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Tablet computers in the business world

Small businesses have been experimenting with—and embracing—Applebs iPad, which is drastically reducing the amount of paper they use. This seriously affects the business world, as American companies spent around $8 billion on paper in 2007, according to this Businessweek article—and that number doesnbt include the additional cost of ink and toner.

Business owners also think other features of the iPad—its larger screen size, ease of use and ability to be on all the time—could help with their business processes as well. But that all depends on if there will be an app for that.

Businessweek reports,

“In the long term, it [the success of the iPad as a small business tool] is going to be very dependent on the availability of apps,” says Dan Shey, an analyst with ABI Research, which forecasts trends in communications and emerging technology. “Some of these devices are going to be designed so they are specific to a worker’s task, almost like an appliance,” he adds.

Are you using an iPad for work? What do you think about how technology is changing the workplace?

Image: apple.com

REITs outperform other stocks

On average, Real Estate Investment Trusts did well in the third quarter—even better than the rest of the stock market for companies that own office buildings, apartment buildings and shopping malls—posting 12.5 percent gains, according to this Wall Street Journal article.

And some REITs did better than that. Douglas Emmett Inc., an office and apartment landlord in California, earned a 23.14 percent return measured by the Dow Jones All Equity REIT Index. Why are these REITs doing well as most of the commercial real estate industry struggles? They have a leg up acquiring property with easier access to capital. And now, especially in cities in need of development, companies that own commercial real estate are popular stocks for investors who prefer REITs.

Read the whole WSJ article, bREITs Draw Rebound Bets,b to learn more. What do you think about the REITsb stronger performances? Leave a comment to let us know.

Image: theproficientinvestor.com

Office market recovering?

Therebs a glimmer of hope for the office market, as new research from Reis Inc. shows office rents are starting to stabilize. In the past three months, average rents decreased by only a cent, which is the smallest decline since 2008, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Nevertheless, signs do point to a very slow recovery. As unemployment has risen over the last couple of years, so has the available work space in office buildings. We also reported in August that office tenants are learning to get by with less space, a trend businesses are likely to continue. So even when companies start hiring again, they wonbt need additional space immediately.

Also slowing the recovery, a lot of commercial real estate debt will be due by the end of 2014. For more information, read the whole article from The WSJ. Then let us know what you think. Is a slow recovery on the way?

Graphic: Bloomberg for The Wall Street Journal

Artificial Intelligence for mobile devices

Webve talked a lot on this blog about smartphones, innovations and how technology is changing the workplace, but never about something quite thisb& well, futuristic-sounding. After all, bArtificial intelligence is going mobile,b Businessweek has declared in this article.

AI is expected to hit smartphones and tablets as these become increasingly prevalent and as faster wireless networks make AI apps more possible. As Businessweek reports,

“We are trying to reach that Star Trek dream,” says Mazin Gilbert, executive director of technical research at AT&T Labs. “We spent decades investing in this technology. If you can put AI with mobility, it reallybsignificantlybexpands the number of applications and services” you can provide, he says.

AI is already used in a few fields, such as banking to identify unusual transactions to detect fraud. But going mobile will be a whole new playing field. Just imagine how it will change the business world. What do you think? Leave a comment to share your thoughts.

Image: dailygalaxy.com

Lack of financing hasnbt stopped all construction

Even despite a dearth of financing for new construction, some developers remain optimistic.

Letbs not underestimate the lack of financing. As Anthony Westreich, chief executive of landlord Monday Properties, told The Wall Street Journal,

“It’s a bit of a cart-and-horse situation. You have tenants saying, ‘I don’t want to commit to a lease in your building until I know the financing is there,’ and lenders saying, ‘I don’t want to commit to financing your building until I know the tenants are there.’ “

Nevertheless, the halting of new construction could mean demand for newer buildings may be greater than the supply in the next few years. In addition, a few construction projects are moving forward, just not nearly as many as during the boom, as developers seek financing beyond the banks. Extell Development Co., for example, still hasnbt gotten a bank construction loan, but is moving forward on a building in Manhattan with a little help from partners in the Middle East.

