Introducing Drive Time by Inrix on the latest release of the site.
We’re thrilled to announce the newest release of the Comey & Shepherd mobile site. Based in Cincinnati, Ohio, Comey & Shepherd have a history of topping the market in their region. For a mid-size brokerage, Comey & Shepherd is constantly trying to raise the bar by innovating new ways to create a more user friendly base for their clients. They wanted to add more personable and customized features to the latest release of their mobile presence, so here at Aumnia we helped them to construct that vision into a reality.
With Comey & Shepherd, we wanted to focus on a design that really highlighted how innovative of a brokerage that Comey & Shepherd truly is. Over our time working with Comey & Shepherd, we have constantly been evolving their mobile site as they themselves change over time. Therefore, we added two incredible new features to their latest launch that really help to take their mobile site to the next level.
From wherever their clients may be, Aumnia integrated a map search feature into the latest release. Clients are now able to search properties in the immediate area they are in. Maybe they aren’t in the neighborhood they’re considering? Not a problem, they can simply drag and drop their pin to the area they would rather see properties in and the map will adjust and show them nearby properties to their pin in that area. The map is conveniently color coded to make distinguishing different properties easier for clients.
- Red- The property is under contract
- Green- This is a new property listing
- Light Blue- This property currently has an open house
- Navy- Regular listing, nothing special is happening with the property at this time
When you click on a listing, an info box appears with the price of the property listing and quick specs on how many beds and baths the property has. From there, clicking on the info takes you to the main listing page in which you can then use the next newest feature- DriveTime™.
We’re most excited to announce a great new featured powered by INRIX, a data company that tracks traffic times- conveniently called DriveTime™. What does this mean for clients? When they go to the mobile site, they can now see what things like commute times would look like from the property listings they’re looking at to their place of employment. This helps clients find the homes in their desired area based on where they spend a lot of their time outside of the home. When in the DriveTime™ feature, clients can simply enter the address of their job, children’s school, their school, and then search for homes 10, 15, 20 minutes away depending on how long they wish their commute to be and when they usually arrive at these locations. Taking data by analyzing traffic times during the time the client wishes to be somewhere at, the system draws them an area in which they can search for properties in the right area for their needs. This not only helps the agents better understand their clients restraints when it comes to finding their dream home, but also helps the client find an agent who specializes in the area they wish to live. This feature also helps Comey & Shepherd reach prospective clients who may be relocating to the area and don’t know much about traffic and commute times in the area they’re moving too. We helped make Comey & Shepherd the first brokerage in Cincinnati to integrate this technology by Inrix into their mobile site.
Navigation & Interface
The new mobile site has a cleaner and easier to use navigation that can be accessed from anywhere in the application. Additionally, we’ve included an easier mode of contact for clients looking through the site to get in touch with an agent. As we have maintained a long standing partnership with Comey & Shepherd, we have continually provided updates to their interface, but this release is the largest overhaul we have done in terms of the design. We simplified, modernized, and overall create a much more user friendly experience for their clients. Comey & Shepherd love being innovative for their clients and we wanted to create a mobile site that reflected that.
It Doesn’t End Here
Comey & Shepherd continues to invest in standing out from their competitors and we’re committed to helping them achieve this differentiation. Based on the fact that sometimes their mobile site can garner up to 15,000 visits a month, only means that the site will continue to evolve as the clients and brokerage change.
Remember that kid in high school who was popular, seemed to have it all, and then just disappeared? Maybe they never moved out of their parents’ house or they ended up at the local McDonald’s, taking your order whenever you stopped there on your sporadic visits to your parent’s home. That’s the kid that peaked in high school, and as bad as we feel for them that their lives ended up being extraordinarily ordinary, we secretly love that it never happened to us.
Blackberry is the kid that peaked in high school.
