodate that vehicle. And then with these new or new EV cars, they’re also wider. So the rail cars, you know, and they wider were 22 inch rims. And so we’re saying you know, we’re gonna be eatin wheels, because they’re gonna be dammed up. And so, and what I shared with them when I said shippable, if you can only ship your car on one or two types of trucks, one type of railcar, a couple of things happen number one, your costs go up. Okay, and then also the frequency of your shipment goes down. Because if that rail car is not available, or if that particular truck trailer is not available, your car’s not shipping. So there needs to be I think the industry will catch up with a remark they’re remodel the auto hauler trailers, they’re going to redesign the rail cars, but that’s a lot of money. And so a lot a lot of just look at the rail cars, I don’t even know how many 1000s of those are. So and then the other piece of that both for rail and truck is the weight that you mentioned to. So right now the rail calculates their fuel costs based on the load factor of that weight. That’s going to change that model. And right now, it’s probably going to be applied across all models of cars, be it electric or gas, because that how do they even know what’s coming through, they’re gonna say I’m taking 10,000 cars or what have you, particularly with the with the auto haulers is 80,000 pound limit. Okay, so somebody’s babies are almost 6000 pounds. So now you reduce it. And so we already have a shortage of trucks. And now you’re telling me I can’t fill them up because the load factor is too heavy. So now it’s going to be a greater shortage of trucks. And everybody says they’re petitioning for the government to increase the load the weight of these vehicles. And I used to pay my way through college, building bridges and working for the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. I don’t see the states approving heavier vehicles because it’s going to trash the roads faster. And so I don’t I don’t know the solution, but it’s going to be an impact on the supply chain, the weight, as well as the electrification is going to have an impact. pretty quickly.

Richard 30:02
So clearly there’s a need for collaboration stakeholders to come together to work through this but just sticking with your Charles what are globus doing then uh with your own fleets and in terms of investment and upgrading equipment um to prepare and ready for this

Charles 30:19
We are ordering uh we’re ordering and working on getting redesigned auto hauler trailers um but again just like everything else even if you want regular trailers it’s just a shortage of everything so getting them is going to be slow as well as recuperating the cost because again from my oem side if I had to raise the cost per unit 25 cents I almost had to write a paper you know and so somebody’s going to have to pay for those trailers um but we are doing it but it’s going to be slow and again we’re also doing it particularly with the new startups and the new oems is right out the gate as I’m asking that same question is this car shippable so that hopefully before they do their finalization of their design they have their car adjusted to meet the current equipment here to move their vehicles so I think it’s a partnership and I think just like Kevin said earlier it’s becoming more of an enterprise before logistics like I said we built it get it there now they’re listening to us more because I can get it there but how much do you want to pay how slow do you want to be and how what do you want your damage ratio to be and so we’re working with our customers as well with our suppliers to try to meet that and again though going back to what’s the standard so what’s the standard height what’s the standard width because you want to make this investment and then all of a sudden the color is no longer red it’s green and now the stuff you just bought doesn’t work so it’s going to be interesting

Richard 31:52
Is that coming to you mentioned and touched upon automation um earlier and there’s some potential there I want to delve just a little bit deeper on that with charging vehicles is still a manual process in itself currently um there is a scope for automation be it the ports the dealerships what sort of road map do you foresee playing a part and you know also I’ve done some research and found that there’s companies exploring wireless technology and wireless charging inductive charging systems is this part of Chargie’s plans or is this part of part of industries plans and what’s the sort of timeline and roadmap looking like for that

Zach 32:36
What really comes down to is that getting everyone to agree on a standard so that they can deploy this type of technology like you said there is induction charging that you know hopefully will come up eventually you pull up into a parking spot you don’t touch anything there’s a pad on your vehicle pad underneath the concrete and it just starts charging automatically so that would be a perfect scenario one of the big issues with that is the efficiency of that you lose about 10 percent and when you start looking at scale losing 10 across all vehicles charging at any given time becomes a massive loss of energy so they’re continuing to advance it but even when they do get it up to a high enough standard it’s going to be really getting everyone to agree that okay this is the pad you put on your vehicle this is where you locate it and this is the way it communicates so that’s where it really comes down to interoperability in general is becoming more and more of a question if anyone has an ev they would understand this that a lot of cars exclude tesla because theirs is all within their own network but if you have a say a Nissan leaf you go to a charger you might not have a membership to that charger or an rfid tag so most cv drivers you open up their glove box you’ll see five or six membership cards because they’re not interoperable you need to be a member of all these different things so the future and this is where everything is starting to head to is interoperability where you just have your vehicle you plug it in there’s a standard called iso 1511.8 where the vehicle can actually communicate to the charger through the plug to identify itself authenticate and move forward with charging so it becomes a seamless process that’s where it really has to go similar to gas stations you don’t think about having a membership you tap your credit card and start putting gas in it needs to be that simple and you know there’s a lot of people from the other side that push back and say that’s never going to get corrected you know how could it possibly be solved but in the scheme of things we’re still in the infancy of evs it’s just getting started so in general there’s going to be a lot of development in the next five 10 years as things scale up and there will be you know some learning curves and some roadblocks but I think everyone’s motivated enough at this point especially with the incentives and all the push to get you know uh clean vehicles out on the roads that hopefully they can cut down the red tape and accelerate it and everyone can agree on a standard