To learn more, check out bHigh Hopes as Builders Bet on Skyscrapersb from The WSJ. What do you think of this situation? Webd love to hear your thoughts.

Photo credit: Monday Properties via The Wall Street Journal

BlackBerry maker competes with iPad

Seeking out the business world as its main market, The BlackBerry PlayBook will have a 7-inch screen and weigh 0.9 pounds, making it smaller and lighter than the iPad—thus fitting better in a briefcase, according to an analyst at Avian Securities LLC. Itbll use Wi-Fi to connect to the Internet wherever available.

RIM acquired QNX Software Systems in April, and is making the PlayBook based on software from QNX. QNX software can be found in nuclear power plant control systems as well, making it seemingly more reliable than its competition.

The PlayBook will be available in U.S. stores early next year. Click here to learn more. What do you think about this new option in technology from RIM? Will you be using it at work? Leave a comment to let us know.

Image credit: rim.com

Innovation in the workplace

A number of American companies have begun using software and other means to find innovative ideas and solutions to problems in customer service from straight out of their own ranks: workers at the company.

Pitney Bowes Inc., for example, has implemented around 700 if its employeebs ideas. Rather than an old-school suggestion box, the company uses U.K.-based Imaginatik Plcbs program Idea Central. The company found a way to help its callers without transferring them between numerous agents that nearly immediately increased customer satisfaction.

AT&T uses similar software from Spigit Inc., dubbing its new internal network The Innovation Pipeline. To encourage employee participation, the telephone company offers employees financial incentives.

The networking at Pitney Bowles also led to another unintended positive outcome: contracts worth almost $384,000.

For more information about employee innovation, check out Bussinessweekbs article, bWorkers of the World, Innovate.b What do you think of companies using software to draw and implement ideas from their employees? Leave a comment to share your thoughts.

Image credit: strategicmarketsegmentation.com

National commercial real estate prices fall in consecutive months

National commercial real estate prices fell in July following a previous decline in June, according to Moodybs and Real Estate Analyticsb Monday report.

From January through July 2010, commercial real estate prices have dropped 4 percent altogether, even despite gains in April and May. Contributing factors beginning early this year include the potential for a double-dip recession in the U.S. as well as the European debt crisis.

According to GlobeSt.com, managing director Nick Levidy at Moodybs said this in a statement:

bThe recent performance, while perhaps somewhat discouraging, should not come as a complete surprise. We have noted for several months that markets are likely to remain choppy for some time as property values slowly form a bottom in conjunction with a gradual recovery of the broader economy.b

Other indices reveal property prices in the East increased in the office, retail and apartment categories while dropping in the industrial properties category. Click here to learn more.

Morris Southeast Group is on Facebook and Twitter

You can connect with Morris Southeast Group online through more than just our blog—webre also on Facebook and Twitter. Following us on these social networking sites is a great way to keep up with our latest updates and interact with others also interested in the commercial real estate industry and the changing workplace.

To find us on Facebook, simply click Liking and following us on Facebook and Twitter will help keep you in the know on important commercial real estate issues, from declining real estate values to occupancy and marketplace trends.

Women making more money than male counterparts?

An interesting trend has surfaced in corporate America: young, single women have higher earning power than their male counterparts. Females are more likely to go to college than men, and higher education ups earning potential.

The Wall Street Journal reports,

bIn 2008, single, childless women between ages 22 and 30 were earning more than their male counterparts in most U.S. cities, with incomes that were 8% greater on average, according to an analysis of Census Bureau data released [recently] by Reach Advisors, a consumer-research firm in Slingerlands, N.Y.b

Nevertheless, when compared to male peers of equal status, women still make less than men at every education level. Their incomes also plateau, or even decrease, after having children.

Click here for more information. What do you think about this trend? Share your thoughts!

Photo by Daniel Borman via Flickr

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