Technology

Revolutionize Your Work

Find the resources you need to work faster and smarter.

How do you catch up with commercial real estate professionals who are ahead on the technology curve?

In a word, change.

Change How You Work. "I use technology big time," says Stefan M. Cihylik, CCIM, a broker with the Frederick Group in Allentown, Pa. "My computer is never more than three years old. I have the fastest processor with the largest hard drive and the best video card and monitor. My office has had a scanner for the past eight years. I extensively use CorelDraw, PhotoPaint, Win2Data (assessor info, tax maps), MapExpert, Excel, Act, Omni-Pro, Word, Outlook, Adobe Acrobat, Adobe Photoshop Elements, WinFaxPro, PureText, Keyhole2 Pro, STDBOnline, and TerraServer."

Change How You Think About Technology. "Our choice to adopt a technological advantage has rewarded us time and again," says Michael K. Houge, CCIM, SIOR, a principal of Upland Real Estate Group in Minneapolis. His company's Web site, www.nnnsales.com, showcases net-leased properties "24/7 for review by [1031] investors." His company recently brokered an $11.5 million tenant-in-common sale-leaseback transaction, which the buyer found through nnnsales.com.

Change How You Use Technology. "I am in the car every day and thrilled that I can either speak into my Kyocera smartphone and tell it whom to call or touch a name in my address book and it makes the call," says Skip J.Weber, CCIM, a broker with NAI/Latter & Blum in New Orleans. "Usually I print out my to do list - and it totally organizes me and eliminates the need for the old legal pad."

Change What You Spend On Technology. "Now that technology is cheaper, our money goes much further - and for things that are more of an intangible," says Todd Clarke, CCIM, a partner of NMApartments in Albuquerque, N.M. "We spend close to $500 a month for our [Internet service provider] serving up a gigabyte of online info to clients and save $40,000 a year in production of newsletters, fliers, and bulky marketing material."

Take a look at these recommendations for commercial real estate professionals and decide which change you're going to make.

VOIP Services

Free World DialUp
www.freeworlddialup.com
Unlimited worldwide calls; users may also call other Internet phone networks; works with computers, laptops, or PDAs

Cost: Free; users receive a phone number; calling outside FWD requires dialing additional numbers

Requirements: All users must download the software or use an FWD configured phone

Skype Technologies
www.skype.com
Unlimited calls worldwide between Skype 1.0 users for computer-to-computer and -PDA access; SkypeOut allows computer-to-landline and -cell phones

Cost: Skype 1.0 is free; SkypeOut requires a $12 minimum account and offers a global rate of 2 cents a minute to 22 countries; sample international per-minute rates:
Germany: 2 cents
Iceland: 4 cents
Mexico: 9 cents

Requirements: All users must download application for free calls; SkypeOut users can call nonusers; headsets or cyber phones needed; up to five conference callers

Verizon
www.22verizon.com
VoiceWing service provides unlimited local and North American long-distance calls

Cost: $39.95 a month; sample international per-minute rates:
Germany: 4 cents
Iceland: 8 cents
Mexico: 6 cents

Requirements: Includes telephone adapter and features such as call waiting, voice-mail, caller ID, and three-way calling

Vonage
www.vonage.com
Unlimited local and North American long-distance calls

Cost: Plans range from $14 to $50 a month; sample per-minute international rates:
Germany: 4 cents
Iceland: 26 cents
Mexico: 8 cents

Requirements: Adapter provided, several calling features included; users can add more lines or create a toll-free number

Digital Aerial Photography

K eyhole Pro
www.keyhole.com

Price: $599 per annual subscription; CCIMs receive a discount by ordering through STDBOnline

Coverage: Covers more than 80 metropolitan areas, from a resolution of 3 inches per pixel for San Diego and the Las Vegas Strip, to 1 to 3 feet for most locations

Features: Users can import their own data through drag and drop, ?fly? from satellite images to properties, and tilt or rotate views; Keyhole 2 Pro version includes measurement tools and additional features for inputting data as well as shopping center and traffic count data

TerraXSite Analyst
www.terraxsite.com

Price: $19.95 for a 10-day subscription, $399.95 per year; Pro version costs $399.95 for 90 days and $899.95 per year

Coverage: Complete national coverage at a minimum black-and-white 1-meter-per-pixel resolution; color and resolution at 1 foot per pixel available for most urban areas

Features: Includes access to aerial photographs, satellite images, topographic, street, and FEMA maps; Pro version adds demographic and consumer expenditure reports and thematic maps; traffic count data are available at an added cost; users can search by address or GIS coordinates; online measurement tools and ring analysis available

Atlas Viewer
www.globeexplorer.com

Price: $29.95 per month, $250 per annual subscription; downloads of large digital files are $35 per transaction/ $26 for members

Coverage: Complete national coverage includes every U.S. address; most metro areas provided at 6-inch or 1-foot-per-inch resolution; includes street maps, aerials, satellite, and topographic images; claims the most up-to-date, high-resolution coverage available

Features: Users can search by street or geographical coordinates; features overlay street-name map; users can print, order photo quality prints, or download digital files

TerraServerUSA
terraserver.microsoft.com

Price: Free; designed to work with slow-speed Internet connections

Coverage: This online public access database covers the United States and provides topographical maps and aerial photographs supplied by the U.S. Geographical Service; resolution varies but can be .25 meter per pixel

Features: Users can search by street address, geographical coordinates, and place names; each search returns a list of images available and their dates, as well as source information and resolution; maps can be printed, downloaded, or e-mailed

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