I had a Blackberry Pearl hand-me-down from my father when I was in high school. Just to age myself a bit, this was almost seven years ago when I began using the phone. I absolutely loved that Blackberry. I used the phone until the end of its lifetime which ended with buttons missing, a track ball that wouldn’t roll smoothly anymore, and buttons that just wouldn’t click anymore. This was during the peak of Blackberry, just before the iPhone took over the world by storm. I still had friends who used Blackberry phones and we were all obsessed. The funny thing looking back is that Blackberry was and probably easily is still the phone I was most fond of and rarely complained about.
The full keyboard was revolutionary at the time. Honestly, you didn’t have to use T9 anymore and anyone who used to text on the old flip phones can attest to how incredibly annoying it was and how difficult to learn the process of texting was with a T9 keyboard. But the full keyboard on the Blackberry was amazing and especially because it was the QWERTY keyboard layout, only two keys per button was arguably way more awesome than three (sometimes four, we’re looking at you letter ‘s’).
Remember this was around the time but people thought flip phones were really cool? This was the last time Blackberry stayed “trendy”.
Who cared if the camera wasn’t that great? There weren’t many other phones boasting an amazing camera. For the average Joe, we were still using Cannons and Nikons to take photos on family vacations. Remember how photography with actual cameras was still
something people did 6-7 years ago? Blackberry was taking the world by storm; “Crackberry” became a term for the phone and the dedicated user base it had built.
Before Apple created iMessage, Blackberry had BBM (Black Berry Messenger) and for those who used it, it ruled. All you needed was another Blackberry users pin and you could send them unrestricted length text messages. All around, you were just cooler by using BBM. All up until, the iPhone launched.
The first problem emerged with how small of a consumer base Blackberry was building. As for a high school student like myself at the time, I couldn’t fully utilize the features on Blackberry phones. For your every day and business needs, Blackberry phones were the “it” phone. Getting emails on your phone and being able to confidently type responses without worrying about how awful T9 was really revolutionized what you wanted to buy. Blackberry didn’t concern themselves with other target groups- they had their niche market and they were fine. No need to try to market to anyone else, you and everyone you knew that used their phones were doing plenty word of mouth advertising. Blackberry believed in
the loyalty of their consumer base.
Then the iPhone invaded. It was a well planned surprise attack. Once the iPhone caught fire you looked outdated carrying around a Blackberry- or literally anything that wasn’t an iPhone. The camera was better, the screen was better, the user face was amazing and simple to use, and Apple convinced you that you NEEDED the phone. You may not have wanted it, but man did you need it.
The big downfall Blackberry encountered, which I would consider their kiss of death, was their nonchalance about the beginnings of the iPhone. RIM, the company that owns Blackberry, was too confident in the loyalty of their consumer base. Talk about being stabbed in the back about a million times. RIM didn’t take the iPhone seriously, didn’t consider how seriously the iPhone was going to potentially dominate the market, so they didn’t prepare. Technology changes- that’s just one of the brutal ways the industry functions. Blackberry became so irrelevant so quickly it makes your head spin if you think about it too long.
Now I can’t speak for what the top guys of Blackberry were thinking, but I can only imagine it was along the lines of, “We have made a terrible mistake.” As they sat in their offices watching their market shares tank and loyal customers abandon them.
What really sealed the fate of Blackberry and turned it into the brunt of all jokes today was not adapting their software to be downloadable on Android or Apple products. Blackberry essentially refused to give into their rivals to keep their company alive. I mean, after the kind of attack they suffered with the iPhone release, I think they valued their pride over continuing a successful business platform. Because they ultimately missed their window to adapt their software to be available cross platform, Blackberry was swallowed whole by the technology shift. They were left behind, licking their wounds as their market shares tanked drastically. Today, Blackberry has made their software available on all the main platforms but no one cares. The last time I heard of anyone using a Blackberry was about three years ago, when my friend was trying to hold out hope.
My friend bought one of the touch screen Blackberry’s the company struggled to release a few years after the whirlwind of iPhone. The phone was terrible to say the least. It was littered with random glitches, the phone would freeze quite often, and she would complain she felt left out because she didn’t have an iPhone. Her phone completely quit on her about three months into their estranged relationship, and she jumped ship to join team iPhone. Her hopes of a better Blackberry days had died, along with her phone.
