Smart car, smart phone, smart….ass?  That’s what my mom calls me when I’m in my “know-it-all” mode and disrespecting her philosophies.  But she has also given me many pearls of wisdom over the years, such as: “Efficiency is all well and good, but it shouldn’t be to someone else’s detriment.” “Huh?” I said, without bothering to look up from my phone.  If I had, I would have stared straight into my mom’s disapproving gaze.  She was saying this because in the middle of our conversation every time my phone buzzed, or dinged, or vibrated, I just had to look at it. I’ve since written a Dear John letter to my phone and re-established the boundaries of our “relationship”.

Disapproving mother aside, I love my smart phone, as do a multitude of others. Thanks to the latest technologies we can be uber-efficient and ultra-accessible in both our personal and business worlds. Today, I can not only use my phone to hear how my mom is doing, but I can actually see how she’s doing halfway across the world.

As smart phones are being used for a multitude of things, how can they be used in the community association context?  One way is to access information quickly.  In the middle of a meeting once, I had to get the specific language of a statute. A quick Google on my phone, and I had the language in seconds.  Another time a board member was trying to find some minutes. He used his phone to access the association’s website and was able to pull the minutes instantly.

Smart phones can also allow a board member to attend a meeting.  A board member can still ask questions, provide input, and participate in the meeting in real-time even if not physically present.

Another way to use smart phones is to document information for later insurance purposes. Consider all the natural disasters Colorado has experienced over the past several years. You can use smart phones to photograph or record the condition of your belongings prior to the arrival of a major storm or other disaster.

Not only can smart phones be used to easily access and document information, they can also be used to transmit information.  For example, you can use smart phones to document and transmit violation notices. Before doing so, think about the following:

  • Photos are always helpful, but accuracy is a must. Phone screens are tiny, and if you’re all thumbs you might be inputting information, such as addresses, inaccurately.
  • Make sure the transmitted violation letter is in compliance with CCIOA, your governing documents, and any notice/communication requirements.
  • Have processes in place to ensure the email was actually received and opened.

Another thing to remember is that if you use your smart phone, ipad, or other such technical device for association business, password-protect your device.  Otherwise, confidential information might accidentally get released.

Here are links to some current smart phones apps available for community association use. We have no specific recommendations on them, but just wanted to show you what’s out there:
My Pocket HOA: App that allows homeowners associations to put a customized app on each of their homeowners’ smart phones.
MyHome: Insurance App that helps homeowners in disasters by allowing homeowners to document all of their possessions in case they need the info for a claim.
Condo Communities: Website listing a number of condo community-related apps.

Melissa M. Garcia
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