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TECH THAT WORKS TOGETHER


C-SUITE TECH INSIGHTS:


INDUSTRY LEADERS TALK WORKFORCE, ROI, TRENDS


Kai Hsiao CEO Eclipse Senior Living


While the use of technology has in-


creased in our platform, it’s been more back-of-house vs. front-of-house. Therefore, the need for an onsite Community Technol- ogy Director is low. Besides, today’s resident base is much


more technology savvy than before. If the technology is not user-friendly, the likelihood of adoption would be minimal, and that’s not something we would invest in or provide. The back-of-house technology is central-


ized through our home offi ce—our in-house IT department leads the development, main- tenance, and support, while our in-house train- ing department leads the rollouts and updates. Jumping on my soap box, one reason tech-


nology hasn’t been leveraged more in the senior living space is lack of clarity around return on investment. Senior living is a real estate-developer-driven industry, so tech- nology is seen as a cost, and therefore im- pacts net operating income and initial rates of return. Said another way, owners/developers


see technology as a burden to the commu- nity profi t and loss, not a driver of EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortization). On the fl ip side, technology vendors have done a poor job to date of showing what the ROI is for their product. How does it increase occupancy or improve length of stay? Until both sides can clearly see the ROI upside, technology will continue to be a hard sell.


Aaron D'Costa Chief Strategy Offi cer


Solvere Living While we aren’t yet contemplating a


change to the staffi ng model, we are shifting the job descriptions of the activities director, concierge, business offi ce manager, and even maintenance staff , to ensure we are hiring individuals with some basic IT skills. That way, they can help with getting devices pur- chased by residents or their families installed and troubleshoot when called upon. We are also augmenting our activity-based


programming with more tech classes and hosting Genius Bar-type sessions for resi- dents struggling with tech issues. And we are exploring whether having our own version of on-call technology help will be a revenue en- hancement opportunity in the coming years. We believe the best solution in the future


will be a collaborative eff ort that involves lo- cal vendors who have the expertise and ca- pacity to handle these issues, and potentially even utilizing more creative solutions where appropriate, such as app-based services that are part of the gig economy. We should be looking at trends in the


multi-family space to get our cues for what is coming. The industry is only scratching the surface of creating smart homes out of each apartment. There is so much on the horizon—from ordering goods and services, to controlling lighting and temperature, to managing health and nutrition, all from a network of smart devices. What we haven’t been able to achieve in brand diff erentia- tion in the past can now be a reality for those willing to make the commitment.


12 SENIOR LIVING EXECUTIVE JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2020


Jesse Marinko CEO and Founder


Phoenix Senior Living


Any investment in subject matter experts


allows you a better opportunity to create the engagement or outcome the customer is ex- pecting, no matter the subject. Diversifi ed engagement is the next evo-


lution in programming and the expecta- tion of the consumer, both residents and families, for the future. We are currently handling technology


through both centralized services and ven- dor outsourcing; we’re outsourcing to some specialists and conducting our own engage- ment with our staff . We are already seeing a ton of fi rms out


there, like Eversound, who are fi nding nich- es to better provide specifi c engagement activities. I think fi rms that focus solely or specialize


in some phase of engagement, whether this is physical, spiritual, emotional, or something else, will likely provide higher engagement than would the traditional generalist. I think we all are still in the exploration


phase. The consumer is evolving along with the expectations and needs. One thing for sure, tech will only continue


to intertwine itself in every facet of our busi- ness, so the need to manage and support it will be necessary. I look forward to this innovation and spe-


cialization, as it will result in better outcomes and engagement for our seniors.


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