Richard 34:43
That’s a pretty strong message there and we’re getting pretty close to time so sort of final question really is we’ve covered a lot of ground but what’s the what’s the key piece of advice um that you’d like our audience to kind of take away as we saw from my failed poll earlier no one is preparing for electric vehicles here in this room but what’s the key piece of advice you can give to get them on that journey

Charles 35:11
Piggybacking on Zach and some of the things I said before I think there needs to be some standardization some norms and some of the standardizations don’t really require any mega uh thought okay 35 or 40 and customer deliver is 35 or whatever so if everybody agrees that we’re going to ship them at this much and this much is acceptable for the customer delivery that that gives us something that we can now calculate he can help me figure out how many chargers I need based on that information but today we just don’t know and so we just need to have some standardization uh another potential solution is what they call battery as a service which means you would buy the car and you lease the battery but then that means that those batteries are interchangeable but that would also fix the port process because if a vehicle came in and let’s just say I know that 100 vehicles are coming in and they need to leave 100 state of charge I can have 100 batteries here charging when they come in you swap them it takes five minutes and they get out but what that require standardization yes it will require a big charging facility but that’s also a solution to what Biden’s talking about what they’re saying if you drive across if your battery’s at least batteries you pull in and just boom boom five minutes they swap and you keep driving so in all of those instances standardization is the requirement

Richard 36:32
Final comments?

Zach 36:33
Uh I would say the main thing is to start preparing sooner than later you can right now with timing keeping an eye on what the available incentives and rebates are is a great opportunity to get that infrastructure in uh either for free or at a low cost so I would say the main thing is to not wait until it’s absolutely necessary but plan ahead so that when the time does come, you’re ready for it

Richard 36:55
Fantastic! So plenty of opportunities plenty of information so I want to say thank you very much to my panel Charles Franklin, Zach Jennings

Resident Experience: Keeping Your Properties Competitive with Top Technology

Chargie CEO, Zach Jennings, unveils his tips on how to keep properties up to date with the latest EV technology at Retcon 2022. He highlights Chargie’s turnkey solutions for all multifamily and commercial property needs as well as the EV incentives that come with EV charger installation. With the growing implementation of EVs, Zach stresses the importance of simplicity, intelligence, and reliability, when it comes to the best EV charging station and how with Chargie all three of those aspects can be ensured. Check it out and learn how to stay ahead of the game!




Intro 0:00
Experience is definitely a huge theme today. Clearly super important to all of us who have residents. So really excited to dive further into that discussion with a great panel focus specifically on that. Please join me in welcoming Mr. Jason Guardini Anil Singh, Zach Jennings Dave McGinnis and Shlomi Ronan.

Speaker 0:28
All right, good morning, everybody. We’re gonna kick off the panel. With everybody making introductions, I think you’ve heard a lot about different technologies today. We have a mixed panel here of both technology providers and owners of real estate to really discuss how to implement technology both from a user experience but also from an owner management and cost efficiency experience to help streamline operations in particularly the multifamily space. So, with that, why don’t we start in the end and everyone introduce themselves?

Jason 1:04
Jason Guardini, Senior Vice President of it for saris Regis group, just like it says on the picture, we do third party property management for multifamily apartments, commercial, industrial, and we’re also a buyer builder and seller at that same market

Speaker 1:19
how many units

Jason 1:21
were right now at about 100. And we’re at 26,000 units 120 properties.

Zach 1:28
Zach Jennings, CEO of Chargie, we’re a turnkey EV charging provider based here in Los Angeles. We do the entire process from sales, installation engineering, ongoing brake fix maintenance, we run the network communications, the mobile app and technology through one point of contact for the entire experience to make it very easy on the property owners are currently also servicing Washington, Arizona, Nevada, and Texas as well.

