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Transplant, an interactive website, tells you where people are moving

[REAL ESTATE TECHNOLOGY] COVID-19 has been stated as the number 1 reason why people are moving; this interactive map gives you a picture of where and why people are moving.

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graph of popular states to move to

Location, location, location. That’s a lot of what it used to be about, right? Most people either liked their hometown and stayed there to work or moved away to attend college or work in another city.

Post college, many of us based our locations on work opportunities. You may have landed in one of the largest cities like Chicago, New York, or Los Angeles if you were working in Media, Entertainment, or Finance. The San Francisco/Bay Area also had a ton of appeal if you wanted beautiful weather and to work in Tech. Then in the mid-2000s to now, there were certain cities that young people wanted to flock to for the work and lifestyles: Austin, Denver, Portland, Seattle and Nashville to name a few.

Since March 2020, many employees and companies have been working remotely. While working remotely (or working from home) isn’t necessarily a new concept (many people have been doing it for years since smartphones and laptops became normal work gear), we just haven’t really seen it on this scale before.

A normal “telecommuting” of the past was maybe work from home one to two days a week and be in the office for a majority of team meetings outside of travel obligations. Many companies are reporting that their productivity has not suffered due to their entire workforce working from home (because let’s be real, most are not working from coffee shops right now) and many larger tech companies have informed their employees that they will work from home for the remainder of 2020, or even indefinitely like Twitter and Square.

So, if you’re no longer required to be in a physical location, does this open up the opportunity to move to a new city?

Check out this new interactive website, Transplant.to, that collects data from folks about what cities they are moving out of, where are they moving to, and why. Some fun stats (keep in mind it requires user-generated content so will not be 100% factual because not everyone is reporting):

“Number 1 reason for moving? COVID.

Average miles that people are moving: 831 miles

Most popular city to move to (and move from): NYC

If you are moving, it’s interesting to see the data they are collecting on people’s why:

  • Want to live with family
  • Family friendly
  • Laid off
  • Growing a family
  • Rent is too expensive
  • Closer to family
  • More housing options
  • Can work remotely
  • COVID

If you’re not moving, you can also submit data around where you’re located and what your reasons for staying put are:

  • Rent is cheap
  • Happy with where you are living
  • COVID

There is no option to say maybe you aren’t moving because you are a homeowner and have no interest in trying to sell right now and/or you don’t know if your employer will call you back to the office so it may seem a little early to pull that trigger to move away.

But that brings up the next question – will companies start letting their employees know that it is OK to relocate and keep their jobs since there are no current plans to return to a physical office? Or will many relocate because they lost their job so there’s not a compelling enough reason to stay in that particular location? If that is the case, can we expect lots more data on this site to show people moving around the country?

It will also be really interesting to see what cities people land in because that means those cities had some kind of appeal (work opportunities or other?). You could predict that some of these will include the more “up and coming” and smaller cities (like those listed in AFAR’s The Best Small Cities in the United States in 2020) such as Reno, Savannah, Naples, and Santa Fe. However, according to the data, it looks like people might also be moving back to where they have family.

There are some companies that have let their employees know and it seems intuitive that some people may want to leave cities where cost of living is high and they could make a nice life in another city. This doesn’t come without some criticism, though.

Facebook, for example, has received some flak for saying they would explore cutting employee salaries to match the cost of living to the new cities they move to. From the employee side, it makes a more appealing case to take your high salary to a city with a better cost of living than stay in your apartment or home where it’s expensive and you can’t even get out and enjoy the city right now.

From the employer side, they are questioning the higher salaries that were normally matched to be competitive and within the cost of living of a city. If their employees no longer need that incentive to say, move to the Bay Area, then they could save money on their bottom line (aka overhead) for human capital.

It almost seems like a pendulum mid-swing. Many people moved to their current location due to work opportunities, but if they are no longer tied to that location, would they consider moving back to be closer to family?

We shall see which way the pendulum swings as we move in to the Fall of 2020. It could definitely look a lot different by 2021, especially after another round of leases are up. Through all the change and challenges, it seems like COVID has made a lot of people reassess what is important in their lives.

Erin Wike is a Career Coach & Lecturer at The University of Texas at Austin and owner of Cafe Con Resume. Erin is fueled by dark roast coffee with cream AND sugar, her loving husband, daughter, and two rescue dogs. She is the Co-Founder of Small Business Friends ATX to help fellow entrepreneurs + hosts events for people to live a Life of Yes with Mac & Cheese Productions.

Real Estate Technology

This tab manager uses AI to organize and focus your web browsing

(TECHNOLOGY) Tabby isn’t the first tab manager we’ve seen, but it is one of the cooler ones. Who wouldn’t want AI to help you organize web browsing?

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Logo for Tabby, a new AI-based tab manager

At one time or another, we have all been a tab hoarder. They start adding up when we are doing research, online shopping, and managing work projects. No matter what it is, we have all let tabs pile up like a stack of dirty dishes. However, several tab manager solutions can help clean up that clutter.

OneTab converts all your tabs into lists that you can later restore individually or all at once. TooManyTabs lets you preview the tabs so you can quickly find what you are looking for. Google Tabs lets you group and color code the tabs for better organization. And now Tabby, an AI-based browser assistant, manages the tabs automatically for you so you are more productive and focused.

“We built it to help everyone navigate on their browser without feeling additional fatigue due to an excess of tabs,” said Merlin Laffitte, one of Tabby’s makers. Because of more online meetings due to the pandemic, Laffitte said that he, along with his colleagues, found it difficult to focus because of the clutter created by the open tabs.

