What are the best mobile apps for CRE?
I’m Dusty Duistermars and I am a CRE software specialist and app enthusiast. That opening statement sounds like an admission of guilt but mobile apps are a vital element of my working life - they help me to keep on top of changing CRE developments and technology news and enable me to collaborate better with my colleagues at Qube Global Software and other CRE professionals.
I recently gave a 30-minute webinar covering what I personally believe are the best mobile apps in the market place for CRE professionals as of today (July 2014). The full webinar was recorded and if you’d prefer to jump straight into the video, you’ll find it at the end of this post.
There are currently 1.2 million apps available across both the iTunes App store and Google Play store, according to techcrunch. So when I was planning this webinar, I tried to focus on what the most relevant apps are for the CRE and general business professional - ranging from social media engagement to utility apps, presentation tools and productivity improvement apps.
App usage is now huge and, according to figures, tripled in 2013. On average, we spend more than 30 hours a month using apps or about an hour a day, while an average of 26.8 apps are installed on each smart phone. So, which apps of the million or so that are now available are of use for the CRE professional?
First, a disclaimer: I am not affiliated with any of these apps (except Qube Space Manager) and my selection is based on my own personal opinion and not that of Qube Global Software.
If you are interested in seeing any of the apps below in action, I have given timings next to each app so you can quickly forward to that part of the video.
Flipboard (4:05) for relevant CRE news
This app allows you to follow content of your choosing. All of your social media feeds can link into Flipboard, so I have my Instagram, my Twitter, my LinkedIn, my Facebook and more all easily accessible via this platform.
Zite recently merged with Flipboard – Zite is an intelligent tool suggesting related content when you read articles on a specific subject. So, if you’re looking at articles about the CRE industry it’ll automatically steer you towards others that will be of interest to you. Once you find a post you want to share, you can easily do so with another related app called Everypost which copies the link and allows you to share on Twitter, Google Plus, Tumblr, LinkedIn in a single update. Hootsuite is another option and performs similar functions.
Hereonbiz (8:15) for networking with other professionals
If you’re familiar with Foursquare or ‘check ins’ to certain locations on Facebook, this is a way of doing the same thing via your LinkedIn profile. This app particularly comes into its own – for example - when you’re at a conference and the speaker suggests using it. You will quickly be able to identify who you are connected to in the room even though you might not have met them before in person. This works best on an iOS phone as it is not yet available on iPad nor Android.
Geo Measure (9:31) to estimate acreage
This is a simple tool that pulls up a map that enables you to estimate the land size of a location. Therefore if you hear that a certain block may become available in an urban environment, it is very easy to use this app to estimate acreage.
Qube Space Manager (10:47) to conduct office Space Usage and other surveys
To use this app, you would need a subscription to the Qube Global Software space management software but it’s very useful because it allows you to view your pre-loaded AutoCAD drawings of your floor plans. Furthermore, it also then enables you to zoom into a certain area and conduct a survey. You can survey many things - take your desk usage for example. The app allows you to set the status of each desk. The idea is that – at any given time - you can see who is working anywhere across your business and where you have available desk space. You can then see which spaces are used when and then start to tackle questions like: do certain people need a full-time desk? Can we make it a hot desk? Can we restack the floor? Other customizable surveys might include condition of desks, location of I.T. assets, etc…
Magic Plan (12:54) to build floor plans
A mobile app that allows you to walk the floor and build a floor plan, which can be easily shared with others.
Evernote (14:28) for note taking
There are a lot of different note taking platforms out there. Evernote lets you take notes, set reminders, take photos and sort them, record notes and more. You can now take pictures of business cards and Evernote will then find the contacts on LinkedIn.
Business Analyst Online (16:24) for city information
Review demographic data for any region of choice, or compare to locations side by side.
Quick Office (19:02) for word processing
Used to be a $15 app but is now free – one of the most powerful and straight forward word processing tools available.
Puffin (20:05) for browsing
Puffin is a helpful browser app that plays flash - great if you’re running into websites that still use flash.
Dropbox (20:33) for cloud storage
You can store documents in the cloud and access them anywhere. SkyDrive and Google Drive are also great alternatives.
powerOne Calc (21:20) for calculations
powerOne Calc was recommended to me at a conference a couple of years ago. It has a lot of formulas and templates in it. There are now a lot of good apps in the calculator space.
Photosynth (21:57) for 360 degree photos
This app allows you to take panoramic 360 degree photos. You can also take 3D pictures. In the CRE world, if I had a listing, this is a great way for giving people unable to visit the location a high quality online tour of the property that can be emailed to them.
AutoCAD 360 (23:22) for CAD drawings on your phone
A great little DWG viewer. It comes with a handy measuring tool so you can see dimensions of areas, which is good for answering questions if you’re taking a tour of a property. If you’re producing a floor plan drawing, you will need the full version of AutoCAD.
Voxer (24:28) for communication
This is essentially a walkie-talkie app that allows you to instantly send audio messages in the old ‘Nextel’ style. If you’re in a multi-tenanted environment and you have six building engineers, for example, it may be handy to use something like this if you don’t want to invest in traditional walkie -talkies.
Newsle (25:52) for getting news from your connections
Although not necessarily an app and more of a service, and recently purchased by LinkedIn, it takes your LinkedIn contacts and forwards recent news stories on those connections. I find I get more stories from Newsle than on LinkedIn. It has been really great for sales and speaking to individuals after noticing their update.
Joinme (27:07) free tool for screen sharing
This tool enables you to share your desktop screen quickly with others – particularly useful if you want to show other people floor plans or other information from your screen.
Electric Slide (28:06) for giving presentations from your tablet
If you have a PowerPoint presentation and you don’t have a flash drive with you, go to electricslide.net to show your PowerPoint on a PC browser from your iPad app.
Jing (29:34) for video voicemails
A great tool that allows you to leave screen share voicemails. So, for example, Jing makes emailing colleagues a floor plan or any other information with accompanying commentary easy. In total, you can record audio and visual for up to five minutes.
If you have any questions on this blog post or can think of another app that is useful for CRE professionals, I’d love to hear from you and I may even update this post. Just get in touch by emailing me.
According to the 2016 Workplace Trends report by Sodexo, Big Data has the potential to significantly reduce the cost of FM services. However, the report warns that in order to use data effectively, FM professionals need to get better at establishing and implementing their KPIs.
I recently found myself discussing space management challenges with Realcomm attendees. Strikingly, I recall it was the Qube Space software screen – specifically a CAD drawing with heat map that clearly illustrates space usage – that most caught the attention of attendees. At a glance, they could see where office space was put to good […]