I remember my teenage cousin sitting on our living room floor with her huge laptop plugged into our phone modem. My 8-year-old self thought it was silly that she had to email her boyfriend three times a day “so he wouldn’t be worried about her.” And of course we couldn’t use the phone while she was on the internet. Still, I was amazed that her letter could travel over a thousand miles instantly—or at least instantly after the purple screen on her Juno account finished the four minutes it took to send her email. And she didn’t even have to pay for postage.

Eight years later, on June 29, 2007, Apple introduced the iPhone and changed communication forever.

Today, another eight years later, there are around 1.5 million apps in the App Store, 56% of web use is through mobile devices, and search engines favor mobile-friendly sites.

Communication technology changes things, and sometimes we aren’t so excited about those changes. I was frustrated that my cousin had to contact her boyfriend via email three times a day; today we get frustrated that middle schoolers sit at the dinner table and text instead of talking to the people in front of them. But this same technology enables us to use our smartphones to take videos and send them to Grandma and Grandpa across the country. It means that we can upload photos to Facebook for people across the world to see, and we can text friends across the country.

Communication technology changes things, and that’s a good thing. There was a time when people waited months to receive letters. And then finally when we had telephones, long-distance calls were so expensive that they had to be rationed. A friend of mine told me that when she moved across the country her newly-wed budget allowed for one hour-long call home every two weeks.

The thing is, technology is a tool, and tools have to be used well. And in order to use them well, we have to consider what tools we need to do our particular jobs. Smartphones may help us keep in touch with family members across the country, but they’re not very helpful when you need to talk to the people across the dinner table.

Over the past months as we’ve been working with real estate agents to develop the Wovax for Real Estate apps, we’ve been thinking a lot about their needs. What we’ve realized is just how perfect smartphones are for the real estate industry. In real estate, agents and clients spend most of their time moving around from house to house. A tool isn’t much help to Realtors unless it can travel—even if it’s a sweet website. While most businesses will find apps useful, apps are essential for real estate.

Mobility. Seamless integration with maps. Instant access to phone and messaging. Easy MLS searches. All your branding at their fingertips.

Communication technology and the change that it brings is a good thing, if we use it well. And for real estate, mobile technology is perfect.

This is the fourth installment of posts about our real estate apps that we will be launching August 10th. Check back next weekend for Part 5, and email us at info [at] wovax.com to set up a demo.