Although I personally did not join team iPhone, smartphones that mimicked the iPhone were quickly making their debuts and I ditched team Blackberry as soon as I graduated high school. Thus ended my great relationship with my Blackberry Pearl and it joined the depths of all other discarded Blackberry’s.
Let’s revisit our high school analogy. I attribute the iPhone’s takeover to high school graduation. As if Blackberry crossing the stage to receive their diploma was all the time they needed to lag just enough for the iPhone to swoop in and convert almost their entire user base. And then, just like that, Blackberry became the laughing stock of the mobile world as their stocks plummeted.
Try going into a mobile phone store today to buy a Blackberry. I’ll bet you’re not going to find one. The stores today are dominated by iPhone vs. Android. I’m pretty sure if you asked a sales associate if they had Blackberry you would have to google a photo and say, “I want to see this phone right here.” The looks people get when they try to buy Blackberry phones must be hilarious. You can’t download the prominent apps that lead the market today onto your Blackberry phone. This puts you behind. Makes kids feel left out in their social groups. Makes you the brunt of all bad Blackberry jokes in the office.
So now Blackberry is trying to launch the Blackberry Passport 2 (Surprise, I didn’t even know there was a Passport 1) and having it run Android Lollipop (or maybe Marshmallow depending on how long the launch takes). They’re still keeping the keyboard off the screen which I find to be a critical design flaw. The technology has evolved to on screen keyboards, so I feel that’ll be a tough sell to resort people back to this type of screen change. Then there are rumors about “Venice”, which will try to rock the design of the very undesirable slide out keyboard. Blackberry is definitely trying, but it’s unfortunate it took them this long to decide to bring their A game.
But the market is competitive, and unless Blackberry is prepared to create a phone that will blow Google and iPhones completely out of the water, they don’t stand a chance. If they had competed with iPhone from the beginning, they may have stood a fair chance in remaining relevant. Perhaps they could be like Brittney Spears- recovering from a 2007 meltdown and coming back years later with a revamped image and public persona. It could happen.
So what have we learned from the downfall of Blackberry? Don’t be stubborn- accept that in the technologically dominated world we live in now that if you don’t keep up or stay one step ahead of your competitors, you become irrelevant. You have to keep an open mind in order to keep your business alive and thriving.
Though as we all learned from that kid who peaked in high school, the further away your glory years are, the less chance you have of recreating them.
Yesterday Apple held their event to let you know exactly what to expect in the new wave of Apple releases- we’re talking from the new Apple Pencil to the iPhone 6s Plus.
– Apple, now that their giant event is over and the internet is moving on.
So should you try to crawl into your attic space to find your long lost sleeping bag to wait with the other thousands of people who want to be some of the first to own the latest iPhone?
Unlocking your smart phone isn’t as difficult as it used to be. But what does it mean to unlock? Basically, when you buy a phone through a particular carrier, you are “locked” to that carrier’s services. Unlocking your phone, means that not only can your phone use the carrier that you purchased your phone from, but you can now use your phone with any other carrier world wide. Your carrier is now required by law (go government!) to make the unlock codes free.
Okay, so that all sounds great, but why should you consider unlocking your phone in the first place? There’s a lot of reasons, but here’s some that top the list:
1. You want to travel internationally. With an unlocked phone, you can just simply pop out your SIM and insert a local SIM card and voila- you’re making calls like the locals. Don’t feel like you need to unlock your brand new smart phone either, an older one that you unlock to use specifically for international travel will work just as well. This way, you can keep your primary phone active for incoming calls when traveling, but you can use your unlocked phone with a local sim for cheaper outgoing calls (especially for local, in-country calls), and most importantly for data access. It’s not uncommon for data rates with a local sim to be 1/10 the cost of roaming rates.
