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The Future of Computing


Deciding what technology hardware to purchase next is among the toughest decisions real estate agents make.
Joel Montgomery, MD of Powerbuy, argues not to be in a rush as change is coming.


The Future of Computing

Deciding what technology hardware to purchase next is among the toughest decisions real estate agents make. Joel Montgomery, MD of Powerbuy, argues not to be in a rush as change is coming.

In the not too distant future our work computer, tablet (e.g. iPad) and phone will be interchangeable, all with the same content (operating system, programs and files). This a big step forward from today’s world where every device we its own distinct purpose and stores its own data. No longer will your phone just store phone numbers, your work PC be the only way to access your client data and your iPad be relegated to Google maps, photos & other simple apps. In a few years time you will seamlessly switch to the device that is best suited for the current purpose – a large screen for the desk, a tablet for appointments & open houses, a handheld for the car or cafe – without any change to the accessible content. Content will be king, and the device that delivers the content ceases to be important. Lose your phone, forget your laptop, work from home and it won’t matter in the slightest – just switch device.

‘Cloud computing’ now starts to make sense. Your data and programs no longer “live” on the device, instead they are accessed from a remote server (location doesn’t matter) and thanks to the National Broadband Network you will access the content without any performance degradation. Much like a website, the programs and files will only exist on your device while you’re using them, and all data is saved into the ‘cloud’ instantaneously. Sharing files between colleagues and clients becomes easy – just give them access to your cloud. Gone is the need for memory sticks and DVD ROMs.

Security and privacy will be even more important than today. There will be personal clouds with data that only you can access, private clouds to share content within your agency, and public clouds so you can share data with clients and the broader world. You will trust data centres that are run by people you’ve never met, but who are holding your sensitive data on the same machines as thousands of other businesses – maybe even your competitors. Redundancy will also be important because if your NBN connection goes down you’ll need to switch to your 4G connection to continue accessing your content, and if the entire Internet connectivity is lost you’ll need to fail-over to a server in your office until the service resumes.

The device becomes a trivial matter. Whether it is a laptop, tablet, phone or a hybrid of the three, it will be simply used to deliver the content. Device design will be important for some, weight and durability for others, but just as you buy a phone plan and get your phone included, your device will be secondary to the content it delivers (and yes, you will be able to get your devices bundled with your Internet plans). The winners will be Software-as-a-Service vendors like Salesforce.com and NetSuite, while brands like HP, Dell and Acer will need to move beyond the box to remain a significant technology partner for real estate businesses.

So what does all of this mean for you? Carefully consider your I.T. investments today in preparation for tomorrow. Don’t buy a laptop that is over-spec’d to allow for future needs, because the demand on laptops will plateau and if anything, decrease, as the programs and files move to the cloud. If you’re considering an iPad but not really sure how it will benefit your life today, then hold off, because very soon you’ll be focussed more on what content is valuable for you and your business, and the device you view it on will matter little.

Joel Montgomery is the Managing Director of www.powerbuy.com.au, the provider of I.T. member benefits to the REI. Prior to starting PowerBuy Joel worked in senior roles for I.T. manufacturers such as Dell and Trend Micro. Today, Joel’s team helps thousands of businesses source relevant business technology at the best possible price. Joel is contactable through www.powerbuy.com.au

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