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The Race is On: Winning Technology Wins the Customers

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By Stefan Swanepoel

RISMEDIA, June 15, 2007-Over the last decade the pace of technological change has been startling? and for many brokers and agents, a seemingly endless pit of innovation, change and of course, dollars.

Real estate, one of the more mobile careers, has long proven its ability to rapidly seek out the latest technologies-especially those devices identified as having the ability to make life easier and simpler. Hence, throughout the last decade, agents have bought hundreds of thousands of pagers, PDAs, mobile phones, smart phones, digital cameras, GPS systems and laptops. And now that wireless networks are becoming more common place we are again seeing an awe inspiring potpourri of electronic tools, devices and gadgets rapidly adapting to integrate and combine into one device … or at least fewer pieces.

At the same time, the Web has emerged as the most powerful consumer real estate research device, thereby forcing agents to be connected with the Internet on a permanent or at least more regular basis than before.

Thus the race is on to find the “perfect” device-small devices are racing to include “more” and large devices are racing to reduce size but not functionality. Today we find ourselves at a point where we are trying to balance functionality, screen size, weight and battery life.

So here is the latest buzz. This all started two weeks go at the “D: All Things Digital” conference held in Carlsbad, California when Jeff Hawkins announced his latest innovation.

First, it’s imperative to explain why what Hawkins says is significant. Hawkins is the founder of Palm, Inc. and has three important inventions to his credit – GriDPad, one of the first tablet computers; PalmPilot, the first personal digital assistant and more recently the Treo smartphone; all three products are leading innovations.

Named Foleo, this new device is positioned as a “tweener.” A tweener is basically an ultra-compact computer with nearly a full size keyboard, a 7 to10-inch screen and the power to run most Office-type programs such as Word and Excel. Microsoft and Intel have already labeled this new category of device by calling it a UMPC (Ultra Mobile PC). Intel is designing a new chip while Microsoft is working on improving the small-screen Windows Vista experience.

Interesting, but here is a word of wisdom to brokers and agents. No one knows yet whether UMPCs will replace notebooks and in the end it probably isn’t even important. Be careful not to focus on every new technology innovation. The lesson to take home is to remember that technology is a powerful force and it does shape many aspects of our daily lives and the industry we work in.

Gone are the days where brokers and agents could resist technology. Gone are the days where brokers and agents were the gatekeepers of all real estate information. Gone are the days where real estate was only local and global doesn’t matter.

To succeed in the changing the world of real estate, brokers and agents must remain knowledgeable concerning the trends impacting the industry and technology is near the top of the list. Become more technology proficient; learn to understand how technology can empower you to offer a broader base of services, how you can offer those services quicker, and above all, how you can reduce the overall cost of the transaction.

The race is on.

Acknowledgement:
Uncertain about the future? Have questions? Evaluating your options? Make sure that you annually read the Swanepoel TRENDS Report. It is a comprehensive and extensive report detailing change and real estate trends. Go to www.ReTrends.com? and use the code RIS2007 for a 10% discount and free shipping, courtesy of RIS Media.

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