With Apple stock hovering around $700 and already the most valuable company in the world, they probably don’t need much additional help from the real estate industry. But I think they’re going to get it anyway.

When I travel to meet with our clients and attend industry events, I’m always looking for signals and indicators of trends – things that point out a direction that the market and people are heading in. They can occasionally be tricky to spot or are false starts – and in the case of a technology trend, the technology can be way ahead of the market’s ability to absorb it. According to Today’s Facility Manager, tablet computers debuted in 1989, but its adoption hardly went beyond military or industrial applications

However, over the past two years, I’ve seen the steady ascension of tablet (and smartphone) usage in the commercial real estate space. A decade after Samsung’s GRIDPad, tablets have finally become mainstream. It started with executives showing up to meetings with their iPads and maintenance teams bringing in their own devices to work and it quickly escalated to a steady stream of questions from property teams asking about which smart phones they should buy, the potential impact on data plans with using other applications and a host of other questions.

Although mobile technology and applications aren’t a new capability in the real estate and facilities management space, what is new- and what this trend represents- is that the market now recognizes that the convergence of smart phone technology and extended application availability is going to change, and improve, the way they do business.

I heard of two instances just this past week where our client services team had requests from customers for our help to convince senior management  in their organizations to provide them with iPads so that they could use Building Engines’ tools while on-the-go. This was great testimony to not only our mobile platform but also to the indication that the times are indeed “a changing.” (Or at least Apple’s ability to market is.)

At this point, the “tablet frenzy,” as dubbed by Today’s Facility Manager, has sustained itself beyond the “peak of inflated expectations.” What I’m hearing now is not just a call for iPads, but for a convincing business case to get senior property managers on board.