David 1:51
David McGinnis, a head of business development at a company called open path or an access control provider, typically deployed at perimeter and common area entrances for your residents, as well as through integrations to the wireless locks on the apartment unit doors.

Anil 2:10
Anil Singh, Vice President of Technology at Veritas investments, we are owner and operator of multifamily assets in San Francisco in Los Angeles, about 350 buildings, 7500 units growing rapidly in San Francisco and Los Angeles belt.

Speaker 2:30
So we’ve heard a lot about different technologies that are out there today. And this for you and Neil and, Jason, let’s start out with just kind of talking about how you think about implementing new technology. What’s the what’s driving that decision today? Is it more of the user experience is a cost savings is a little both? Jason, maybe we’ll start with you.

Jason 2:54
Well, I think the drive comes from, you know, where technology sits today, technology used to be kind of a commercial base, right? You saw your cool technology commercial, now it’s all consumer base. So you know, somebody walks in, they want a door lock, right, they want something they can control with their phone. So it’s a mix of driving from the consumer end, but also driving from the business end of you know, some of these technologies help us save money, you know, you get smart thermostats, and you put those in, and you can save a lot of money down the road. So it’s a, I think it’s a mix of both that really drives it. And what we choose to put out in the properties. Now as being third party property management a little different, we inherited a lot of technology, with some of that, and a lot of retrofitting on that end.

Speaker 3:41
Anil what about you?

Anil 3:42
I’ll add on to what Jason said, we also look at gaps on what resident may be needing or what they want, with pandemic working from their apartments is really key. So how we can help them. People are struggling with rent payment, how we can help them. So yes, how do we use the consumerization of technology to help them with, you know, with the door locks or dog walking service or laundry, but at the same time, how we can help them really help them pay rent on a flexible payment plan, if they can, how we can help them build their credit, you know, credit rating by paying the rent on time. So we are also looking from that point of view.

Speaker 4:30
So Can each of you maybe talk about a technology that you guys recently assessed and are implementing? what’s worked, what didn’t work?

Jason 4:41
Well, for us, the pandemic really drove, you know, being able to show your apartment remotely. And we had a lot of we hadn’t rolled anything out on our communities yet. We were just starting take a look at it. And we had a lot of innovative managers and leasing agents that were actually walking around FaceTime I mean, with potential clients shown it, or they started making their own videos. So that was one of the ones we really quickly realized we needed to roll out and will out pretty quickly and find a technology. And I don’t know if you guys saw was in a heather Wallace earlier, her and I work together she’s working with me, we kind of took the same approach is where you know, when evaluated, you know, three vendors and took a look and, you know, tried a bunch out. And then we found some of our other properties already had some that had the third properties we evaluated from that. And now we’re, we’re really pushing that technology really drove that. So,

Speaker 5:36
and with the impacts of the pandemic reduce today, are you finding that residents are still gravitated to gravitating towards using the virtual tours? And is it is it, kind of a key element of the of the marketing process?

Jason 5:52
Yeah, it is. People want that they want that flexibility, you know, when we’re closed or you know, be able to go with those locks and stuff. My, my daughter is visiting right now from Seattle, and the other day, she went to go check out an apartment and the people weren’t there. You know, she had a she had a time slot. They weren’t there was in Seattle when a management company, but they didn’t show up, you know, and had that been a Smart Lock situation, you know, where they could go in and have a time slot and be able to open it, she would have saw that. And they actually ended up renting somewhere else. So, I think that demand is really out there. And it’s useful for us, I mean,

Speaker 6:30
so, you’ve taken it to the point where somebody is going online, doing a virtual tour, putting in their information, so that you can verify them before giving them access to the building and then giving them access to certain buildings, so they can walk through and, and touch it.

Jason 6:44
Yeah, we have a couple locations, especially in the cities high rise where that’s it’s really useful for us to get in and do that. So not all, we evaluate where it’s going to work best, you know, we’ve got some we like to say senior citizen about age properties where, you know, really doesn’t make sense to put that in, that’s not going to happen.

Speaker 7:06
It’s interesting, Anil, what about you, you mentioned, credit and rent payments.

Anil 7:12
So I’ll give maybe three examples where we have deployed technology and measure the success of what’s working what’s not, it’s, it’s very important as you are looking to deploy anything, especially if it’s a resident, faced, make sure you know how you’re going to measure it. Otherwise, residents may or may not even use it. So touching on rent payments and making it flexible for residents. So they can make rent payments as a payment plan. And not only that build your credit while making the rent payments.

Speaker 7:49
So somebody wants to pay rent weekly, they can pay rent weekly?

