Last month, I attended NAHB’s midyear meeting in Miami and had the pleasure of sitting in on a presentation by Daniel Swift, president and CEO of Des Moines-based architecture group BSB Design.
5 must-have iPad apps
As the digital marketing manager for Taylor Morrison, John Rodeman rarely goes anywhere without his iPad. Here are five of his favorite apps.
As the digital marketing manager for Taylor Morrison, John Rodeman rarely goes anywhere without his iPad. Whether he’s giving a presentation to clients or simply working on the go, the tablet lets him stay plugged in from anywhere — a trend he says is only just getting started, especially from a business perspective, and especially in home building.
Like many builders, Taylor Morrison is putting the tablet through its paces, exploring concepts like all-digital sales offices that allow hands-on interaction with potential buyers.
“I think everybody’s testing a lot, trying to figure out the right thing to do,” he says. “We’re kind of in the infancy of ‘How do we take this great piece of technology and integrate it?’”
Here are five of his favorite apps for the iPad:
Real Estate by Zillow
For Rodeman, the aggregate data provided by the Zillow app gives the best context for the housing market in a given area. A wealth of information is put at the user’s fingertips, from prices and features to mortgage rates and nearby amenities. For a builder, this makes it easy to offer comps on their own homes. “I don’t necessarily rely on price or estimates, but it helps to see what the location and the market are like around our homes,” Rodeman says.
QR codes continue to grow in popularity and prominence, and this reader app is Rodeman’s favorite since it can read multiple types of QR codes. Taylor Morrison features QR codes on the signs outside every one of their homes; users can scan the code and get all the information they need on the house 24/7. “When that house sells, the sales associate can take that sign out of the yard, put it with the house right next door, change the numbers in our CMS system, and now the QR code points to the new house,” he says.
This to-do list app helps prioritize items based on a color system. Higher-priority tasks are seen in warmer colors, while lower priorities are blue. Items can be rearranged simply by dragging them on the screen. A swipe to the right checks an item off the list; a swipe to the left deletes it completely. “I’ve got a list for home, a list for work, and lists for groceries,” Rodeman says. “It’s the most simple to-do list in the world.”
Created by one of the designers of the original iPod, the Nest Learning Thermostat actively monitors energy usage in the home, establishing user patterns and adjusting accordingly. The accompanying app allows remote access to the thermostat’s controls from an iPad or iPhone. “If I go on vacation with my family and we’re gone three or four days, the minute we land back at the airport, I can tell the AC to come back down to the temp we want, and the house is pretty much cooled off by the time we get home, ” Rodeman says.
For someone who does a lot of presentations, this timer app is a must-have, according to Rodeman. More than just a countdown clock, a visual element is added in the form of a set of lights configured much like a traffic signal — green, yellow, and red lights indicate how much of the allotted time remains.