*Head In The Clouds*
**By James Comtois**
***When I first started covering the mortgage technology industry, one of the most frequently used buzzwords was “paperless.” Firms were very eager to reduce the paper trail of the mortgage lending and servicing processes. These days, the industry is pretty gosh-darned paperless. Heck, not just the industry, but the world (a number of newspapers I used to write for now no longer have a print edition and are completely paperless products).
****With the industry having more or less succeeded in being a paperless one, the trend has gone much, much further. But the more the industry has gone paperless, a new problem has developed—that of storage within a firm’s computer network. Although there’s no longer the need for those large, metal filing cabinets in the office, the need for more virtual cabinets has arisen, now that hard copies are becoming things of the past.
****Now, the industry relies heavily on wireless technology and cloud computing, also known as “the cloud.” With the cloud, not only do we have to no longer worry about using paper, but also cluttering up storage space on a computer’s memory is now becoming a thing of the past.
****One firm that’s all about maximizing the use of such modern technologies as smart phones, tablets and the cloud is FotoNotes. Originally launched in 2009 as Fotobabble, FotoNotes helps firms make the most out of wireless communications technology. (Considering this is inevitably where all industries are going, it looks to be a pretty smart business model.)
****Recently, the organization has launched a cloud platform for property preservation and other real estate services.
****Launched at the National Association of Mortgage Field Services Annual Conference in Chicago earlier this month, the FotoNotes’ Mobile Property Preservation Solution boasts such services as enabling users to create, assign and manage work orders; access work orders in the field; capture photos and other data from the job site; and automatically stream work orders, photos and data to and from such back-office systems as Property Pres Wizard.
****In the online demo for the product (which can be found here http://www.fotonotes.com/sneak-preview-fotonotes-mobile-property-preservation-solution/ ), FotoNotes founder and CEO Kamal Shah explains that the FotoNotes’ Mobile Property Preservation Solution will ultimately enable udders to streamline operations, reduce manual work, improve vendor scorecards and (this perhaps could be the best part) get paid faster.
****The demo also shows that signatures can be captured, reports can be generated (in PDF format) directly onto one’s mobile phone and then emailed.
****All of this, of course, can be done without eating up any memory on one’s PC, tablet or smart phone.
James Comtois has been a financial journalist for more than 14 years and has covered the real estate and mortgage industries for more than eight of those years. He has written for such publications as Crain’s New York Business, MarketWatch, Private Equity Real Estate News and National Mortgage News. He lives in Brooklyn, NY.