Anil 7:52
yes. And we have lots of gig workers who have, you know, inconsistent income stream. So, we look at their income stream, and we develop a payment plan for them. So, they can pay different amounts on different weeks, and they still make the full month payment. So that’s one not only we allow them to make flexible payments. Every time they make payments, we report it to the credit bureau, and they are able to build their credit history. This is something unheard of. And even I wasn’t I was skeptical. But it’s working great. How many rent payment company will allow you to report your rent payment to credit bureau not many, we do that into the success. Another example is we are allowing our residents to pay their rent on credit card or a different credit card and earn rewards points on them. You know, so you are paying, let’s say $3,000 in San Francisco, you are earning 3000 worth of points on your credit card payments. And with a zero-transaction fee. So, one of the key things is how do you make rent payment without transaction fee? And we are we are making that happen. So that second example is the cost of the transaction costs being borne by you know, it’s borne by the credit card companies.

Speaker 9:19
So, they’re allowing you as the merchant to charge rent without any transaction fee in order to get the acquisition of the of the renter.

Anil 9:27
Yes. And during pandemic when we didn’t have this credit card. We allowed residents to charge the rent on the credit card. But we ate that cost to residents who are suffering so we didn’t want to pass any more costs to them. So, we add that cost. But after we implemented this credit card, now it’s not borne by us, or the residents is borne by the credit card company. So

Speaker 9:53
you’re still allowed to use whatever credit card to pay rent or you just this is the only car that they’re allowed.

Anil 9:58
They can use it as a normal credit card, they can do grocery shopping and pay make rent payments

Speaker 10:04
if they have like an American Express card or something else, can they use? Can they still use that? And you still give them the option?

Anil 10:09
Yes, if they use any other card, then there is a transaction fee associated with the transaction.

Speaker 10:14
Yes, to Yeah, yeah. Okay.

Anil 10:16
So that’s the second example on helping residents. Third one. We have residents who do laundry, we are making the laundry, a smart laundry. So, it’s, it’s app controlled. And you can lock the laundry. So, you don’t have to worry about your laundry being stolen, or somebody opening your laundry. And that’s your success in seeing lots of success, too.

Speaker 10:41
That’s amazing. So, talking about the user experience, Zach and David. Both of you have technologies that you’re implementing to help building owners make their properties more attractive and more current with the current demands and needs of residents. So, Zach, can we start with you? I mean, car recently electric cars are proliferating. How are you guys being able to manage and help support the demand for electric charging in these older buildings.

Zach 11:15
So, we are installation, our method, we focus on what’s called the bookends to places you’re gonna have the longest well periods, there’s gonna be where you work. And when you move single family homes, it’s not an issue because you can put your own charger in your garage. But when you start talking, apartment buildings multifamily, that’s up to the property owner. So, our key to getting into these properties is one to make sure that we keep it incredibly low cost, we leverage incentives, rebates, whatever locally is available to help lower the cost of installation, since we are the entire turnkey process that allows us to make this a very seamless experience. So, we have a sales single point of contact from a selling point all the way to the end, when it’s commissioned, and then it gets passed on to the property management, we even then train the property managers on our system, so they’re aware of it. But the way we look at it is we we really focus on three aspects, simple, intelligent, reliable, if you can hit those, you’re gonna make everyone happy, you want it to be easy for the driver to have a good experience with the property manager not have one extra thing to manage and deal with. So, we have a very simple platform that they can see it all. And if they don’t want to ever log in there, they can reach out to us. And we can help make any adjustments necessary. Often the intelligence side, you need to have the technology to do things like load management, if any of your properties have demand, demand builds on top of the electric consumption, those can be very high. And sometimes you know more than half of the bill is just those demands. So, we have the technology that allows us one to put more chargers in by load managing them. And then also if you do have a demand issue, we can cap the system at certain timeframes to allow and make sure that you don’t have too much expense that then runs up those demand charges. And because like I said earlier, we have long dwell periods, we have more than enough time to allocate the power throughout the evening, when people are home to make sure everyone gets a charge. Not everyone needs to get a full charge rent at 5pm when they plug in, if they’re going to be there for 12 hours. And then the last part is just reliability. It just needs to work if it’s not working. It’s not acceptable. The EV industry gets charging industry specifically, it’s a pretty bad rap for the reliability of the hardware. So, we’re really focused on making sure with redundant communication, failsafe’s everything we can on our site to make sure that that driver always gets to charge it used to be an amenity, it’s now becoming a utility. It’s something someone needs to get to work the next day. So, we’re really focused on making sure that that experience is consistent and reliable for the drivers.

