Interestingly, Michael Weinstein makes the argument about how new technology is making commercial real estate brokers "old school."
Took me a minute to think that one through. But, it makes sense.
I took a walk around Campus Martius with two of the CoStar reps, Weinstein and Jeremy Crane, earlier this week as they showed off the latest iPad app for CoStar's data products.
If you haven't had a chance to play with this technology, it's worth a try. Among the many things that the iPad — and tablets in general — seem to be doing better than desktop or laptop computers, the CoStar iPad app is right up there.
It works like so: The CoStar real estate data that has been historically only available on a PC is now being sold through an iPad.
During our little demonstration, it is apparent that real estate data has been unfairly living without GPS technology for all these years.
Now we're getting to the "old school" part.
As we walked past the Compuware Building, towards 1001 Woodward, and towards One Kennedy Square, they showed me how a broker can pull data from all three buildings.
The stacking plan, the occupancy, the asking rates, are all there. It's pretty cool.
But Weinstein's point is this. Commercial real estate brokers have never been a breed of business service professionals who should be at their desk. Most of them aren't, for that matter.
With the advent of all this new technology, these guys are now able to get all the data they need while they're out walking around, the way we were doing it.
"It forces you to go old school," he said. "It's how it used to be, that they were out all day, talking to folks and doing their thing."
It's a great tool, along with all the other smart phone and tablet apps out there. I'll also note that I've heard that CPIX, which also offers real estate listing information in Michigan, is working on a tablet app.
Though there's a certain sad irony here as well.
Office brokers — the people who are out selling office space to businesses — have less of a need for office space themselves.
Maybe I'll keep that thought to myself.