Rental Tech: Parking Planning Calculators, Washington Apartment Stats, and…Microsoft Office for IOS?

Welcome to Rental Tech, the occasional column where we’ll report on the snazzy tech developments that are changing the ways that we live and work. Whether it’s tools for the landlord or technologies that affect us all, you’ll find it here. After all, tech touches just about everyone, from the apartment hunter to the property manager, (hopefully) making our jobs easier even as it makes apartment living that much more fun.

Screen shot 2013-02-21 at 9.52.41 PMNot sure how many parking spots to plan into your latest apartment project? There’s an app–er, website–for that.

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Cities surrounding Seattle are also included on the site; here’s the coverage area.

So, you’re planning your next apartment building, to be built right here in Seattle. You’ve poured over the zoning rules, planned the units, decided on whether to include commercial space…but what about parking?

How many parking spots you need can differ greatly depending on what area you’re building in. To take some of the guesswork out of parking planning, King County has released, home of the aptly-named Right Size Parking Calculator. Just find your area of Seattle, select your parcel, and “create your scenario” (entering the types and quantities of units you plan to include), and presto: you can view your parking per unit ratio, parking impacts, and more. Check it out here.

FCC considers faster Wi-Fi–yes, please!

Wi-fi: it’s everywhere. Ease of use makes it perhaps the most popular way of connecting to the internet–many new devices come equipped with wi-fi, but not with an ethernet port. But the lingering problem with wi-fi? It’s often much, much slower than plugging in.

That could all change soon, however. The New York Times is reporting that the FCC is moving towards the opening of high-frequency airwaves to “unlicensed devices–” and that means the privately-owned wi-fi routers found in residences, hotels, and public places. Still awaiting final approval, if these airwaves are made available, wi-fi speeds could increase to up to 1 gigabit per second–over 95 times faster than the average speed of current residential wi-fi. Sounds good to us! Read more here.

Want quick access to nationwide apartment market numbers? Check out the new info site from the NAA and NMHC.

Utilizing information from the Census Bureau, the NAA and NMHC have released a comprehensive report on the state of the nation’s apartment market–all in the form of handy infographics at the new website

The site’s homepage shows some quick facts about the apartment market as a whole, with a clickable map of the United States. Clicking on Washington State showed us that there are 0.8 million apartment residents, with $28.7 billion contributed to the state economy–and you can view the data sheet for each state to learn even more. The site is designed to illustrate the positive role the apartment market plays in the nation’s economy–and in the lives of apartment residents. Learn more here.

Microsoft Office is a standard for PCs…but could Office for iPad be in our future?

As the owner of an iPad, there are a lot of times I try to make it work in place of a real laptop (most of this takes place, of course, in coffee shops). When I snap it into its keyboard case, it very nearly does the trick–but let’s face it: there are some essential elements that will have to be added before iPads can really start to compete with PCs. One of those elements, of course, is the ever-vital Microsoft Office.

While Apple has released its word processor, Pages, for the iPad and iPhone, Microsoft has yet to speak on whether it will release a version of Office for IOS any time soon; but at least one analyst thinks it’s on its way. That would be Adam Holt, of Morgan Stanley–and he’s stating that Microsoft may release Office for IOS in 2014, selling it for about $60 for the whole suite. Sweet! This just leads to the question: will the iPad still be as fun when we can access spreadsheets on it? Read more here.

And from the too cool not to share department…this is what we call a booklight!

Screen shot 2013-02-21 at 10.58.04 PMOkay, so this isn’t strictly apartment-market tech news–but it is from one of our favorite blogs for renters, The Lumio looks like a book, feels like a book, even opens like a book…but in fact, it’s a versatile LED light source perfect for any room.

Designed by Max Gunawan, the Lumio’s pages are made out of Tyvek (that crazy-tough paper used in FedEx mailing envelopes), and the light lasts for eight hours before having to be plugged in and charged. Right now, the Lumio is only available on Kickstarter–but they should become more widely available this coming September. Read more here.


One thought on “Rental Tech: Parking Planning Calculators, Washington Apartment Stats, and…Microsoft Office for IOS?

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