The Key To Staying Connected is Using The Right Technology.
I have been reading a number of blogs about technology and the cool gizmos, apps, plug-ins, devices, software, and services that many of our colleagues here on the ActiveRain swear by on a daily basis. I did a post last year about the Tech-on-My-Desk. I have a Fujitsu Scansnap (on my home office desk and my office-office desk, an iPad, a laptop, and a 2nd monitor). I love gizmos and find that even with all the advances in technology, I haven't weaned myself to using just one device. Each one provides a slightly more refined way to do several tasks that the others can only unreasonably simulate.
That being said, the one thing I would not do without and is the key to my sanity is Microsoft Exchange Server. I know, I know. It's Microsoft - not Google Apps or anything as sexy as Mailchimp, SlyDial, DropBox, or DotLoop. Bear with me, you'll understand.
As I mentioned above, I have a laptop, an ipad, and iPhone. I use all three of these devices on a daily basis. Some of their functions overlap but many of their functions are specialized depending on the terrain and the environment. I use my laptop for keyboard intensive activities like writing blogs, creating presentations, and doing MLS research. I use my iPad for on-fly-resarch and presentations and general reference - it is also my note-taking device. With a flexible stainless mesh stylus, I can take dozens of pages of notes and never have to worry about needing more paper. This is especially important on listing presentations, seminars, and classes. My iPhone - well, I actually use it to talk to people, text people and many overlapping functions of both the iPad and laptop when I don't have time to set up and just need the info in a quick and accessible format.
So here's the key - if my 3 devices don't play nice and get along with each other - I'm screwed. Each device becomes less valuable because it is data dependent. Most of my communication with clients and lenders and title folks is still email. I use Outlook (yeah, I'm a dinosaur, I get it). That being said, when we opened our brokerage, I wasn't about to give up the benefits of a Microsoft Exchange environment that allows me to sync ALL MY DEVICES WIRELESSLY. Yes, WIRELESSLY. GoDaddy offers a fully functional Exchange Server option for as low as $8 a month (including fully functional Outlook 2010) with plenty of storage and great service.
Now this may not be any huge revelation to most but I know quite a few colleagues who still struggle to sync their phone data with their tablet data and their laptop data. What a nightmare! By using the Exchange server all my emails, contacts, notes, and calendar items sync back and forth SEAMLESSLY. No more deleting emails from one device and then having to delete them again from another device. Delete something from one - it is deleted from all. Create an appointment on my iPad - SWOOSH - the appointment magically appears on my laptop and my iPhone. Combine this with a little DropBox and a Scansnap - not only are you paperless - but you have become DEVICE INTERDEPENDENT - not device DE-pendent.
And if this tech tip wasn't hip enough or trendy enough - enjoy this quick Ted Talk from David Pogue - You're bound to pick up something you didn't know!