Speaker 13:33
Can you talk a little bit more, give me a little bit more detail about the cost model what it was a cost for the owner who pays for service how it works?

Zach 13:41
So currently, depending on the utility and the property’s location, there are incentives and rebates in place. So, for an example, here in Los Angeles, you can get up to 40 chargers installed in your property at zero cost that is $200,000, that DWP covers of the cost that covers the entire installation, zero cost to the property owner. And we actually have the capability to install ahead of that rebate and then carry the float until the rebate comes in so that we can get those chargers deployed even quicker. And then on top of that, we have a very low-cost model where we just take a little bit of the consumption revenue, so many of it’s not being used, you’re not having to pay for it, we have a couple of different models, obviously, we want to have flexibility depending on the situation. But we are able to tie the fees that come to us to the consumption so that if we do install 40 chargers, and you don’t have the adoption your garage, but we can get them installed for free now because of rebates. It allows you to get those in and then not have a huge recurrent fee until as a process builds up, you’ll just get a little bit of that consumption revenue will go toward invest to cover customer service, warranty, break, fix credit card transactions, all those aspects of the system, but it’s all controlled by us to make it a single point of contact

Speaker 14:55
and do the owners participate in in the revenue above cost as well?

Zach 15:01
And we are very open with the pricing model. So, the property owner decides the price so they can look at their electric bill and set whatever electric rate they would like. So, we leave that in the property owner’s hands. So they we always recommend, because it’s more of an amenity, you want to keep it pretty much breakeven make a little bit, maybe on it, but you want to be price gouging your residents, because EV drivers are pretty smart and aware of what the pricing looks like out there, just saying our gas driver knows what gas looks like, pull to a gas station, it’s $12, you’re gonna say this is crazy and go somewhere else. So same thing with electric vehicles. If you price gouge, it does create resistance and lower utilization. So, we always recommend to keep it just a little bit in there for yourself.

Speaker 15:40
And most of your installations in older buildings, newer buildings?

Zach 15:45
We prefer honestly to go into retrofits and the reason being is that we can come in there and just get it done very quick new construction we do as well. But if anyone has done new construction, it’s a very time-consuming process from the engineering construction, permitting, filing, getting it see a vote. So that can be multiple years. So, we like to come into properties know what’s available, we maximize what we can put based on the infrastructure in the property, we don’t like to pull a new service unless we have to, because that could add up to six months to a year and hundreds of 1000s of dollars potentially. So, what we always target is what do you have available now? How can we maximize the utilization of that infrastructure and be very efficient with the technology to allow that to help manage the power so that you’re able to have more ports and chargers in that via that garage without having to upgrade the infrastructure because of IT management?

Speaker 16:35
Sign me up.

Jason 16:37
I think it was number three on the apartments.com search to write electric charging

Zach 16:41
correct and as time has come on, you know finally the inflection point with EV drivers starting to more manufacturers making vehicles available to EV drivers. So now it’s becoming the top because like you’re saying Jason top three, most searched item on rent.com is to check that box to say does, is that building have EV charging available. So, it is becoming definitely a necessity, as things progress.

Speaker 17:06
So, David, there’s so many different electrical locks. And I guess mechanical locks out there talk about the pain point that you guys saw and how you’re your kind of solving it for both residents and building owners.

David 17:19
Yeah, so. So open path being an access control provider, we approach the technology a little differently than most of the access control providers out there. Because we’re using the power of cloud computing, and we focus on a mobile experience. And so that really ties into that resident experience, right? Resident experience today is mostly mobile, because you can interact with the property with your, with the community in a different way, right more intimately. And what we found was, there’s an expectation, and there’s actually a third COVID the pandemic It drove a need, right that I can do things in the building will be responsive to me, right. So, my ability to not just only unlock doors from or into the parking garage, and then into the elevator and then up to my unit or an amenity space, but the ability for me to make reservations, right. So, during the pandemic, if you’re enforcing and your fitness centers, capacity management, right, for social distancing, you could enable that reservation through the app, and that app would turn on your access privileges into that gym. Right, it would turn on prior reservation and it’ll expire. We also discovered that, you know, Jason, your, your daughter had this experience the the need or the expectation for self-touring, right. So, if I’m a resident of the future, and I’m going through a process, jeez, it would be nice for me, it will unlock the doors that I need to unlock all the way to that apartment unit. So, I can see the one that’s available. And I’m keenly interested in. So that was a secondaria. What’s behind the scenes is the power of the cloud computing is it gives you as an owner operator, the ability to scale your system, right. So, you might start and deal with, you know, in a in a vintage class B property might just be that main entry point to get into the building. But over time, you can just add more and more entries to it, right. And because it’s cloud, it just, it’s just a matter of, you know, flipping a switch. The second thing we find with Cloud is it just makes you more nimble, you can push updates out in real time. Right? So that means that as you’re adapting to new expectations, or new requirements that the markets presenting, you have a means of doing that. It’s not a Oh, geez, this old system that we have running on a Microsoft computer in my office, how the heck am I going to get that to do what I need it to do? Through the cloud, that pushes out as soon as it’s available, it’s on your system. So those are kind of the keyways and, you know, our approach to the to the market today and that can extend from new construction or retrofits extend from those primary entry points at the perimeter, and then more and more we’re finding all the way to the apartment unit lock because you want that and you expect that seamless experience, right? I never have to reach into my pocket to pull out another key or another FOB. It’s everything I can do is on my phone, or if I want to continue to use a fob, it’s on the fob.

