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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Article Type: Internet update From: Property Management, Volume 29, Issue 4
In a previous editorial I touched on cloud computing as theme. One of the benefits of the cloud is that users can access the internet or their own files no matter where they are provided they have a connection.
The development of smartphones such as Apple’s iPhone and their tablet PC (iPad) highlight how quickly technology is developing and how we access and communicate. As new entrants hit the market developing products on Google’s android system, or those based on Windows™ so we can expect the uptake by individuals and business to grow.
Whilst a hardware developer, Apple’s products have gained great appeal from the applications (apps) that people can download for free or pay by subscription to access products and services. There are literally hundreds of apps available. Some are simply games and handy for the weary commuter to pass time by. There are other more useful apps for people to use. Having recently acquired an iPhone, I thought I would highlight some of the various apps available, and some of those I have used, and their practicality.
The easiest is to go to the Apple store and search for Apps. You can type in a company or a term and it will bring back relevant results. You can also use their own categories such as “newsstand” for news related apps, or “business class” for business related apps. You will also find various magazines devoted to apps.
There are a number of apps for various news sites. I will often use the BBC app to check out the latest UK and international news. As a subscriber to the Financial Times, I use their app to view some of the latest financial news whilst I am away from the office and do not have the actual paper to hand, or I simply want to get tomorrow’s news today! There are of course other providers, some free, others available by subscription. Of course, chances are the news in one will be the same as the other. For followers of the financial markets, FTSE has an app that provides details of the latest indices. You can pay for more advanced alerts, but it is not something I have chosen
From a social networking side there are apps for Facebook and Linkedin. Both mobile versions of what you can view in the office. These are handy if you wish to keep in touch when on the move. Another way of keeping up-to-date with where people are is via Foursquare. This app has developed largely in the US and allows individuals to “check-in” at different locations and these can be shared with others. Check-ins could be offices, hotels, airports, retail outlets or restaurants to name but a few. For every check-in you can gain points and even become mayor of a particular place if you have checked-in most over the recent past. Being mayor of certain places can bring benefits, e.g. free drinks. It is developing in the UK and Europe, but adoption is not as good as in the US. It is a way of keeping tabs on people and where they are. I know some people use it to let friends or relatives know they have arrived safely at a place. There are potential personal safety benefits to be made with this.
Foursquare is largely map based, and maps are something which are handy for users of smartphones. Get lost and pull up a map and you can get directions to where you need to go. There can be problems if you do not have connectivity. I found even travelling around London, you can find black spots that renders the system useless.
If you are travelling further afield, you can always try the highways agency app. This will alert you to possible trouble spots on the main highways in England and Wales. The RAC app also does the same and provides route planning and highlights potential trouble spots. Easily accessible from the buttons at the top of the screen. You can also download as a charge satellite navigation software for phones, including locations of road safety cameras.
Heathrow Airport has its own app, and provides a guide to the airport. It is not something I have used, but could be useful for those wishing to navigate around the terminal and check on flight details. British Airways too has an app, which also dispenses with the need for a boarding pass. Again it is not something that I have had the opportunity to try out, but is available.
On the real estate side, there are a number of apps available. Many of these tend to be developed in the US, so unless you are interested in these markets, they may not be of interest. Jones Lang LaSalle has recently launched an app that enables users to access the latest news, research and videos. The research page provides details of reports that you can then download to view. Some reports are quite long and perhaps not suitable for viewing on a small phone screen. Videos via You Tube are also available enabling you to watch some of their staff talk about keys issues in the market. You can also find their local offices or key staff by search by country, office and service line. CBRE has an app similar to that of Jones Lang LaSalle.
Other agents also have apps. DTZ in The Netherlands has an application, unfortunately in Dutch, so has limited outside The Netherlands. Knight Frank has an app that lets you search for luxury properties, as does the app from Savills. These latter apps are more of use to individuals searching for property rather than providing the latest news.
Of course, with a smartphone, or even one of the new tablet PCs, you can also access the internet. The iPhone comes with Apple’s Safari browser, so you can surf the internet just as you don from a desktop PC. The only downside is the screen is quite small. Also with Apple, some streaming media is not viewable as the phones so not support flash. Otherwise it is a handy device.
The views expressed are those of the author and not those of DTZ.
Nigel AlmondAssociate Director, DTZ. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org