Browser-Bound: Real Estate Gets Web-Enabled

Article excerpt

Visionaries in business recognize the strategic value of staying ahead of the technology curve. While in the past, real estate has been slow to drive down the Information Highway, it is now speeding ahead in its usage of technology.

Indeed, many of today's real estate management firms are browser-bound as they increasingly turn to Web-based applications to perform everything from budgeting to work order management.

Terry Dowen, Senior Vice President of Sales for Santa Barbara, CA-based Mardi Systems, agreed that the industry seems to be coming around. Adapting to Web-based technology is inevitable and it seems that it's happening sooner than later for today's real estate firms," she said. "While they may have been reluctant to be early adopters a year or so ago, real estate firms are now requiring Web-based applications. They recognize that Internet technology is here to stay."

Hot Buttons for '02

While 2001 was a bumpy ride at best for the technology sector, what can we expect in `02? Dowen offered her predictions for this year's hot trends.

* Portals. Real estate firms will likely expand their usage of portals by extending its benefits to their residents, prospects and vendors. Because there is no need to load software and because access is immediate, portals will be a hot button for firms going forward. On the multifamily side, residents will be able to pay their rent online, even transfer movies from one banking account to another to pay for that rent. * Productivity. Real estate firms increasingly will be turning to technology to increase productivity and become more efficient. They'll use Web-based technology to customize work flow with the help of ASP pages, making it easier to access data in a way that best meets their needs.

* Integration. Integration will be important as firms look for technology that will provide them with a one-stop shopping approach to operations.

* International business. With so many commercial real estate firms doing business internationally, adopting Web-based applications makes perfect sense. …