Speaker 20:11
So, are you guys telling the software and the hardware?

David 20:15
Yes, the great question. So, for open path, we’re both a hardware and a software platform or hardware, or the access control readers, those wired access points. And those readers and all the electrified door hardware, the electric strikes, or the mag locks, they wire back to an open path panel, just like access control works today. And throughout the industry, our hardware is a little smarter, we’ve done some innovative things like put cameras into the readers itself. So now you have the ability to see who’s on the other side of that door, you can, you might want that for real time, before you unlock it, you might want it for after the fact in case you need to do some sort of investigation or analysis. We’ve also built voice AI, and to some of our readers. So now that reader will actually engage with you. Right? And so, you can it will help you connect you, especially if you’re a visitor or delivery person to connect you with your host automatically.

Speaker 21:09
And so, are you finding the most of these implementations are in existing buildings or newer buildings? How have you guys been scaling up your, your implementation?

David 21:19
Yeah, that’s a fair question. So, the kind of the short responses were applicable in both, but what we find is there’s so much more inventory that’s in operation today, that that’s the biggest part of the biggest opportunity of the market. And we find that there, you know, as owners or operators are trying to pivot trying to adapt. They’re realizing that technology investments they made, you know, 510 1520 years ago, just can’t meet what the market needs today what that new baseline is. So that’s been you know, where a lot of the a lot of our attraction has been, but new construction is also important. Yes, it does take a long time to get a building out of the ground and to deliver. But it’s, you know, you’re planting seeds for the future.

Anil 22:02
Yeah, if I may add just one point to what David just said. So, whenever we deploy a technology for resident, we measure the adoption of it. I mean, that’s the key. And we measured adoption of resident facing application, one that had access to door control system where you can open the door through to your mobile device. And the other set of buildings had just a resident tap, but no mobile access to the doors. The one with no access control, enabled mobile app, the adoption in the he started with like 10% adoption, but dropped to like zero after month to one with Smart Access Control stared at more than 90%. So, if you give residents real value, where they can really open a door, through mobile device, let their guests in through mobile device, adoption stays extremely high. But one where you just let them pay your rent or do other things. It often stays low, and many drop to zero in many, many buildings. So, it’s very important that these things are being asked and demanded by the steps.

Jason 23:12
Yeah, I agree with that, too. When you’re searching like the smart locks, I’m sure we notice, you got to take a look at what the what the smart locks do. Because you can wind up with some technology that really doesn’t do what you want work, and you’ll end up replacing it. So definitely ask all the questions like with charging, what do you do if a resident or if the power dies? So those sorts of things? So definitely check those out.

David 23:35
Yeah. And then Neil, to your point on the on the app engagement, right, long term adoption and utilization without question, you’re right. unlocking doors is the single highest use utility, right that an app can provide because you’re unlocking doors many times every day, I’m paying rent, probably once a month, maybe through your package, I can do it weekly. But yeah, but that’s the you know, that’s where we find people. They’ll explore the app more because they’re in it right every day. And you can continue to introduce new capabilities, new features that just enhance the value of that resident.

Jason 24:08
Yeah, for maintenance as well. That’s really keys, having the smart locks on and being able to, you know, have a maintenance guy get a time window. And a lot of the systems are working with the ERPs to where you can schedule that work order and have it unlocked. And that time went on, they’ll come into the into the unit.

