The first of about 2,700 HSR Global real estate agents in Southeast Asia started using Google Apps productivity tools yesterday, in the latest high-profile cloud computing deployment in Singapore.
With this tie-up, real estate agents can readily access vital information such as new property launch dates, floor plans, location maps, and pricing once HSR uploads them. These can be shared through Google Apps among agency leaders, agents and clients.
Previously, agents had to either visit various websites or turn up at seminars get their hands on the information.
The Singapore-based real estate firm said it chose Google because it did not have to maintain its own servers for these functions, instead turning to Google’s online services to do the job.
HSR chief executive Patrick Liew said: “We’re not just in the real estate business; we’re in the information business.” The partnership will “put (real estate) data at the fingertips of our salespeople”.
He also said while the company considered other cloud options, such as Microsoft’s Business Productivity Online Standard Suite (BPOS), they deemed Google’s solution to be the most effective.
One challenge is adoption. The demographics of real estate agents are extremely diverse, and older agents may not feel comfortable with the change from PC-based software to online services.
On the upside, real estate agents are often among the first to adopt technology. Said one senior manager Alastair Tong: “A lot of our agents are already carrying smart mobile devices, even iPads. Storing all our data online makes it very accessible to them.”