18.01.2021 - Article
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innovation@ista: HelloApp brings property managers and tenants together

Digitisation in the property management sector can also be unobtrusive and user-oriented. The HelloApp is ista swiss ag's answer to communication needs in neighbourhoods – from "Who will repair my tap?" and "How much energy have I used?" to "Where can I find a good pharmacy?

How innovative is ista? What ideas is the company involved in? Where are new concepts that optimise housing and property management being developed? In the series innovation@ista we go on a journey around the branches of the real estate service provider – always in search of ideas that benefit tenants, landlords and the environment.

HelloApp brings the neighbourhood together

With the browser-based HelloApp, ista swiss ag has created a platform where tenants can communicate with each other or with the property managers. The network covers in each case one building complex or one neighbourhood and addresses different target groups: property managers use the platform to communicate with their tenants or the tradesmen they have engaged to do work. They give information about upcoming appointments, empty apartments or nearby service providers. Tenants can network and are in contact with the property managers, to whom they can report any repairs necessary. But that's not all - the app raises awareness of the amount of energy used in the building: the data can be accessed online.

Structured like social media

Anybody who opens the HelloApp first lands on a timeline. This is something that users are familiar with from social media channels and enables them to use the app intuitively: external content appears chronologically. The user's own content can be posted directly from the timeline. Messages to the property manager go out as personal messages. In turn, all messages received from other tenants or the property manager can be read in the message inbox. For greater clarity, the app displays unopened messages in green and messages that have already been read in grey. Further functions appear in the right-hand column as tiles.

"The intuitive user interface is an important aspect of this neighbourhood platform: it is what makes the wide variety of complex services usable in the first place," Daniela Quitadamo, Head of Sales at ista swiss ag, explains. "The app brings together all processes and tasks that are important in the management of a property on one virtual notice board – processes from the energy cost bill, requests for repairs and the arrangement of appointments to notes about what is going on in the neighbourhood. However, it only works if the tenants actually join in. And we get them to do so by offering them things they are familiar with in a clear and transparent way."

Information and data from the app

HelloApp is first and foremost a communication platform, but also provides information about relevant dates of events happening in the neighbourhood or news from the region. "It is the administrators who decide what information is shown there," Daniela Quitadamo emphasises. "News from certain media can be integrated via RSS feed. Announcements of the dates of upcoming events or measures are useful when they affect everyone, for example when devices in the apartments are being serviced or replaced or the summer party is about to be held in the neighbourhood. The property managers can also provide emergency numbers and the details of contact persons.

The HelloApp stores files and information on each apartment individually for each tenant.  For example, the digital apartment file collects documents such as tenancy agreements, apartment handover reports or heating cost bills. The digital tenant file is, of course, deleted entirely when the tenant moves out.

Offerings for different needs

HelloApp is the successful attempt to create a digital solution for local property management – and to link it to a neighbourhood network. The app can be adapted to the design of any supplier and thus saves development costs.  The app owner ista is, however, usually still present in terms of the content featured – in the consumption data of the property: an apartment's individual consumption is evaluated in weekly, monthly and annual comparisons with the entire building. This detailed information encourages tenants to save energy and can thus sustainably reduce overall consumption – a further argument in favour of the HelloApp.

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