Speaker 24:23
And he’ll talk about kind of how you think about the investment because all this technology requires investment except for zego, where we’re getting that for free pretty much. But most of the technology there’s obviously a cost both capital outlay but sometimes also an investment in time and energy to just implement it and get it through the system. With so many new technologies out there. How are you narrowing what you focus on and what kind of returns metrics are you thinking about in order to make that investment

Anil 25:00
Yeah, so investments is the key decision we look at all time. First of all, we try to identify the gaps to figure out what really gives the value. And these days lots of applications are being built, like, you can buy them and integrate it. So, we are looking at that as well. And in San Francisco, especially in San Francisco, you cannot pass the cost to resident. So, it has to be borne by the landlords. So, we look at not in terms of what it’s costing us versus what we can pass to residents, we look at in terms of return some and hire leasing velocity. So, we use those as a metrics to measure. But at the same time, when we are looking at what values we need to provide, we are asking residents, we are doing surveys, we are learning from other owners and operators to really stay in sync with where the market is moving, you know, and we are solving problems that will really help the resident right. So, as I said, flexible payment, pay on the credit card and earn rewards. When residents move in another example is moving is in a very experienced, sorry, stressful experience. How do we streamline so if somebody is moving from let’s say, New York to LA or San Francisco? How do we streamline their experience and how we can enable this experience through mobile? So, we are looking listening, listening to all the vendors and piloting the technology, one of the things we do really well, because we have more than 350 buildings, we, if we like a piece of technology, or a solution, we can pilot on five buildings or 10 buildings, and really see what that option is and really see what the value is. So, the sort of key, you know, proposition for us is pilot quickly. On buildings, we like to pilot and see the benefit. And is it really solving a problem or not? So, we are really measuring the adoption KPIs. So that’s kind of how we do things.

Jason 27:09
Yeah, for us, you know, we do the same as well, but for us to its capital, right, having that capital expense upfront for, hey, we’re going to rip out all the locks 100%. So, we really look at solutions and partners who kind of do you know, as I was saying, look for the rebates look for the options and look for a partner like on the locks and smart things that will say, you don’t have to do it in 800 units, we’ll work with you. And we’ll do it as you use your NOC natural occupancy and retrofit as you move along, and not have to do it up front, because that really cuts down on the capital costs of doing that. And same thing, we pilot five properties will generally couple different options before we decide to do and then look at, alright, this is a solution that helps out not only the resident, but also it can help us out in our operations ends as well, when we look at technology and the demand.

Speaker 27:58
So, Jason, for somebody that’s in the audience or in the audience thinking about a new development, what are the is there like a shortlist of must technologies that are kind of top of mind that you would suggest that they implement or plan on implementing

Jason 28:17
Chargie for electric vehicles? Definitely, but and having the smart units, right? You don’t have to go for the full-blown smart units where you’ve got everything in there, you know, command, but I mean, just think of the basics, right? What do people want, they want the thermostats, they want the door, you know, everything, you don’t need a fridge that talks to you and all that when you do but you know, just I would want the basics on there. Because, you know, it’s nice to have when you build but you know, 5-10 years down the line, they’re gonna be looking at retrofitting and, and replacing what they put in. And so, you want to be cutting edge but not bleeding edge. And you know overbilled for that. So, I recommend it. But new construction is so hard, though, I would agree with these guys. He’s in for us, like, you know, they’ll come in and ask me, and then you know, they get out into the field, and they’ll just do whatever they want. And there’s, there’s, you know, 10 or 15 different guys, and they’re pulling different strings. So retrofitting is easier. I agree.

David 29:16
Yeah, so for new construction, kind of the feedback that we hear from owners or developers, you know, there’s kind of attributes of technology that are important to them, they’ve learned through time, and, and through, maybe sometimes going down the wrong path. That kind of the three key things are think mobile, right. So there has to be a way to tie into a great mobile experience for your residents. You probably want to be cloud based, because that facilitates again, that nimbleness that the ability to pivot where an on-premises system doesn’t allow you to do that quite as easily as elegantly. And then third would just be that they’re open platforms, right. So, API, and so on application programming. interface so that each system can talk to each other. And you may not have any use case for that today, but there’s going to be one that emerges, and you want to able to tap into that API in order to be able to deliver that. So that’s, you know, those are kind of the three I’m curious if that’s, if that’s part of the thinking, as you’re looking, evaluating different vendors is that

Jason 30:21
Yeah, yeah cloud-based api access is different you know definitely something we look for if you want to integrate with all your systems right because we’re we’re going to go out we’re going to choose the best of breed you know too many companies try to do everything right it just doesn’t work out because they just wind up not doing anything well so if you find the best of breed with good apis and they’re cloud-based and you know even from the construction standpoint you know when we when i work with some of our builders we’ll you know mention hey think about the building infrastructure and you know everything’s wireless now so you think you don’t have to you know connect the buildings but you actually do when it comes down to technology so one way or another you know even with you go you got to go with the new cellular technology they still want to link your buildings and unfortunately some of that is still hardwire so always think of that

Speaker 31:09
Interesting, i had a good question but forgot about it. Anil, again you talked about rent you talked about um door locks anything what’s what’s next that you’re looking at how important is integration quite frankly i think that’s what i was going to ask is with your existing systems and are residents getting app fatigue yet?

