Welcome to Bridge the Gap with hosts Josh Crisp and Lucas McCurdy. A podcast dedicated to inform, educate and influence the future of housing and services for seniors. Bridge the Gap aims to help shape the culture of the senior living industry by being an advocate and a positive voice of influence which drives quality outcomes for our aging population.

Why Operators Should Embrace AI with NIC MAP Vision CEO Arick Morton

Arick Morton, Chief Executive Officer at NIC MAP Vision, explains how AI can help owners and operators prepare for the demographic surge in the seniors housing industry.


AI can allow us to better communicate by highlighting what we do to that adult child so our net promoter score can effectively increase.

Arick Morton

Guest on This Episode

Josh Crisp

Owner & CEO Solinity

Josh Crisp is a senior living executive with more than 15 years of experience in development, construction, and management of senior living communities across the southeast.

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Lucas McCurdy

Owner & Founder The Bridge Group Construction

Lucas McCurdy is the founder of The Bridge Group Construction based in Dallas, Texas. Widely known as “The Senior Living Fan”.

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Arick Morton

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AI is the kind of potential solution or a major part of the solution set to our ongoing labor challenges.

Quick Overview of the Podcast

Curve labor issues with AI by capitalizing on its time-saving features. Arick Morton, Chief Executive Officer at NIC MAP Vision, explains how AI can help owners and operators prepare for the demographic surge in the seniors housing industry.

This episode was recorded at the NIC Fall Conference.

Produced by Solinity Marketing.

Become a sponsor of Bridge the Gap.

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Welcome to season six of Bridge The Gap, a podcast dedicated to informing, educating, and influencing the future of housing and services for seniors. Powered by sponsors Accushield, Aline, NIC MAP Vision, ProCare HR, Hamilton CapTel, Service Master, Patriot Angels, The Bridge Group Construction and Solinity. And produced by Solinity Marketing.

Lucas 00:42

Welcome to Bridge The Gap podcast, the Senior Living podcast with Josh and Lucas here at the NIC Conference, Chicago 2023. We got a great guest on the show. We want to welcome Arick Morton, the Chief Executive Officer at NIC MAP Vision. Welcome to the show.

Arick 00:57

Hello! It's a pleasure to be here. Thank you so much.

Lucas 00:58

It's an honor to have you on the show. We have really enjoyed the growing partnership with NIC MAP Vision and there's so much history behind that merger partnership. For our listeners who may not know, let me digress a moment. We're going to be talking about AI today. Okay. But before we do that, I want a little history lesson on how NIC MAP Vision came into existence.

Arick 1:20

Sure, absolutely. Well, I've had the great fortune of actually growing up in senior housing. I've been working in senior housing buildings since I was basically old enough to walk, never really thought I would potentially work in it. While I was in business school, I got a phone call from from Steven Vick, who's a longtime industry stalwart, and he basically said, "Hey, I built these five buildings in North Dallas and there's too much new construction in planning, so I need to get out of these things and I want to go somewhere else. Let's figure out where to go together." So I took that on as kind of a business school project and he said, "I want to just be east of the Mississippi. That's my only criteria." So, sat down and went through the business school library, and said, what do we have access to? And basically kind of built this model for analyzing at a very granular level, entire states at once. And then filtering down to the areas that had the most favorable balance of supply and demand in the construction and inventory age.

Arick 2:12

So we picked five sites and he said, "Well, you're going to have to come on the roadshow with me to explain why we're picking these sites. So I went with him and talked to Welt Tower, NHI, and Van Toss, every time I got up there and kind of did my demo they said, "Hey, if you turn that into a product, we would love to subscribe 'cause there's nothing like that in the market." So heard that three or four times and called a good friend of mine who has been the CTO of a number of geospatial application companies. And a couple weeks later we had a working prototype. In the middle of Covid I got a phone call from the board chair of NIC who said, "Hey look, we think it would be really natural to kind of combine the two companies 'cause they have that market data and you have kind of everything else that wraps around that." So I said, "That sounds like a great idea." So we brought the two companies together. It's been an incredible opportunity.

Lucas 2:54

This is a first for the industry and really for our listeners, the NIC MAP Vision partnership and support of Bridge The Gap is really kind of a first of its kind too to be able to get this cutting-edge information on a platform like this where people can freely access it and it's also convenient for them too. And so we're really appreciative of y'all's willingness to participate and not even really willingness. It's even more so you're really wanting to provide this information freely so that people can access it. And so AI. A big buzzword.

