What is your favorite tech tool out there? What makes it so great? At the moment my favorite tech tool is Dropbox. This free online service allows you to easily share files and folders between computers and even devices. With more email providers actively blocking file attachments and putting restrictions on messages size the Dropbox public folder feature provides an easy way to securely share files with clients by sending them a link rather than an attachment. Finally Dropbox allows you to collaboratively share files with other Dropbox uses which is a great way to work on shared resources without managing multiple attachments.
Where do you get the latest technology information to keep you ahead of the curve? Each morning I read/skim through approximately 120 different blogs, online news sites and magazines. But the best source of information for me is our members and association staff. I listen to what they are trying to do in the field or what pain-points they are encountering in a transaction and then I proactively look for the tools and services to address these challenges. Since our members are always trying to stay inline and ahead of the consumer this naturally pushes me forward.
As a tech thought leader – what kind of information are you looking to get your hands on? At a high level I try to keep informed of changes in consumer behavior and emerging technologies. This information along with our annual strategic planning process is critical for me to identify the right opportunities for new services or tools our members can utilize in their business. The resources from NAR including the field guides, NAR insights and member surveys are items that I regularly review and share. Ultimately though keeping in touch with agents and brokers and understanding their unique challenges from a business and service perspective is without a doubt the most critical information resource I have available to me.
What is the biggest trend you see developing in real estate right now – tech or otherwise? Right now we are seeing a convergence between smartphones, video, mobile broadband and social networking with the smartphone becoming the unified messaging and multimedia creation platform. This is impacting consumer behaviors in fundamental ways which are causing agents and brokers to make service and marketing decisions they have not been forced to consider since the emergence of the web. Consumers are expecting their agents to be available around the clock and be able to respond to requests for information across a variety of different channels. This is forcing the Brokers and Agents into new learning curves from choosing the best device to selecting their platform and how they are going to integrate these new tools into their service catalog. For example all estimates point to 2015 as being the year when mobile devices will outnumber desktops yet at the moment Brokers and Agents are just now starting to consider how their web-presence looks on these devices.
Finally, which do you like best – iPhone; Android; WindowsMobile; Blackberry; Other? Why? My two favorite devices are the iPhone and Android. With the exception of some unique platform specific features both devices are comparatively similar. The three reasons I prefer iPhone and Android are unified messaging, web display and application availability. The Blackberry does a great job at responding to emails but the iPhone and Android make it much easier to respond across a variety of channels including email, text, voice and instant messaging. Both devices provide a web experience which is largely similar to desktop whereas with the Blackberry and Windows Mobile the mobile web experience is entirely different and often times much worse than the desktop experience. Finally the infinite expandability and customization via different applications make both the Android and iPhone highly efficient multifunction purpose tools. For example you can take a video with the built in camera make some changes and upload directly to your website without ever touching a computer.
~~~ Stay tuned to this blog as we spotlight Brad Nix and Ben Martin individually in the next few days.~~~~
The purpose of the REALTOR® Technology Spotlight Award is to recognize individuals who push real estate to the next level through their use of & visions of technology. Want to hear from each of the tech thought leaders?
What is your favorite tech tool out there? What makes it so great?
As I’ve said over and over, I’m not a gadget and tool hoarder. I believe in using very few and using them extremely well. As cliché as it is, my iPhone is my must-have. I’m huge on breathing your communications, meaning that technology, social media, digital life should be as integrated and simple in your life as breathing. You CANNOT breath your digital person unless you have the correct mobile device. Currently, the iPhone is the best tech tool for me to accomplish this essential part of my daily life.
Where do you get the latest technology information to keep you ahead of the curve?
I’m a member of Apple’s app developer program; so, there’s a lot of good inside information there. I’m also friends with some pretty big geeks. They love sharing, and I’m usually their first call when they see something they love.
As a tech thought leader – what kind of information are you looking to get your hands on?
I’m rarely impressed with the daily new list of fun techy things. I don’t download apps every day. I don’t try out everything. I search for the information that leads to a bigger picture. I consider myself a translator. As a REALTOR®, daily I see my fellow agents struggling to find ways to be more efficient. The problem, however, is they get lost in “how” efficiency tools work rather than “what” they can do with the tool. I’m always searching for information that helps me translate information for others. If I can’t find that information on something complex, I love creating the parallel for those who lean on me for this information.
What is the biggest trend you see developing in real estate right now – tech or otherwise?
Social couponing. Location-based social media has opened the door for this amazing new potential. If the social couponing services can get their act together, I’m confident it will GREATLY enrich what we do already. Side note, attention deficient disorder moment: Notice, I emphasize the word “enrich.” We use the word “change” too much. Technology enriches our lives, which is another level of change. I don’t want technology to change my real life. I love my life. I just want it to help enrich what I already have.
