The Google Solution
“As a sole practitioner, I’ve searched for the best way to sync e-mail, contacts, and calendars on my desktop, laptop, and smartphone,” says Joel Kahn, CCIM, owner of Equity Alliance in Bedford, N.H., and senior technology consultant with CCIM Tech. “Google has solved my problem.”
Kahn purchased Google Apps Premier Edition, which includes a 25 GB e-mail account for a domain that he owns and controls. He configured the built-in Internet message access protocol, or IMAP, system to sync the account on all of his devices. At $50 per user per year, “it’s a cost-effective solution that’s easy to implement,” Kahn says. Google Apps Premier Edition also lets users share and store files in Google Docs, as well as disable Gmail ads. Outlook die-hards can sync their Microsoft e-mail and calendar to retain that familiar interface.
But Kahn had another challenge: “I have to make my clients believe I am always accessible even though I travel often,” he says. Google Voice, a free, formerly invitation-only service, is Kahn’s magic hat. The program allows him to use one number to manage all of his phones. The number is tied to him, not a particular location or device. Google Voice also allows users to customize rings and voicemail greetings, manage and search voicemails, and receive written transcripts of voicemails via e-mail or text message.
Google Apps and Google Voice “are especially valuable to small companies and sole practitioners,” Kahn explains. “The programs give these groups the opportunity to have many of the bells and whistles available in large corporations.”
Rich Rosfelder is associate editor of Commercial Investment Real Estate.