Arick 3:26

Of course!

Lucas 3:26

You don't often hear AI associated with senior living.

Arick 3:31


Lucas 3:31

But we're starting to hear that now. So give us this case study on it.

Arick 3:34

Yeah, sure. So we were talking before we got started about the incredible demographic run that senior housing had before it. But basically, the flip side of that coin is that if you look at the ratio of the number of the working-age population to the number of retirees from 2010, that goes from five to one to four to one in 2020 to three to one in 2030. And then it continues to decline thereafter. So while we do have this unbelievable demographic growth story, you know, at the same time labor challenges that we've experienced over the last decade, you know, are really just getting started. So we're going to continue to see that tightness in the labor market. I mean, you're seeing that the Fed is continuing to push rates and they can't really do anything to cool off the labor market. They're struggling with that.

Arick 4:20

When we kind of saw AI, what we said is, look, our industry is going to need a way to effectively address that growing challenge. If you have kind of this economy-wide labor shortage, how can you address that? Well, one, you could potentially grow the labor force via immigration. That's a political solution and that's certainly something that the political system has not really done anything there just yet. So really you look at labor productivity and you say, "How do we grow labor productivity?" And so to me, AI is really the kind of potential solution or a major part of the solution set to our ongoing labor challenges. And it's not, oh hey, here's this one AI application. If I could say, what's the one AI application that could potentially really change the equation for senior housing in a massive way? It would be caregiving robots with AI, you know, reasoning, who knows what the future will hold there? But right now, I mean really the opportunity with AI is to take it and to kind of look at senior housing as a collection of hundreds of different processes. And really the question is how can you kind of go through each one of those processes and find a way to make a three-hour process or a two-hour process at the regional level or at the community level, take three minutes or four minutes. And in that way kind of stack all of those productivity gains on top of one another so that in the aggregate, you know, you really can start to kind of bend that labor use or that labor cost curve.

Josh 5:42

So it seems to me around the AI topic in particular, there's so much noise.

Arick 5:47


Josh 5:47

And you put your operator hat on and you're getting technology people, marketing people, all of your potential vendor partners, and more, everybody's got a shiny new tool. You guys have been such an awesome advantage to our industry because your data and how you present it helps operators, and developers make better, more informed decisions. Do you ever see that you guys potentially through presentation data on what you're seeing in AI, help us make better decisions in that way as well?

Arick 6:19

Absolutely. AI is very much in the grips of its hype cycle. There are a lot of breathless claims that it can do everything under the sun. And Sam Altman, the CEO of Open AI often says, "It's a technology the more time you spend with it, the less impressed you are with it." It really has to be nestled in, it has to be used the right way and kind of nested inside of the right infrastructure and fed with the right contextually relevant data so that you can really produce upscaled analysis and deliverables that are, you know, useful in a business setting. What we're seeing is that there are a lot of very specific applications where you can build, kind of think of it as like an app library. Hey, we can analyze a rent roll where that would've taken us. We're looking at an acquisition. We can analyze a rent roll and offer memorandum in a T12 financials exactly the way we like to look at it. Where previously that might've taken eight to 10 hours. Now we can do that in five minutes and then reallocate that seven hours and 55 minutes towards second, third, and fourth-order analysis. I kind of always liken it to stacking quarters or stacking nickels, right? It's a lot of small time savings that an aggregate can really add up. And then to your point, there is where it can be infused with a lot of information, a lot of relevant data, it can parcel all of that information, combine that information, and help produce better analysis and also a lot faster. The decision-making apparatus of senior housing is somewhere where AI I think will add a ton of value.

Josh 7:46

Well and the example you just gave us of sizing a deal, for lack of a better term or sizing up what the opportunity might look like, those tasks can take hours upon hours upon hours and involve a lot of people talking. Are you kind of saying like right now, is that already in place? Where operators are already doing that and where's the best place to go and find the proven things? 'Cause again, there's so much noise. So like where do you go to find the best?