Finally, which do you like best – iPhone; Android; WindowsMobile; Blackberry; Other? Why?
My first smarphone was a Treo. From there, I migrated to a Blackberry. Now, I use an iPhone daily. I also have the HTC EVO Android which I have learned and am comfortable using. I keep that one because almost all agents I know at all age levels are moving to either iPhone or Android platform phones. I get so many questions, I have to know both. Using and knowing both iPhone and Android, the iPhone is on an entirely superior level.
~~~ Stay tuned to this blog as we spotlight Brad Nix, Mark Flavin, and Ben Martin individually over the next few weeks.~~~~
A few weeks ago, the finalists for this year’s REALTOR® Technology Spotlight Award were announced! They, and all the nominees, are deserving of the praise & recognition they’ve received from their peers, consumers, and business associates. Today, join CRT in congratulating the final four…the recipients of the 2010 REALTOR® Technology Spotlight Award. These individuals will receive special prizes, and will be recognized at the 2010 REALTORS® Conference & Expo in New Orleans.
Advocate Category – a leader of a cause; essential supporter.
Brian Copeland Village Real Estate Services (Nashville, TN)
This individual is the lynch pin when it comes to technology in real estate. They make sense of the new tech ideas by understanding their uses. They jump in and test drive technology, evaluate it thoroughly, and then share their knowledge freely with REALTORS® in order to empower and educate them on the latest tech trends. The advocate reaches out and engages others. They make a difference one person at a time.
Innovator Category – a groundbreaker; trailblazer.
Ben Martin Virginia Association of REALTORS® (Glen Allen, VA)
This individual pushes technology to the next level. The innovator ensures that real estate technology systems and processes are prepared to meet business and consumer needs today and tomorrow. They implement creative ideas, and drive ‘out of the box’ thinking. Innovators collaborate with others and share ideas openly in order to obtain the greatest benefit for the REALTORS®, consumers, and the industry.
Pioneer Category – a leader into the unexplored or into something new.
Mark Flavin Bay East Association (Pleasanton, CA)
This individual takes technology and pushes its applications to the next level. They are the trend setters that lead the way. The pioneer is the one to watch and the one to follow.
Visionary Category – one with foresight.
Brad Nix MaxSell Real Estate (Woodstock, GA)
These individual see the technology trends and understand how new tech tools & resources can be applied to the real estate industry in the next month, year or even decades. Often times they are the ones that are doing things so extremely different, it takes the combined efforts of the Advocates, Innovators, and Pioneers to embrace this individual’s vision before the industry as a whole understands it. This is what makes the visionaries stand out – they look outside the proven techniques to define the new standard and ultimately change the real estate landscape for the better.
Many thanks to all who took the time to nominate a tech super star and to the judges of this award.
Special thanks to all those tech wizards that make the magic happen for our real estate businesses every day! Keep up the great work.
Before you know it we’ll be packing our bags and heading out to New Orleans! As you make your plans to attend the 2010 REALTORS® Conference & Expo wanted to call out a few things you should add to your agenda.
- REBarCamp New Orleans: Thursday, Nov 4 at the Presbytere, 751 Rue Chartres in Jackson Square; Fantastic opportunity to share what you know, learn from others, and network. It’s Free!
If you are already planning to attend REBarCamp in New Orleans but are not sure about attending the REALTORS® Conference & Expo, don’t miss out on NAR’s Free Expo Pass just for you! You’re sure to find tools and innovations to jazz up your business. When registering for the expo pass, enter CODE: RECAMP10A. The pass is good starting Friday, Nov 5 thru Monday, Nov 8.
- The previous post on this blog was packed with info on mobile tools. If you want to learn more, add the Real Estate Road Warrior session to your schedule. It takes place Friday, Nov 5 from 2:30pm – 4:00pm. Speaker: Shannon Williams-King.
- Want to learn about useful tech tools other brokers and agents are using in their organizations? Don’t miss out on Embracing New Technologies in Your Organization. This powerful panel is led by Eric Stegemann. Learn from and ask questions of Dale Chumbley, Bill Lublin, Jessica Stoner, and Aaron Wheeler. Sunday, Nov 7 from 11:00am – 12:30pm
- Want to learn more about mobile applications available to consumers and apps that agents should look at? Then don’t miss this informative panel led by Todd Carpenter. Connecting with Consumers through Mobile Technologies will include conversations with Rudy Bachraty, Eric Blumberg, Max Pigman, and Randall Standard. Sunday, Nov 7 from 1:30pm -3:00pm.
Of course, there’s many other great sessions to add to your agenda: Peer-to-Peer Skillshops; Thought Leaders Discuss and Debate; Keeping yourself, your business and your consumers’ information safe. More about these in upcoming posts.