2. You want to save a buck and switch to a pre-paid plan. Without being locked into a carrier’s restrictive two year contract, you don’t have to fear commitments like that again. Simply unlock your phone and enjoy the benefits of pre-paid mobile plans.
3. Your contract ended so you want the freedom to switch. With your contract over, this is arguably one of the best times to unlock your phone. Without the pressure of feeling like you need to return to the carrier you’ve just ended with, you can switch around as you please.
4. You’ve reached the end of the road with your phone. It’s time to bid thee farewell to your beloved older edition smartphone, but you’d like to get a little cash for it when you sell it. Unlocking your phone prior to posting it to online sell sites will only help to increase your value as you can have a larger interest in the phone since a broader range of people can use it besides those locked to the same carrier as you.
5. Your kids are begging for a smartphone. Even if you don’t see the benefit in unlocking the phone for any of your own personal reasons, another great plus to having an unlocked smart phone is that it’s a great option for a hand me down to a child. Since your kid won’t be locked into the same carrier as you, therein lies the ability to easily and simply switch them from your carrier, to a different one, and even to a prepaid depending on price. This flexibility is great for kids who will be using the phone primarily for easy access to call and even for kids who are beginning to learn what data is.
So, now that we’ve established why you would want to unlock your phone, let’s look at how you go about doing the unlocking.
First things first, make sure that you didn’t already buy an unlocked phone. If you bought your phone directly from the manufacturer or from somewhere like Ebay, there’s a very good chance your phone is unlocked. Can’t remember? Don’t panic- just give your wireless carrier a call and they can tell you.
Now that you’ve determined your phone isn’t unlocked, this is when you need to call your carrier to put in a request for the free codes. Once your request is processed, your carrier will send you the unlock code that you’ll enter into your phone. Some sites have filled us in on a pro tip that you should let your carrier know that the reason you want to unlock is because you’re going to be traveling abroad- it’s an airtight excuse that will prevent your carrier from become panicked that you’re leaving them and pushing them to start giving you a hard time. Apple even put together a great chart that you can use to learn more about your carrier in the U.S and abroad.
There’s something to be careful about however. Verizon and Sprint, in their older non LTE capable models, do not allow for SIM Cards because they only operate on CDMA technology. This means you cannot put SIM cards into these phones so essentially these phones will die with the carrier they were assigned to from the beginning. An article recently written by Jon Fingas over at Engadget, touches more on this “minor” issue.
It’s also important to remember that carriers are only under legal obligation to provide you with the free codes once you’ve paid off your device. However, carriers are required to post their unlocking policies on their website, let customers know when they are eligible to unlock their phones, unlock devices for all deployed military personnel, and send back an unlock request in two business days. We’ve provided the links for the four major carriers below for your convenience to check it out for yourself:
AT&T T-Mobile Sprint Verizon
If you would rather leave your carrier out of the equation, third party mobile shops still exist in places across the globe, which albeit is surprising, can really benefit you. However, this option will cost money to unlock your phone. The only benefit here is that you don’t have to sit on the phone with a customer representative for your free code.
With the kinds of phones coming out these days (check out our Mobile Phone Buying Guide), being locked into carriers just doesn’t seem fun anymore. It’s the 21st century- we’ve evolved and so have our phones.
If you still have questions about the way to go about unlocking your phone, if your phone qualifies, etc., check out the FCC’s FAQ on unlocking your phone for the official government word: FCC FAQ
Pinterest is one the rise. According to research recently done by Pew, roughly “31% of Internet users have an account with the service”, which although that may not sound like a lot- that’s 31% of all internet users you may not be reaching with your current internet marketing.
If you’re not familiar with the platform, Pinterest provides users with the ability to create “Boards”, which are places they can pin photos that they group together based off common themes. Most commonly you’ll hear about how Pinterest is great for wedding planning, since you can create boards about “My Dress”, “Dream Venue”, “Wedding Designs”, etc. So how can you use this for real estate?