Arick 8:11

To answer your question, yes, that is something that is available today that people are using and that's just one component of it. I mean, I think at the end of the day, a conversation I, having grown up in the industry, I have all the time is people are like, you know, "Oh, assisted living, it's outrageously expensive." And you're like, all right, well $150 a day. Okay, what do you pay for a Holiday Inn? All right, $150 a day. Now we provide three meals a day. We provide care, we provide transportation, we provide a roof over your head, et cetera, et cetera. Right? So senior housing is an industry that has it's 10 businesses in one at each property. The art of it is kind of looking at each of those processes and saying, which of these today is well suited to an AI application to kind of ask, where does all this live? Where can I get all this in the long term? I think that's going to vary very much based on the use case. Some of these things will make a lot of sense connected to your CRM or connected to your ERP or connected to your EMR. Some of these things will make sense connected to your market analysis tool. Some of these things will just kind of be a library that you can access because they're kind of platform-agnostic right now. Hopefully, every vendor in the space is kind of asking themselves, what do I do? What do I have that's different and how can I take AI and really build on top of the use cases that my platform supports and streamline those and make those more efficient so that they take less time for the operator?

Josh 9:32

So I don't want to chase a crazy rabbit here. Lucas, I know you're getting nervous already when I say this, but, so we're kind of talking about AI data and all the things that you guys do from the B2B, like how do we as industry professionals use this? But we've talked about on our podcast so many times, the small percentage of capture that we actually have and how we need to change the public perception. Do you think at some point we're gonna be able to turn that into outward facing and really turn that into information that helps the public and helps change the perception and makes all of the operators' jobs a little easier?

Arick 10:07

I would kind of break that into two parts. I think the first part is what can we do as an industry to help improve the perception of our existing residents. Because what I've always found, I mean I probably, every other week I do a sit down with somebody who's a friend of a friend who knows I'm in this space and they're like, "Hey mom's going through this. What are my options?" What I've always found is usually someone kind of realizes they're in crisis. What's the solution? Oh, it's assisted living and then they call somebody else they know, they call somebody who's been through it. I have always thought that the kind of your existing adult children or next of kin are really your most powerful marketing influence. What AI can do in that regard is it can allow us to do a lot better at communication at kind of highlighting what we do to that adult child or to that next of kin cohort so that our net promoter score can effectively increase.

Arick 10:57

And so now when they're talking to other people who are going through this, it's a positive story rather than, oh well it kind of sucks. Or, you know, whatever they might otherwise say. So I think that's part one. Part two, what does Google do with AI, where you just say, what is the best assisted living in Raleigh? What does that output look like? And does that feed into the referral sources in the same way that a straight search does right now? If AI is going to move, reposition the search engines from giving you places to go find the answer to just giving you the answer, then I think now the question becomes for Google is like, where does that data come from? I bother the trade group leaders on a regular basis. I'm like, "Hey, I think there's a real opportunity for us to kind of try to promote ourselves in a public-facing way such that the Googles of the world kind of leverage our authority that Argentum or whoever might have and populate some of that information. Well, that gives us the opportunity to tell our story.

Josh 11:50

Lucas, I'm going to shut up because I've got lots of rabbits to chase right now. I could geek out with my friend here.

Lucas 11:56

This is complicated stuff!

Josh 11:59

It can be, apparently not to him though. He's got it figured out.

Lucas 12:00

No, no. he's the right man for the job. That's for sure. That's for sure. You know, this is, all these topics are so interesting and gosh, we still have so much to learn and so glad that you and your leadership at NIC MAP Vision are leading the charge on this. It's really fun to see all of the young people that are here at NIC entering the industry and coming up with these new solutions paired with a passion for great outcomes for older adults.

Arick 12:27

Yeah, absolutely.

Lucas 12:28

So honored that you are a supporter of our network and really appreciate your time today.

Arick 12:34

Thanks for all you're doing. We are an industry that needed a good podcast and you all have stepped up to the plate. So I can't thank you enough for what you're doing and we're excited to be working with you.

Lucas 12:42

That's an amazing compliment. Thank you so much. And for our listeners who want to connect with NIC MAP Vision, you can scroll right down into our show notes. They're there every single time. Click that little link right there and you can learn more and go to btgvoice.com to see this content and so much more. Connect with us on LinkedIn. Let's continue the conversation. What are your thoughts on AI? Do you have an idea for this complex topic? I bet you do. We'd love to hear from you and thanks for listening to another great episode of Bridge The Gap.


Thanks for listening to Bridge The Gap podcast with Josh and Lucas. Connect with the BTG network team and use your voice to influence the industry by connecting with us at btgvoice.com.

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