Being in a handful of online meetings myself, I know what he is talking about. Too many open tabs can be distracting and time-consuming. I have heard many people say, “I have the document pulled up.” Then, they can’t find it because it is lost among the ten, twenty, or thirty tabs they have open.

Tabby attempts to solve the pain of tab hoarding by removing unnecessary tabs without a user having to click on anything. In doing so, it makes the browser “focus-friendly.” The way the AI-based plugin works is that it takes into consideration these three main KPIs:

  • The time spent on the tab.
  • The last time you viewed the tab.
  • The frequency of viewing.

Based on these interactions, Tabby scores each tab by relevance, and makes its decision on which tab to close. Whenever a tab is removed from your browser view, Tabby will send you a notification. On the tool’s homepage, you can find the removed tabs and choose whether you would like to restore one. From there, you can also set your preferences to customize Tabby’s behavior. As you continue using it, Tabby will adapt to your habits and learn when to remove a tab when it is not being used.

Tabby is “meant to help you declutter your browser view by removing unnecessary tabs.” Currently, the product has a 5/5 review on Product Hunt, and users seem to like it. With only 25 reviews as of this writing, Tabby is still in its infancy. It’ll be interesting to see how well it does among other tab manager tools as it gains more users.

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Real Estate Technology

This law-tech tool helps tenants navigate eviction notices

(TECHNOLOGY) Law-tech tool Hello Landlord helps struggling tenants meet the eviction moratorium’s rules, but it’s greatest benefit may lie in communication.

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Man seated in trunk of car, head in hands as he considers eviction. New tools may help.

For tenants behind on rent during the pandemic, being shielded from eviction for nonpayment requires strictly following rules in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control’s eviction moratorium that began September 4 and runs through the end of 2020.

Now the makers of website Hello Landlord, which helps tenants give notices to their landlords, have updated their free tool to meet the CDC requirements.

At HelloLandlord.org, tenants submit their information and answer a series of questions, including their landlord’s name and how much money they owe. The site automatically generates a customized letter to the landlord that outlines the tenant’s circumstances and includes a promise to pay the back rent. Tenants also get a declaration document that follows the moratorium order.

In the declaration, tenants must swear they:

  • Earn no more than $99,000 annually (or $198,000 jointly).
  • Can’t pay their rent because of loss of work or extraordinary out-of-pocket medical expenses;
  • Have done their best to get available housing assistance;
  • Would become homeless or have to move into a home with many people, potentially spreading the COVID-19 virus;
  • Will try to make timely partial payments.

No documentation is required, and there are no official forms.

If renters don’t qualify for protection under the new order, the site will create a letter that asks the landlord for flexibility with making rent payments.

Relationships between landlords and renters often start going south because of communication issues. That’s something Hello Landlord’s letters might head off by helping tenants communicate effectively. The letters meet the legal requirements but also sound, well, human, despite being automated. The language is informal, even conciliatory. The tenant empathizes with the landlord – acknowledging that this time is financially hard on them, too – and pledges to work together.

Some sample language: “Although the CDC’s Order may prevent my eviction, I want you to know that I am willing to work with you moving forward during this challenging time.”

Hello Landlord debuted in 2019 and was originally created by SixFifty, a software subsidiary of technology law firm Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati. They collaborated with LawX, the legal design lab at Brigham Young University’s Law School, and the Innovation for Justice (i4J) Program at University of Arizona College of Law to research causes of and solutions to the eviction crisis.

A second tool, HelloLender.org, helps homeowners create letters to their mortgage lenders asking for accommodation in payments under the CARES Act stimulus program.

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Real Estate Technology

Beef up your security against COVID with this new environmental sensor suite

(TECH NEWS) This new security sensor can help protect your company from COVID-19 and monitor the overall health of your building.

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Office setting, with spaced employees for security against COVID.

Verkada, the cloud-based physical security company, is modernizing the world of enterprise building security by enabling customers to proactively respond to COVID-19 in the office.

In June, Verkada introduced its COVID-19 Response Suite. Part of the this release included People Heatmaps. This new feature allows organizations to “identify areas that are prone to overcrowding, and find ways to disperse traffic”. In other words, it helps ensure employees are practicing social-distancing.

This week, Verkada announced the release of its new environmental sensor product line, and its product, SV11. This all-in-one environmental sensor monitors changes that are happening in your physical space. The product is made from photochemically engineered stainless steel mesh that filters out large particles. The integrated sensors measure air quality, temperature, humidity, motion, and noise. Then, all the data is reported back to users for regular monitoring and analysis.

“The SV11 sensor is a cloud-based sensor that seamlessly integrates with the Verkada ecosystem of products,” said Jeff Chase, a product marketing manager for Verkada, in a recent video. “The SV11 can be used across all indoor environments and can meet the needs for a wide range of use cases, including simple remote monitoring of facilities.”

In the security system’s web-based command platform, users can see all the sensors, and can quickly scan real-time data for each location. Live footage and current readings are easy to view. Custom thresholds can be set for each sensor so a user can receive alerts as they happen. This is helpful so you can know when a server room is getting too warm, or when the TVOC (total volatile organic compounds) level is too high.

“Our customers are responsible for the systems that keep facilities online, and our mission is to give those administrators the best possible tools to do their jobs,” said Filip Kaliszan, CEO and co-founder of Verkada. “Whether it be monitoring the status of a server room, the temperature of a patient room in a hospital, or the air quality of a school, the SV11 gives facilities and staff unprecedented visibility and control over the sites they’re responsible for keeping safe and secure.”

With more companies bringing their workforce back into the office, Verkada’s security system can give them visibility on what’s going on at work. And with the valuable information rendered by the sensors, they can gain insights into what they can do to keep their employees safe.

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