Anil 31:38
Yeah, no integration is key if you are looking at a vendor and if they cannot integrate look somewhere else for resident you don’t want them to go to five different apps to do five different things so seamless one app if possible experience is the key to answer the second part of the question about what we are looking at next uh you know uh if you think about resident you know for us security of the residents is very important so not only smart access to the locks but also security feed into the camera so they can see their units they can see the lobby they can see when their packets are being delivered and being in San Francisco downtown area getting a package delivered and having it safe in your lobby is extremely important so we are looking at partners who can keep your packets until you pick them up so that area is also growing fast uh we are piloting with a vendor uh on how that works

Speaker 32:51
Is. That something different than the amazon lockers?

Anil 32:54
yeah, we have amazon lockers too uh but sometimes amazon lockers they would
put it in your lobby and that doesn’t look do well so plus if somebody is getting a furniture delivered that won’t fit there

Speaker 33:08
That won’t fit in the locker

Jason 33:10
We feel the same with that, they just don’t get used

Anil 33:14
Exactly, exactly so how do you have it safely stored until the resident picks it up you know and resident these days could be anywhere, they could be in Hawaii when their package is delivered so how do you keep it safe for a week or two so these are the areas we are exploring

Speaker 33:31
Are the deliveries companies cooperating in terms of coming in and looking at the different systems?

Anil 33:38
Yes. Yeah, and this area is again evolving very fast one thing we are noticing in proptech is new ideas are coming from all over the place and if you are if you want to build your experience for residents and provide them services you will have lots of options you know so look at what’s available what works for your resident your building and pick the right platform and everything that Jason and David said in terms of integration open apis those are going to be the key you know as i said if they have to go to five different places to do five different things adoption would be not there and you will you know invest in technology or system that wouldn’t work

Jason 34:26
yeah, and just on the open apis like one of the big initiatives we have right now is you know dashboards and reporting and getting that operational data going and that’s one of our big projects of the year so having systems that work with that is key you know that helps us not only with you know resident data but operational data as well

Speaker 34:44
so on the back end you now are able to capture all that data and do some data analytics to be able to determine what are the key drivers of uh the resident experience and make your investments accordingly

Jason 34:56
yeah we started our journey with a different platform that we’re gonna um be sun setting just because it’s not flexible right it doesn’t have all the open apis doesn’t have the flexible reporting doing we’re rolling out a new system that’s built on Microsoft’s power bi and it’s built for the real estate industry and you can basically pull whatever data you want into it right because it’s got an open platform for you to do that and manage and massage that data so that’s key for us in a big initiative and it’s got the full company backing all the way up to our you know major partners

Zach 35:33
Yeah, to add to that, uh in the ev side of the business at least for the charging and data is always incredibly important to us as well that’s what we have a dashboard for the property owners that is an open api that can be integrated into other dashboards as well but the key is we monitor that consumption that usage that utilization to then justify when it makes sense to add more charges or put that next step of investment so you clearly are able to look back at the history and make a rational decision based upon that past experience and what is going on with that property and some properties just naturally will have more utilization than others and when you see it and you can justify the next step you know bring us back in and we lay out the options of what it looks like to continue to expand the system so you’re not forced into a huge upfront cost if you want to do in a modular fashion you can do that by just continuing to add to the system as necessary

Jason 36:22
Yeah, for us its being n third party property management too that’s key because you know we have we live on the fee and that cost per door really eats into that so knowing what that cost per door is with all the different things that we’re running is so key into our profitability

Speaker 36:41
Zach are you guys integrated into the billing systems or do you have your own separate billing system billing that goes out to the to the tenant how does that work?

Zach 36:49
uh we have both options right now the primary is our own billing system just because of the way that it works from the charging side it’s easier for us to have full control over the systems but we do also have the availability to integrate with other payment systems so like you’re saying before you don’t get overburdened with too many apps we have the ability to integrate to an app that necessary so that our charging initiation functions can be triggered from some other app without even having to be a part of our ecosystem

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