Editor’s note: This is the first of a two-part series.
One of the great things about owning an iPhone, iPad, or an Android-based mobile device is all the fun applications that improve the quality of both your life and your business.
At our recent Awesome Females in Real Estate conference, Cary Sylvester, the executive director of technology for Keller Williams, spoke at a great session, entitled, "There’s an App for That: Technology Tools to Drive Your Business." The cost of most of those apps she discussed ranges from free to $1.99.
The first category Sylvester discussed was communication. (Please note that these apps are available for both Apple and Android operating systems, unless noted.)
1. Google Voice
Most agents have multiple phone numbers on their cards and their marketing materials. The challenge is that clients have neither the time nor the inclination to track the agent down. Google Voice creates a single, personalized phone number that rings on all of your phones at the same time.
The beauty of this system is that you control which phones ring, as well as in which order. The system also allows you to keep your home and cell phone numbers private while still providing full access to your client base.
In addition to having the option of listening to the message on Google Voice, the app also transcribes your phone message into an email or text message. Best of all, there’s no charge for this application nor is there a charge for calls and text messages inside the U.S. and Canada.
2. Google Translate
While you may choose to use other translation services, such as those offered by Immobel.com or Proxio.com, Google Translate accepts voice input for 15 languages and can translate a word or phase from more than 50 languages. This is great a tool that can help you improve your communication with clients who don’t speak English well.
DocScanner claims that shooting an image of a document with a camera is faster than scanning the document. Once you shoot the document, DocScanner automatically converts the images into PDF documents while enhancing the readability and the clarity of the files scanned. The app also works with 15 languages and with Evernote.
4. Mr. Number
This is a great little tool that promises "no more unknown numbers." It allows you to add callers to your address book with a single click. Best of all, it catches telemarketers and spammers as well as providing a call-blocking feature.
5. Ustream Broadcaster and Player
Have you ever been out previewing houses and wish that you could show your clients a special house when you first see it, especially if the client is out of town? If so, you will love Ustream, which allows you to stream video instantly using 3G or Wi-Fi. Ustream also allows you to conduct polls, to chat, and to upload your video directly to YouTube and Facebook. The only requirement is that parties using this app have the recorder and player applications on their respective phones.
Vlingo allows you to manage your business "hands free" from your mobile device. You can tell it to email or text message a client, update the social media, voice-dial, and even search the Web, all completely hands-free. With Vlingo, you can conduct business while driving without breaking the "no texting and driving" laws.
7. Wi-Fi Finder (Apple) and Wi-Fi Finder (Android)
These two tools come in handy when you need to find a hot spot and you don’t have a data plan for your mobile device. The Apple version of this app displays all nearby Wi-Fi hot spots on a map and conveniently marks which ones are free and which ones require a fee to use. It also provides a mapping function so you can quickly locate the most convenient hot spot for you.
8. TiKL — Touch to Talk
TiKL instantly turns your phone into a real-time walkie-talkie. You can talk to one or more people with just a touch of a button without having to wait for the phone to ring. The system can be used with anyone who is in your phone contact list or who has "friended" you on Facebook.
Skype is a great tool that works well on both your computer and your mobile device. With Skype, there is no charge for video calls anywhere in the world. If both parties are members of Skype, there is also no charge for Skype phone calls as well. Also, with Skype’s most recent upgrade, if a video call doesn’t go through the system will attempt to reach the party you wanted to contact on their mobile.
10. An App to Decipher Tech Speak
There’s no app yet for that!
If you would like to learn more about additional apps, don’t miss Part 2 on Thursday.